all hail

October 12, 2016

mes amis –

it has been a trop long temps.
i know.
but here i am.
voila!

instead of dwelling on the particulars of my silence, i want to describe a scene that just overpowered me.

i am currently in a strange land they call “the financial district,” or,  “fidi” (pronounced “fye-die” to those in the know). it is tres tidy here. there is hustle and bustle. people wear work costumes! there are smokers on the street and tourists by a bull. j’adore.

wall_st_bull_0

i am here on a residenza with the LMCC, a marvelous organization putting offices to good artistic use. in any case, je suis ici. toiling on some freelance work before i begin my art work. isn’t that always the case?

down i go through security to get some soup. all hail and hearty. it has been indeed a long temps since i popped into this soup lover’s haven. the menu has changed. there are symbols to learn. a dizzying mix of soups. i try “vegetarian campfire.” too spicy for this kippy!

in an age old time would i have ordered it anyway and suffered the consequences?

i try the sweet potato chorizo. still calliente and on the edge, but not nearly as lethal as the campfire. i’m proud of my restraint. the woman behind the counter is as friendly as the financial district is fanciful-free. it isn’t rush hour. in fact, it’s after 3PM–a late lunch pour moi!

a song plays while she pours me my soup and i am suddenly transported to some back of the bus. is it after a soccer game? or am i in a car avec mon pere on the way to a rehearsal for a play? who is this singing anyway? ah, the elusive nelly furtado. what’s become of her? is it 1996 or 2016?

i return to the hale and hearty of the present and realize that life IS too short and the days of absconding to hale and hearty for respite from the office storms of yesteryear are done! i am now in an office, oui, but a very different one from the one i left in feb 2015.

the song jangles away with effortless enthusiasm. i nearly get a tear in my eye half believing nelly’s refrain and mixing it with my own pop psychology anthems. have i experienced “personal growth”?

the woman at the counter asks if i have an app.

“not today,” i sigh.

this kippy doesn’t download apps. i eat apps and i certainly never call them that–only appetizers, appeteasers or preferably hors d’oevres. in the days of yesteryear there was a little paper card. alas, even hale and hearty has modernized.

i march back to the office in my artist costume that isn’t fit for this weather.

back in the land of the beige carpets i smile. there is a key i must use and the lock is mysteriously on the floor, not by the door handle. so even though i am in an office setting i must get down on my knees and thank the fidi gods for their munificence!

doorlock

opening the door to this office is much like taking off one’s shoes at the airport: equal parts humiliating, humble-making, and absurd. i love it.

a bientot!
KW

 

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soothing pooches and comfort dogs

March 3, 2015

mes amis,

i recall many years ago sending out an email to some friends requesting they think good thoughts and send good energy / vibes / prayers to my mother who was undergoing a scary surgery. william burke was one of people that replied with a surprisingly heartfelt and deeply moving message. surprising, perhaps, because i did not consider him a dear friend but merely the beloved of a dear friend and so–to my limited mind of a year’s ago–he was a friend by proxy. in any case, my estimation of william changed after the brief but potent email he sent. this was a man of depth and a man who offered incredible solace while i was fretting for my maman.

since then (and before then, for that matter) i’ve always enjoyed le burke, weather (wink!) it’s when i see him hosting one of this famous polar bbqs, or out and about cheering at a doll parts concerto or guffawing at a theatrical ouvre. william is unafriad to march to his own beat, grow out his beard, or cackle when others remain silent.

his latest piece de theatre, comfort dogs, barks at jack theatre through mar. 14 and features not only his splendid wife (and aforementioned dear friend) julia sirna-frest (of doll parts lore), but also a host of other marvelous performers canine and human alike. i caught up with william and julia over email and here’s what we discussed.

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a burke, a beard, and his bronco. photo by kevin frest.

