Friday, May 15, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Grow up and go to bed

Before I get into the main part of this post, I just wanted to say that if you haven't checked out Kacie Kinzer's tweenbots project for the ITP program at Tisch, you are missing out on something extremely unique. And if you happen to live in that area, keep an eye out for it.


At the age of 25, one would hope to have a certain degree of maturity, at least compared to a few years ago.

Let me just say that 22 had potential to be a great year. The set-up was there. It was the end of college, a summer in an area that was a plane ride away from home, and I was basically moving into the world on my own. I had my friends and people that I cared about, but there was a sort of clean slate feeling. My days at MCLA were now behind me and there was no telling what would happen next. Ideas perhaps, but nothing was certain. It turned out to be not so great.

I don't know what is making me think of that time either. Something just came into my head earlier in the evening and it made me have sort of a revelation about growing older and taking responsibility for one's life. I really don't want to make this extremely personal, but I have a feeling there is little ways around that.

Probably the biggest events that happened in my life during that year happened in Ohio. Ohio turned out to be a very big, emotional growth. It was a development so big that you might even think that I enjoy reflecting on it, but I really don't. I'd like to, but it's seldom positive.

For some reason, one of the biggest things that sticks with me from that time was the fact that I gotten the drunkest I had ever been in my life. It sounds stupid, but it's one of those events in a person's life that is sort of fun to remember. I was at a bar in Tuscarawas County where they served Long Island Ice Tea that was both very strong and very cheap. I didn't have more than one, but I did have some beer after. I was basically in the clouds. I'm certain I was having a great time, yet for some reason I kept apologizing to people for being intoxicated. Why was I sorry? Everyone was getting wasted and they were not sorry. When I got back home, I was literally brought into my room and told to go to bed. That doesn't happen frequently to a 22 year old, not even by parents. But here I was, being told to go to bed. About five minutes later, after getting into pajamas, my restless self went next door. Why the hell should I go to be anyway. Pretty soon after, I found my energy just crashing and a great need to use the bathroom. I didn't get sick, thankfully, but I felt like I was going to fall asleep. By the time I mustered the strength to get out of the bathroom, I only made it to the kitchen, literally telling myself "break time". But soon after I went to bed.

Again, the one thing that sticks with me there is wondering why I was sorry. I guess it comes down to who I was saying it to. I had met a girl in Ohio. We didn't go out "officially", but whatever we were doing was a close second. We liked each other a lot at the time and, despite the fact that I should have known better, I thought I was falling in love with her. I say thought because now I know that I wasn't. I didn't get what love was at the time. What 22 year old really would? People that age and younger might think I am wrong and are fully capable of knowing love, which might be true. Someone younger may indeed be capable, but being capable isn't enough. Because I can promise you that by 22 you don't know the opposite of love yet, which in this case is heartbreak. When I left Ohio, and when I left this girl, I was extremely upset. Me being upset got her upset. The result is running on three years of not a single word spoken. The saddest part about that is I'm sure we are both fine with that. Probably more than fine.

No one really likes to admit that they hate someone. How can you? What kind of person are you to completely want to shut another person out? It's revolting. The idea of denying the existence of someone just as worthy as yourself is mind boggling. But it happens anyway. People hate one another. I'd like to think people love more people than they hate, or at least I am hopeful that is the case. Unfortunately, despite three years, I think I might hate this person when I should be feeling a lot of other things. I should be feeling thankful for making me go through all that and know what is true. I should just be done with it. I'm way past what I thought was the love, why not the hate?

Again, I don't know what made me think of this person again, or even this time in my life. But rather than just thinking back and wanting to shake it off, I thought of why I haven't stopped hating. I thought about why I haven't really finished growing up after three years, at a time where I should perhaps be older than I am. I've wondered in my head if this person and I still talked. If we were able to just drop a hello once in a while and ask each other about the people who surround us today. Why don't we ask each other who has our hearts? Instead, I wonder why the bridge is not just burnt but still on fire. I thought I became the better person out of all this, and now I'm convinced that I am not.

