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Archive July | MyAdultLand
Jul 15 2010

“It Is What It Is.” Again.

If you missed its sold-out run in the San Francisco Fringe Festival, now’s your chance to see “The play for people who hate theatre” (me). It’s part of the 2010 San Francisco Theater Festival (, a one-day celebration of theater, theater, and theater in & around San Francisco’s beautiful Yerba Buena Gardens. There’s 1 performance only, and it’s Sunday, August 8, at 3:55pm. The location is the second floor of  SPUR (San Francisco Planning & Urban Research — they do some really cool stuff worth checking out) located at 654 Mission Street@ Third in San Francisco. [youtube][/youtube]

We are once again blessed to have Kathryn Wood on board as our director, and Cara Newman as Stage Manager. Of the cast, Katarina Fabic, Robert Anthony Peters, & Duane Schirmer return to the roles they originated: Lena, Bink, & George (respectively). New to the team is the absurdly talented Todd Brotze (as Peter), one of the shining stars of Killing My Lobster.

I bet right now you’re thinking, “If this is ‘The play for people who hate theatre’, then what the hell is it about?” Well I’ll tell ya:

The stuff memories are made of...

What do you call that random moment of LOL levity that get us through a time of XXL gravity? Hey, It Is What It Is.

It Is What It Is (IIWII) incorporates multimedia (texting, emailing, IMing), onstage and in real time, to illustrate the many simultaneous lines of communication we conduct at any given time — and how the medium affects the message.

Grown siblings Peter, Lena, and their much younger brother Bink reunite at the deathbed of their elderly father, the curmudgeonly George. In doing so, it comes to light how childhood “memories” (both real and imagined) shaped the adults they became. The seeds of Peter’s need to control, Lena’s obsession with documenting events (while never looking closely at herself), and Bink’s inability to get anyone’s attention, are put under the microscope – and projected onto the stage wall, through their texts, emails, and instant messages; message that often contradict the actual words they speak.

Eventually the sleep deprivation takes its toll and the cocktails kick in: Peter, who has lived with and cared for George for the past 12 years, can no longer control his emotions — and admits why he’s so opposed to George being in a care center; Lena sobers up to the fact that her fabulous world is on the brink of implosion; and Bink discovers that being silenced gave him a power he never knew he had.

As George works his way through the “Grief Cycle,” with his dead wife Nancy as his confidant, his three children – both alone and together – work through this crisis and the other issues in their respective lives. And in doing so they consciously or unconsciously are “shaping” these new experiences — and thus curating future memories. And in the end, they discover that their dad is not the person they’d thought he was. And “family” is never what you expect it to be. But it is what it is.

Jul 4 2010

The Upside Of Sleeplessness (see for yourself)

I hate to use the word “insomnia”; it makes it sound like something’s wrong. When actually there are some things you can only see at some pretty ungodly hours.

Jul 3 2010

Ceremony: It’s in my blood (and in my cocktail).

Sunset on the farm. Unless of course you ask the rooster, for whom the sun eternally rises.

I took a friend up on an invitation to spend Memorial Day Weekend savoring peace, fresh air, and fresh eggs on her family (a 4-H family) farm. I was surrounded by horses, goats, turkeys, chickens, cats, dogs — and a cacophony of animal sounds. And it was rather peaceful – even the rooster with total disregard for the sun’s location in the sky.

My job on these treks (which occur every six months or so) is to cook. It’s what I love to do and I love doing it for her mother, who lives there alone. She gets more vegetables in her diet the weekend I’m there than the other fifty-one combined.

It gets a little embarrassing when her mother informs everyone (in-home nurses, bridge partners, family members) who enters that I am the visiting “Iron Chef”; because then they stop and observe, believing that I really am some sort of expert. I’m not. I just have a good eye, hand, sense of taste, and (mostly), some serious curiosity. And of course, there’s always the glass of wine nearby, which is part of the ceremony that is cooking. And no one loves a ceremony more than yours truly.

Catching up on some light holiday reading.

Before accepting the invitation, I specifically asked my friend if any family activities were planned. “No” was the answer. My friend didn’t know this was a make-or-break for me. Not that I dislike her family; far from it. They’re lovely. It’s just… a very different family than I grew up with. And the whole “Iron Chef” thing… nah. Please, no live audience. I just want a nice quiet weekend, because…

I’d also decided the day before driving up that I was not going to drink for a month. A month. Just to “reset” the brain and the body. It’s not the sort of thing you share with nice people whose lives don’t involve (or for that matter revolve around) the ceremony of drinking to a large degree. Living in the city, I don’t know anyone whose social life isn’t rooted in the culture of cocktails. It’s how I grew up, it’s what I know, it’s what I love, it’s how I’ve often paid the rent (bartending). The people, the lifestyle, the stories, the making of a fine cocktail, the nose of an epic wine, the feel of a velvety cognac on your tongue… Most of my friends are artists of all strains, and over cocktails is where we come together.

But back to Memorial Day weekend:

Oh the things you find in other people's childhood rooms. I haven't had a childhood room since I was twelve.