 

william, what sparked the idea of Comfort Dogs for you?
I read an article about a nursing home that was being over run with people who had been displaced from their home and didn’t have the means to recuperate their losses. They had been given a therapy/comfort dog who was trained specifically not to be afraid of wheels, machines and certain smells to give solace and comfort. After six months it was taken away because of lack of funding and I found that to be incredibly heartbreaking and it made me interested in exploring  why that was heartbreaking. Dogs and other pets are probably confused by us 90 percent of the time but we put such a huge expectation on them to give us comfort and solace.  We put such a personification or anthropomorphism onto dogs where we analyze the hell out of an eyebrow movement or a scratch and lay our human behavior on top the animal. I started to wonder if that is a fair thing to do. So I thought I wanted to see what it was like to create world where we put the microscope on that and see what happens.

mmm you always twist things in an interesting way. like complicating the tale of elmo in times sq. tell me, what was your writing process like?
I don’t write straight linear or plot driven plays. I depend on an emotional trajectory as opposed to an obvious throughline. Until I figure what the structure of each piece I’m kind of drowning in my own words and ideas. Levon Helms of The Band died while I was just compiling lists of dog mannerisms, needs and movements. I went down a bit of rabbit hole of The Band videos and thought he and his bandmates were very dog like.

curious! i must familiarize myself with this musical group.
They also sing songs that had very comforting or cathartic intentions behind them. I rediscovered Martin Scorsese’s concert documentary of the their last show in San Francisco. I was taken by how fluid it was and how it seamlessly moved from their performances to moments of them kind of rambling and reminiscing about certain aspects of their experiences together. I laid that over any text I had realized that the dogs should be a band and be able to try and reach people with their music. I brought the first couple pages into my writing group (Wook Taut Majesty) and heard it out loud and realized that the dogs should be reading letters from humans asking for comfort and the music could be a response. Then I got Shane Chapman to compose the music and it kind of went on from there.

Let’s talk about the dogs .. who are they? What are their tails ? (wink!)
Bluet: chihuahua. instigator. Artist living in Brooklyn. The David Greenspan of Dogs.
Gypsy: Lab mix. Grand Dame. Loves her hedge hog chew toy. The Zoe Caldwell of Dogs.
Bronco: Too many mixes to Count. Dog of the People and of the earth. Always trying to improve his craft. The Reed Birney of Dogs.

william i am obsessed with these descriptions. i have a tear in my eye. how i love these dogs and our theatrical tribe! julia, you are performing in the piece ..

Displaying IMG_1991.jpeg

jsf is in the building. photo by kevin frest

 

how is it to co-star with your dog bronco? are animals hard to work with?
Working with the dogs is pretty exciting. You don’t know what they are going to do so it keeps you very present on stage which I love.

“presence is the inversion of ghosts” (#pointyreckoning. continue.)
‘Tis true. The strangest thing is Bronco is my dog so relating to him as a dog not his loving caretaker is different–I sniffed his butt one night because it was there and that is what a dog would do. All the dogs in the piece are incredible and have been a total joy to work with. I don’t know if I can ever do a tech without dogs again–it was amazing!

(perhaps this is an obvious question but .. ) what do we gain from having live animals in the piece?
jsf: There is an energy that the dogs bring that humans cannot.  There are truly always in the moment.

wb: I think the dogs are there to guide through these kind of cloudy difficult questions of existence and meaning and purpose and kind of put a mirror onto ourselves that blurs the lines between species and just accentuates idea that we all just living beings, sharing the earth together. Or…They are just fun and cute.

The Jack website says that “an ensemble of musicians and live dogs will howl, scotch and poop their way through the evening” .. what does it mean to scotch and do to Humans poop?!
jsf: It depends on the moment….

jsf: scotching is dog language. Make of it what you will. And to answer the second part of your question…Hey, shit happens.

lol! Best part of working as a couple?
jsf: Having both of my loves (William and Bronco) at tech was pretty magical.  It made the 10 hour day feel like home.

wb: This is the first time Julia has performed in my work. The best part is watching Julia using all of her personality traits, talents and quirks that I have come to love and depend on and take for granted during our over 14 years of being a couple to craft such a poignant and touching performance that has truly elevated my writing and work to place I never thought it could go.

Hardest part?
jsf: Knowing when to check my ego because I need to support William.

wb: Trying to figure a way to request that she not ask me get her water or tea while I’m focusing during Tech without getting in big trouble.