For anyone reading this, take my advice and don't get into a situation like this. We all need to start being thankful for who we are and for the people in our lives that make living great and meaningful. While we might have been slightly shaped from hatred, we can keep the shape and drop the emotion. I wonder if I've held on to the emotion for too long and now I have to keep it, like a scar. If you are able to shake it, do it. Shake it off any way you can. Run, jump, dance, just do something. Save your emotion for the better things and then offer it to the people who deserve it.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A letter to my fellow artists

Dear fellow artists,

You are all pricks. I repeat, pricks.

But that's alright. I'm one too.

The reason all said artists (which include, but are not limited to: actors, painters, comedians, musicians, singers, circus performers, mimes, and prostitutes) are pricks is mainly due to a selfish nature. As artists, we pretty much turn out to be selfish even when we don't want to be. Because at the end of the day, we want to know who liked my routine, who heard my song, who commented on my painting, and of course, the grand daddy of them all..."when do I get paid?"

To be fair, this situation is kind of out of our control. There is nothing wrong with putting together a work for the right reasons. It doesn't matter to me if it's to reach a particular group, or if it's to say something meaningful, or even if it's to just entertain a crowd. In the end, you're all dandy. A-number one. I'm very proud of you and I mean that despite any sarcastic tone. But with those hopes of meaning and outreach come hopes of putting food on our respective tables. Perhaps we even want to feed a whole family with what we do. And if being an artist is what we do, then we need to be selfish in order for people to pay attention and, in turn, pay us. Most artists are all for free art, but even those advocates accept donations (which, again, I don't have a problem with). Our calling as artists almost forces us to be selfish.

Is there a cure for this? The answer falls between "perhaps" and "sort of". We want to get paid, meaning we want people to pay attention to us, meaning we need to take hold of something. Let's all say it together:


To an artist, initiative is an ugly word, especially when you throw in the money factor. This is because artists are generally not businesspeople. We don't want to deal with W-2s or 401ks or any of that jazz. We want to support ourselves with what we do and we pick up this mentality and attitude that if we are talented enough things are just going to start happening. For some, it does work out that way. But for most, it's because the initiative kicks in.

The other unfortunate thing with initiative is that you have to "take" it. Artists don't so much take as they do create. Many of us make something out of nothing and this creation is fueled by something almost unexplainable. Initiative is explainable, and it can be explained best as "work". When artists aren't creating, we're generally lazy. We don't see what we do as "work" and therefore we don't see any need to "work", especially when we aren't creating. When else are we going to take our break?

I am fortunate enough to know potential non-pricks. In particular:

An individual who tirelessly went from job to job since graduating college and now works steady for Disney.

And an individual who recently earned his graduate degree and will not accept anything less than he deserves.

We may not be businesspeople, but we need to all understand is that art is, among other things, a business. To have a successful business, you have to give a lot in order to get a lot, which takes initiative.

I am at a point where I need to take initiative, and I hope to God it actually happens.

So to all my fellow pricks, let's get this done.

Now you too can work for Harlequin

I realized today that there is a very easy and effective way to add about eight layers of cheese to any story. It's all possible with one line and I'm about to reveal that line to you. It is:

"We made passionate love that very night."

Indeed. Because let's face it, sex is usually pretty funny. At least it's funny when it is in a random context, I think. When you think about it, it's very similar to the "in bed" rule for fortune cookies. While it may not be as compact, and as we are about to see it makes a horrible acronym, WMPLTVN is good for an inner monologue or perhaps even a story. Let's cook up an example:

"I was walking to my car from Hallmark as another woman was about to cross into the parking along with me. The woman did not seem to be paying attention as a car was speeding down the road. Luckily, I was able to say 'excuse me, miss' and stop her just in time."

There you have it. An everyday incident that could quite happen. Now to cheese it up and perhaps make it humorous.

"I was walking to my car from Hallmark as another woman was about to cross into the parking along with me. The woman did not seem to be paying attention as a car was speeding down the road. Luckily, I was able to say 'excuse me, miss' and stop her just in time.

We made passionate love that very night."