Oh, the things one finds in other’s childhood rooms…

It turns out that my friend’s brother, his wife and their three children were, in fact coming over for dinner Sunday night. The wall of watchful, matching, green-gray eyes was on me in the kitchen from the moment they entered, as mom immediately started singing my Iron Chef praises. I took care of that by ordering them all to carry stuff to the backyard, where we’d be dining. Over dinner, All members of the family engaged in a very detailed discussion about a recent field trip to Washingon DC. Family Discussion As Ceremony. I’d heard of that…

After dinner, we gathered in the parlor to enjoy tea, Toblerone chocolate, and strawberries. And the whole time, the whole night, these kids participated. There were no cell phones, no distractions. This was normal to them: kids and parents talking. Kids behaving. I didn’t know families like this still existed!

I thought this sort of thing only happened on the Hallmark channel. It truly was an episode of The Waltons, directed by Norman Rockwell. I’m not joking. The children have flaming red hair and more freckles than the bus has strains of bacteria. The adults sport a faded version of this coloration. And they’re all tall. I do not blend in this crowd. Not just the physical difference (I’m a petite, olive-y blonde, the result of my Greek/Norwegian heritage); but more to do with the fact and I’m an acerbic urbanite. Chalk that one up to nurture, not nature. And the fact that I was sipping a grapefruit spritzer rather than a glass of pinot was not helping my disposition. Quite the opposite.

Gatherings at my house growing up looked like a day on the set of Casino. It was Vegas in the ‘70’s. My parents even looked like Robert DeNiro and Sharon Stone (that Greek/Norwegian thing again). As a family, we didn’t gather in the parlor to converse over tea and Toblerone and strawberries after dinner. For starters, my father was the Bar Manager at the Hilton Hotel (when Elvis was performing there). So he was seldom home for dinner. Our garage looked like the liquor warehouse of the hotel. My parents had parties, and that’s when things got conversational at our house. It was always fun to watch the adults loosen up and not be so hush-hush (in front of us kids) about… whatever it was that adults talk about.  And their conversations were always much more interesting than those of my peers. At one holiday party, I stood at the door holding a crate of Elvis’ Christmas Album (I assume that was a “secret gift” from the Hilton Hotel to my father), handing one to each tipsy guest as they left. It never dawned on me that this wasn’t typical of every child’s holiday memories.

So being there on the farm, surrounded by Rockwell’s Waltons, the feeling that “I don’t belong here” was now festering into pure irritability because I didn’t have my beloved glass of wine handy to help me appreciate the oddity, the surreality (to me, anyhow) of the situation. No, it was just me, unarmed. And again, I can’t tell nice non-drinkers that I’m cranky (and trying to hide my crankiness, which makes me even crankier) because I’m a baby and I want my ba-ba. They won’t understand and it’s embarrassing. Yeah, you know it’s bad when you can’t stop staring at a (probably 15-year old) bottle of vermouth. All of this soon spirals into a very real headache, and very real reason to excuse myself from the room and pop a Tylenol PM.

A good thing. I miss you.

So why the hell all this 40-something equivalent of 20-something navel gazing? Damn good question. I got nuthin’. I do have this: It’s day seven now. I’d just finished writing a feature screenplay (right before taking this vow of a month’s sobriety) and was wondering “what next?” And in recent days I finally started to write something for the upcoming Tenderloin Reading Series at which I was invited to read. And I was informed that my play, It Is What It Is, has been accepted in the upcoming SF Theater Festival. And of course, I did not pop a bottle to celebrate. That was tough!

So do I need this ceremony, this companion, this lovely crutch called “cocktail”? Last night I went to a local bar and had two ginger beer/mint/lime spritzers. So the past 7 days prove I don’t need it, the alcohol at least. But the ceremony… yes, I need ceremony in my life. Though there are a million (non-alcoholic) ceremonies out there and a million more I can invent… but I love this one! It’s where I come from, it’s in my blood; it even reminds me of childhood, watching my fabulous parents entertain. Hell, I made my first cocktail at age 5; I’d make them for my parents friends and charge them 10 cents. It’s who I am! Other kids longed for Disneyland; I had Fantasyland right there at home. Whenever my parents entertained, there were gorgeously groomed men in suits, beautifully made-up women in fabulous frocks, the Rat Pack backed up by the music of ice chiming in beautiful glasswear, and laughter! I couldn’t wait to grow up and make that my world. My Adultland.

But I guess we all need to step outside our skin once in a while, now don’t we? If for no other reason than to decided whether or not the skin we’ve grown so accustomed to still fits and is still flattering. Or do we still wear it because it’s what we’re used to, and we’re too lazy to try on a new one?

The one thing I know to be directly related to not drinking is waking up with a clear head. So clear is it, that I decided to write this little reflection to share with you. But is a clear head worth  going without my beloved ceremony? Ask me on July 1st, when I celebrate this achievement.

Better make that July 2nd.

Jul 1 2010

Gray & Nameless have a new home!

Please visit us at our new virtual Pup House!

I’ll miss them here, but it was time, and they’ve earned it. Gray & Nameless now have their very own website: There you’ll find the Daily Pupdates, exciting Puptales, and the complete collection of children’s books, and other fun stuff — SOON. There’s an awful lot of content to upload. But their Facebook page will live on, as will their presence on Twitter . You can even write to them at