Best part of having a pet?
jsf: everything.
wb: Having a remind that you’re with a living being that is always in the moment is never concerned about the bigger things and know that we are here as companions and explorers of whatever that moment turns out to be.
Most challenging part?
jsf: This is dark but just knowing that their life span in shorter than mine make my heartache.  It’s amazing how much unconditional love I have for Bronco.
wb: Cheesy but…Sometimes you love your dog so much it hurts.
Guilty pleasures / secret influences?
Korean Action Movies. George Carlin. plus Jean Claude Van Damme Movies. Particularly Blood Sport. The Arena for the fighting Tournament is a huge influence on my design choices.
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lotta feelings in this photo. pictured: bronco. photo by kevin frest

and there you have it mes amis! i shall be attending Comfort Dogs on March 6 .. when will you be howling?
a bientot,
kippy

philadelphia you sexy thing

February 20, 2015

mes amis–

where oh where to begin?

february isn’t even over and yet the wheels spin like the fires in my heart…! change is afoot in kippy-land but so it goes. i am pleased to announce many upcoming incredible things. (vagueries are the keynotes of self-promotion!) but for now i must rue the thing i shall miss this weekend, philadelphia and other stories, produced by the intrepid chip rodgers.

philadelphia and other stories played at the bushwick starr in december for all-too-brief a moment and it’s returned to walker space this month. and rightly so! for it received critical acclaim its first go round (the curators at the starr being a savvy bunch). but once again the time is never enough and this kippy shall miss it this weekend, which is why i wanted to catch up with les artistes.

before i introduce paul rome and roarke menzies to vous (the respective writer and composer of philadelphia and other stories) i want to take a moment to recall my first encounter with mr. rodgers (chip, that is!)

i was running late for a half straddle meeting at the new museum when i spotted rodgers clad in the most adorable preppy outfit in the world. it was late summer so i was in saffron sirong but chip had on a nice collared shirt with tiny whales on it and salmon toned bermuda shorts. “ms. winston? are you here for half straddle?” and thus was the start of mutual fandome b/w chip and kip. c’est vrais. he is as polite as he is an unfailing wit and i’m glad to know him.

its no wonder he’s helping bring to life what sounds like a lovely and love-filled evening of radio-inspired theatre. but before i wax on let’s here from the artists menzies and rome themselves.

a show that i hope occurs again

a show that i hope occurs again

What sparked the idea of this show for you?

 

PR: I was interested in exploring the interstitials of love, to capture love, or potential love, in that moment of transition, when everything feels open, as yet undetermined, but where there’s simultaneously an awareness of one’s options, of how the romance might play out, or not. Road trips or train rides, as different narrator’s in Philadelphia and Other Stories recount, parallel this state of flux: should I go left or right? East or West? Or perhaps stay where I am? I was also just drawn to the purely blissful feeling inspired by travel, the pleasure of moving, the way a song on the radio hits you when driving along an open road.

 

RM: Musically, I was interested in all the pop music referenced in Paul’s stories. I wanted to use the tools of contemporary pop music to create long form pieces that really allow you to settle in and get comfortable in the sonic spaces created.

 

I do love a montage of memory and modern love .. tell me do you have a favorite tale?

 

PR: For me, it’s probably the title story, “Philadelphia.”

 

RM: One of the standouts for me is a story Paul reads called “The Rash.”

 

I’m already scratching!
Tell me, what is the reduction sauce version of that tale in three sentences?

 

PR: Two brooklyn transplants wake up next to each other. They’ve been casually seeing each other off and on for the past two or three months. It’s New Year’s Day and they decide to drive to Philadelphia to see a 19th century automaton, a mechanical boy who draws pictures and writes poetry. They have a really lovely day together. Could it be they’re falling in love?

 

RM: A guy has this weird thing on his skin that neither he, nor his friends, family, or multiple doctors can identify. Is it allegic? Is it psychosomatic? Is he dying? Is he just making it up somehow? Is he losing his mind? Health issues get moralized in weird ways in our society. People often, weirdly, have sort of a ‘blame the victim’ mentality. As though, because you have this thing you somehow deserved it or brought on yourself through an irresponsible or immoral lifestyle or just plain hubris; that it’s somehow a reflection of your character. “The Rash” is a fun, and funny, very honest exploration of those subjects.

 

Would love to hear a freestyle riff on the Cheesesteak and other peculiarities about the city of brotherly love.

 

RM: The cheesesteak is one of the great sandwiches in existence. An instant classic, from the first bite. I’ve only been to Philly a couple of times and never even had an ‘authentic’ one, but it’s my sandwich of choice from most New York bodegas.