Whoa now! Did you see what just happened? This may have been a poor example, however, as the danger of the speeding car might have influenced love making. Let's try something else.

"I was waiting by the bus stop and realized I forgot my watch. I asked a gentleman next to me if the bus was running late. He told me we still had a couple of minutes before it was technically late."


"I was waiting by the bus stop and realized I forgot my watch. I asked a gentleman next to me if the bus was running late. He told me we still had a couple of minutes before it was technically late.

We made passionate love that very night."


Please feel free to help me think of a good term for using this phrase. Perhaps you and I can make an Internet sensation.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Put it on my tab

I am currently at the SOTPlayhouse working behind the bar. Unfortunately it is a bit slow tonight. I'll be playing tomorrow night and hopefully there will be a bigger crowd.

Things are coming to a close. I'm almost done at Black Rep, Kaleidoscope stuff will start soon, and I'll be starting summer hours at my job next week. Good stuff, especially the job part. It will be nice to save some money for once.

It is weird watching an improv show. There is a great want to just jump up there. However the small crowd, while energetic, can be discouraging. We should have better crowds by now. One day. It takes patience.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

She said that he wanted me to tell you that it isn't's me...or least that's what I heard...

I got an interesting phone call from my girlfriend Jamie moments ago. Apparently our relationship of nearly two years is over. No explanation. It's just over.

At least, that's what she heard.

Indeed, somehow my relationship with Jamie has become ammo for the rumor cannon. Although I am not exactly sure why.

Allow me to bring those of you playing the home game up to speed. I met Jamie through our mutual friend Frank. One night, Jamie and Frank were out and I called Frank about something. After our conversation, Jamie asks who it was.

"Oh, just my friend Ryan. I went to MCLA with him and he lives in this area."
" he gay?" (She asks this because Frank's gay and has many gay friends. Somehow a breeder passed his barbed wire.)
"No, he's straight."
" he single?"
"Yes, I think so."
"OH! Is he cute?"
"He's like a younger, much more sober Robert Downey Jr."

Alright, everything from the first Downey line was made up. However, Frank did end up showing Jamie a picture of me and I got the thumbs up. There seemingly wasn't an opportunity to meet up, however, so Jamie actually knew who I was for about a month and I didn't even know who she was. Fast-forward to a day at Rhode Island College. I'm dropping off papers to apply for an MFA program thinking "Frank goes here. I wonder if I'll see him." Sure enough, I run into Frank.

"So Ryan, how's your love life?"
"Well, I know a girl that goes here that would like to meet you."
"She's not here right now."
"But we'll get together soon. Her name is Jamie."

Soon was not soon enough. So I did the only sensible thing and tried to find her on Frank's MySpace (STALKER!). Jamie is one of the top friends. Cue my awkward, middle school-esque, message:

"Hi, my name is Ryan. I'm a friend of Frank's. I hope this is the right Jamie, but...I don't know if you wanted to go to the prom or something. If not, that's cool! I'll just hate you!!! LOL!!!!1"

OK, so it wasn't that, but I did send a message and it was the right Jamie. Pretty soon we did get together for a nice evening at Frank's. Soon after that I had gone to see her perform in A Chorus Line for a community theater. And then after that I asked her out on some actual dates. The rest, as they say, is history.

I can honestly say that things are great between us and our relationship is very strong. Testament to this statement is the fact that for a good portion of the relationship Jamie has been working in upstate NY. I'd go down to visit from time to time and she would also be home around the holidays, but generally she was five hours away. Regardless, we are very happy and wouldn't ask for anything else.

Somehow, someone saw this nice picture of a good relationship and said "I know, let's f%ck with this!"

I'm not sure who started the rumor, but apparently Frank has already been on the case. He's been making calls back and forth and traversing this web of lies, deceit, betrayal, and murder. Again, I'm exaggerating, but Frank wants to figure this out.

Jamie had been a tad upset, but not really. I just found it curious more than anything. Mainly I wondered who would want to say that in the first place. But the search is on.

This besmirchment will be avenged!

At least, I hear it will be avenged.