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Saturday, March 29, 2008


This was the ominous one-word phrase spoken to me by the Mac Genius (that's what they call them) at the Apple store in Cherry Creek earlier this week when I came to them with my inoperable MacBook.
Roughly translated, "Dude" meant that my hard drive was completely dead and would need to be replaced and that the retrieval of any of my files from the dead hard drive would be costly if not nearly impossible.
But I am back now on my resurrected MacBook with a brand new drive (that I installed all by myself, thank you very much) and feeling a bit of the meaning within Thoreau's call to "Simplify! Simplify! Simplify!" (Rumor has it that his friend and mentor Emerson responded to this by saying, "I think one 'Simplify!' would have been sufficient." I don't know if there's any truth to this, but I really hope so.)
While my computer was down, I found time to empty my DVR of nearly all of the episodes of the Sci-Fi Channel's new take on Flash Gordon. I must say that I've been very impressed. While retaining the spirit of the original strip, the modern update is fresh, funny, and exciting. Eric Johnson is much more than just a pretty face (which he was on Smallville) as the charming Flash. (By the way, how can he be the only "Eric Johnson" in SAG? Isn't that like one of the top ten most common names?)
The Sci-Fi Channel is big on doing marathon re-runs, in fact, it looks like they're doing the whole season split across April 10th and April 30th -- definitely tune in (or program it in or whatever). And, if you've already seen the show, don't spoil it for me. I still have six episodes to go.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Erin Go Bragh

An Irish tale for your Monday:

As soon as she had finished parochial school, a bright young girl named Lena shook the dust of Ireland off her shoes and made her way to New York where before long, she became a successful performer in show business.

Eventually she returned to her home town for a visit and on a Saturday night went to confession in the church which she had always attended as a child. In the confessional Father Sullivan recognized her and began asking her about her work. She explained that she was an acrobatic dancer, and he wanted to know what that meant.

She said she would be happy to show him the kind of thing she did on stage.

She stepped out of the confessional and within sight of Father Sullivan, she went into a series of cartwheels, leaping splits, handsprings and backflips. Kneeling near the confessional, waiting their turn, were two middle-aged ladies. They witnessed Lena's acrobatics with wide eyes, and one said to the other:

"Will you just look at the penance Father Sullivan is givin' out this night, and me without me bloomers on!"

The above joke and the following blessing I found here.

May good luck be your friend
In whatever you do
And may trouble be always
A stranger to you.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of my Irish (and Irish-for-today) readers.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Side Show Cast List

I nearly forgot that I told the MySpacers I would post the cast list for PHAMALy's upcoming production of Side Show. Here it is:

Violet HiltonRegan Linton
Daisy HiltonJenna Bainbridge
Terry ConnorNick Ortiz Trammell
Buddy FosterMark Dissette
JakeLeonard Barrett
The Boss 1Don Mauck
The Boss 2Stephen Hahn
Reptile ManJason Dorwart
Bearded LadyLinda Wirth
Snake LadyAmber Marsh
Fortune TellerKathleen Traylor
GeekMatt MacCarthy
FakirGregg Vigil
SheikKevin Pettit
6th ExhibitMimi Holmes
Dolly DimplesLeslie Reid
Harem Girl 1Katrina Weber
Harem Girl 2Samantha Barrasso
Attraction 1Edward Blackshere
Attraction 2Molly Nash
Attraction 3Donna Gunnison
Attraction 4Angie Aguilar
Attraction 5Sean McGee
Attraction 6Michael Danahey
Roustabout 1 / BrowningDavid Wright
Roustabout 2Maggie Gibson
Roustabout 3Alex Marin
Roustabout 4Julie Melton
Roustabout 5Troy Willis
Roustabout 6Lucy Roucis
Roustabout 7Teri Westerman
Roustabout 8Don Gabenski
Roustabout 9Briana Berthiaume

Congratulations to one and all. It looks to be a good show. Tickets go on sale April 11th.
I'm sorry I didn't get it posted sooner, I've just been a bit busy lately.
So busy, in fact, that I haven't had a chance to get over to The John Hand Theatre to see Hunger Artists production of Neil Labute's Shape of Things.
I'm hearing lots of good about this, and, with my friend Stacey Nelms in the cast, I would expect nothing less. It runs through March 29th. Here's the link for the info.

And here are Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner (the original Daisy and Violet Hilton from the Broadway production of Side Show):

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Art Works report

Wow. I'm still processing everything that we covered at yesterday's symposium. What a great event. What an important event.
Co-hosted by the Colorado Council on the Arts, PHAMALy, and VSA Arts, the symposium provided workshops and information about careers in the arts for persons with disabilities, and for a "non-disabled" person like myself, provided a lot of eye-opening experiences. I met a young man named Jason who has autism and is writing a play. I met a director named Nikki, who, like many directors new to the area, is struggling to find opportunities to work her craft. (Let's face it. Most everybody in this town holds pretty tightly to the all of the projects in their theatre corner.) Nikki, however, has an additional challenge: she is hearing and speech impaired. I wish that a few of the A.D.'s around town could have had the conversation with Nikki that I did. This lady's enthusiasm, passion, and drive make her definitely worth a look, in my opinion. I also met Naomi Morrow, a visually-impaired sculptor who has endeavoured to make her pieces accessible to "sighted" and "non-sighted" appreciation. Naomi's website is and includes an audio description feature for non-visual access.
Panels included representatives from Donna Baldwin Talent, the Arvada Center for Arts and Humanities, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Denver Commission for People with Disabilities, and many more.
Entertainment for the event was provided by the ImprovAbility Dance Company. I wish I had some video to provide you of their performance. (I'll see what I can find.)
All in all, it was a very exciting, informative, and moving day. I hope you all can make it to the next one.
More links from the event: an initiative of the state of Colorado and a free resource to help families plan, apply, and pay for college.
The Chanda Plan Foundation: Alternative treatments for the disabled.
Jewish Disabilities Network
And here is a teaser of the documentary that panelist and PHAMALy company member Mark Dissette is working on:
Check out this video: Theres Still Hope For Dreams Trailer

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Friday, March 7, 2008

What about Brian?