 

RM: The last time I was in Philly I was completing a score for a ballet company called BalletX. They have a theatre district on one of the main streets where a lot of the major performing arts institutions are — University of the Arts, the Kimmel Center, the Wilma Theater (that’s where we were working). There aren’t many cities in America with bones as old as Philadelphia’s. I grew up on the West Coast where most of the cities, and their attendant architectural DNAs, are much younger than Philadelphia’s. You see it immediately in the materials used — cobblestone streets, old growth wood, brick, etc. — as well as the styles. It’s a very handsome city. The main branch of the post office there and Penn Station are just like the ones in New York (although, in what can only be seen as a horrible call, New York demolished the original Penn Station and put up the impeccably drab non-thing that exists there now).

 

Philadelphia has its own life, its own stories and subjectivities.  But in my life, it feels a bit like an attractive stranger you’ve bumped into here and there, but only ever exchanged a few words with.

Aye, perhaps a man in uniform! A man who knows how to fix things and uses his hands.

did i see you driving in the city of the cheesesteak?

did i see you driving in the city of the cheesesteak?

PR: I waited in line for “real” cheesesteak in Philly. It was delicious.

mon ami, i have waited in line for a real cheesesteak too! and though i have paid for it later i have never regretted a cheesesteak in my life.

a sandwich that is as disgusting as it is delicious !

a sandwich that is as disgusting as it is delicious !

tell me, what is your secret guilty pleasure inspiration?

 

RM: Whiskey. Although, I guess I’m not very guilty about it.

 

PR: Movies in the daytime and buying cassettes for my boombox.

Fine pleasures to indulge in!! Oh I really am sad to miss this show. I hope it goes marvelously well and that it plays again soon.

xxKW

quit yer harpin’! (a record of paul’s experience)

February 7, 2015
mes amis
far too long has passed since our last communique! where to start? a year has come and gone. a pair of snoopy pants has debuted in the kitchen and in the forum. most importantly perhaps i have been reminded of the importance / indulgence of going somewhere warm in the cold winter months. a dose of sunshine from an archipelago does a body good! not that i ever get too much soleil, mind you. they don’t make an SPF high enough for this kippy!
is this enough protection?

is this enough protection?

anyhoo, we are here to talk about a one paul ketchum. there are many things to say about paul.
he is tall.
he has a beard. (one sense he would sport one regardless of current fashions.)
he bakes bread.
he is famously a virgo.

virgo_wheel

the sixth sign

most of all paul is a thoughtful and hilarious human and friend which is in part what makes him a fabulous playwright. i recall a time when paul showed some of us hooligans pages of a new piece that were absolutely beyond my comprehension. i believe they were an adaptation of something greek. paul is that level smart.

i mean, duh.

i mean, duh.

his latest piece, the harper’s play, is (perhaps not surprisingly) an adaptation of an issue of harper’s magazine. now go back and read that sentence again! the show premieres at jack this month. ketchum and i caught up over gmail to discuss the show’s origins and other important matters. here’s what we wrote.

what prompted this theatrical adaptation? pourquoi harper’s and not .. let us say .. the atlantic or the economist or — gasp! — the new yorker? did you ever consider, for example, harper’s bazaar? (har har)
Too many people think that the Harper’s Play actually is about Harper’s Bazaar. Maybe some day Kippy. Maybe someday.
we can hope!
Truly, I don’t read many magazines. Harper’s is pretty much it. I remember reading an issue of the New Yorker from the 1940s for a report I did for a freshman comp course while I was in college. When asked what the New Yorker was like in the 1940s, I said it seemed like it was written by a stuffy boy’s club who think their inside jokes are really funny. The professor said that not much has changed.
hmph!
So, that’s why Harper’s. In the March 2013 issue, there’s an excerpt from a guide to playing the video game Dwarf Fortress. It’s an incredible piece of writing that actually started this whole idea. Allow me to just excerpt a part of it: “Finally, dead dwarves who aren’t appropriately respected by their surviving brethren will come back as ghosts and haunt your fortress. We can avoid these problems by building coffins at a Mason’s Workshop in which to place our dead dwarves, and installing the coffins somewhere convenient. Once this is done, you will probably also want to toggle “Allow Pets” to “(N)” so that your coffins aren’t filled with dead cats.” Amazing! There’s an entire play right there just waiting to be written!
you are an optimist i take it! well then. might you tell us a bit about your process? how did you go about making your adaptation?
I knew that I wanted to get at least one piece from each page of the magazine. I read through the magazine a dozen times, writing new adaptations of each part each time. At the end, I put together the parts that were the most interesting. There’s a lot in the play that isn’t in the magazine. Sometimes, the text veers into my own opinions on what I’m reading. There are places that are linguistic adaptations of the pictures. There are even parts that have nothing to do with the magazine at all. It’s really more of a record of my experience reading the magazine.
ah ha. a fine and fascinating distinction! i recall a short viewing presented at prelude festival .. what new bits does this iteration include?
All of the bites from Prelude are returning! Oh yes! Favorite new parts include a romp through the first annual Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas, a mash up of public speaker extraordinaire Dale Carnegie and mega-rich mega-church pastor Creflo Dollar (that’s his real name), and lots of punctuating with forked sausages.
i cannot imagine what that means…
you went to brooklyn college with the greats (wellman and courtney) of our day .. can you tell me a couple of your fave mac-isms? i understand you and le sitko kept a running tab of mac koans, c’est vrais?
This one I really took to heart:
It is good to write stuff that worries the reader about the writer’s sanity.
oh yes
Mac describing exactly how I felt about Les Mis the first time I saw it:
This is a normal play: “I’m the important emotions of this play, the other emotions are not important, and my shoes look good.”
i recall one of the best naps of my life while enduring that one, why did they never stop singing?!
And when it comes to talking about and understanding plays:
Talk about plays on your own terms. If you employ others’ language you will become part of their system. You don’t invest in a play. It’s not a fucking bank.