Every once in a while, to feed my narcissistic inner beast, I re-read a blog entry I've written. Well, as I read over my blog about MSCD's The Foreigner, I saw that something was missing. I had written a very short paragraph about how Brian Kusic, as Ellard, very nearly stole the show away from Ben Cowhick's brilliant Charlie -- nearly.
Somehow I must have deleted that paragraph doing some cut-and-paste maneuver that obviously had me out of my depth.
So, sorry, Brian. Folks, The Foreigner runs just a couple more nights, so, if you haven't seen it yet, you'd better step on it. Brian, Ben, Jessica, Jeff, and the rest of the cast really put on a heck of a great show under the direction of Terry Dodd.
Here is the info on the show:
The Foreigner by Larry Shue
Directed by Terry Dodd
February 28- March 1 & March 6-8, 2008 @ 7:30 PM
March 9 @ 2:30 PM
MSCD King Center Studio Theatre
On the Auraria Campus in Denver
(Located right next to the Tivoli STudent Union)
For reservations, call 303-556-2296
*Only two weekends!*

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cactus Cuties


Andi Kitten - 11
Baylee Barrett - 13
Madeline Powell - 8
Tatum Lowe - 11
Blaire Elbert - 10
Directed by Cami Caldwell
Another angle, not embeddable.
Thanks, RAJ.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

ArtWorks Reminder

Hey, gang, I just wanted to remind Denverites and Front Rangers about the upcoming free forum about Careers for Artists with Disabilities. Here's the info again:

ART WORKS – A FREE Forum on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities

Saturday, March 8, 9:30am-5pm, Tivoli Union, Auraria Campus downtown

Join PHAMALY, the Colorado Council on the Arts, and VSA arts of Colorado for this unique event bringing people together to discuss the topic of careers in the arts for people with disabilities. The event is FREE and includes lunch and a wine and cheese reception. Workshops include a Successful Artists Panel (covering topics of making a living in the arts), an Employers Panel (covering topics of how arts employers can open their doors to people with disabilities), and performances include PHAMALY and ImprovAbility Dance Company. Register at, or by calling 303-575-0005.

I just want to re-iterate that this is a FREE conference, so if you have a friend or family member with a disability, have a disability yourself, or are just interested in this subject, you should definitely sign up and check this out.
The Big Bad Wolf will be there, you know, cruising for chicks and stuff.
For my readers outside of the Rocky Mountain region, here's a snippet from a PBS NewsHour story about a PHAMALy production of The Wiz back in 2006.

The NewsHour report and the full streaming video are here.
Of course, if you want more info about PHAMALy you can always drop by the website designed and maintained by local Web Goddess Ali Zimmerman.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Up in Smoke

I expect that most of my Denver-area readers caught Denver theatre critic John Moore's recent column, in which he looks at the ongoing battle between theatre companies and the state smoking ban. However, I know from some of your comments here and the personal messages that you have sent to me that many of you who drop by this page are not in Colorado, so I thought I'd bring it to your attention.
Now, I'm not a smoker myself. I don't particularly care to be around smoke, and I have enjoyed the freer air quality in and around town even if the ban itself triggers my libertarian gag reflex.
I also think that actors and especially singers who smoke are basically OUT OF THEIR FREAKIN' MINDS.
However, none of that has anything to do with these theatre companies who are simply championing the right of artists to portray smoking on-stage as part of character development and storytelling.
John Moore has detailed the argument quite eloquently, in my opinion, so I will direct you to read his column here.
I would like to bring particular attention to one paragraph in John's column that gives you some idea of just what theatres in Colorado are up against:

"[Assistant Attorney General Lisa Bremmer] Freimann actually predicted a performance exception for smoking would inevitably lead to exceptions for underage drinking and firing real guns. Among the many flaws in her logic: If a play calls for underage (or of-age) drinking, the actor drinks colored water. If a character fires a gun, it fires blanks. And if a character lights up, it's not a real cigarette."

Theatres: if your city, state, province, country or district is considering a smoking ban, make sure that you know what that means for you. What provision is provided for artistic expression on-stage? Can you smoke non-carcinogenic tobacco alternatives? In Colorado, at the moment, you can't.
When it comes to legislating smoking, I'll admit I'm torn. I think Wayne Dyer put it best when he said (I'm paraphrasing) that your right to flail your arms around wildly ends where my right to keep my nose in its current shape begins. Second-hand smoke stinks in every sense of the word, and, even the non-carcinogenic alternatives have their drawbacks. I have a friend who is allergic.
However, I know people who are allergic to a lot of the fog machines in use in theatres. People with asthma and emphysema have often claimed to have issues with even water-based foggers. Not being a doctor, I'm inclined to take those claims at face value.
We've learned to work around these things: minimizing the effects where possible, providing warnings, directing audience members with these issues to sit in less-exposed areas of the theatre, etc.
But an outright ban?
Run through your list of favorite plays. How many include smoking onstage? How many could be performed without it? Probably quite a few, sure, but how many absolutely could not? Imagine those plays never being performed live again.
Scary, isn't it?