i reference that one a lot .. so true.
what is your secret inspiration and guilty pleasure?
I really really really love video games. Can’t help it. Not really the shoot em up ones so much. The ones with deep worlds and loose narratives that let you create as you play. I have no doubt that playing video games developed my ability to be creative within well-defined and unbreakable constraints, which is very important when I am writing plays.
My secret inspiration remains Buster Keaton. What pacing. Such flailing limbs. So good.
ma che c'e buster?

ma che c’e buster?

mmm he and i had a love affair back in the day…
what do you when you’re not changing the face of the american theatre?
Am I doing that? Well, I usually am walking my dogs and cooking food for Alaina. Except when Erin Courtney demands that I bake bread for her. You don’t say no Erin Courtney. Have you seen her plays? Horrifying.

i have never felt more dread than when watching a one map of virtue, simple marvelous!
back to you, after the grand success of your play .. what is next for you?
Maybe I’ll become an attorney.
But before that, I’ll be acting in William Burke’s Comfort Dogs, also at JACK. So go see that.
I most certainly shall.
a bientot,
KW
The Harper’s Play runs through Feb. 14 at JACK.
pretty cute toots

pretty cute toots

an ear worm worth listening to

December 4, 2014

mes amis–

today on my luncheon excursions i was about to leave the soup shop when this jam came on.

and for a moment i thought of lingering at the hale and hearty!

i didn’t but my g-d. the chanson is incredible! it put a spring in my strut as i walked back to the office i frequent mondays-though-fridays.

as the melody played in my brain i wished i could speak eloquently about music. is it the key that makes this tune so good? the rhythm? those backup singers? or is it just the magical confluence of many things??

thank you darlene love for giving the world this wonderful song…!

love: a singer worth loving and listening to!

love: a singer worth loving and listening to!

and thanks for being in that super documentary 20 feet from stardom. that flick left me ruminating about greatness for many days. catch it if you can, mes amis.

a bientot,
kippy

 

 

buttons, banks, paper or plastic, supplication to the applications

December 2, 2014

amici miei

the only consistency in life is change itself! c’est vrais .. mama mia ma quanto c’est vrais! anyhoo, as i did my luncheon wanderings on this gray and rainy second day of dicembre i had some revelations

1. buttons

the only good thing about going to an office-mondays-through-fridays in the garment district is being in close proximity to botani. botani, a button shop so vast with such ferocious florescent lighting, is a surprisingly welcoming place .. a silent cacophony of minutia. the fashionistas practice their patience and politely ask if there are student discounts. (there aren’t.)

les buttons

les buttons

the lady who helped me search for the white button i’ve needed since last april—for a pajama top i’d like to incorporate into my dayware—was most kind. we found a near match. i didn’t have the heart to tell her i only needed one white button so i said, “i’ll take four.” (what extravagance, kippy! never mind i can barely sew…] the tortoiseshell button i sought proved to be more tricky. it’s for my olden tweed blazer, the one i’ve had in my possession since high school. the tag on the inside is tattered but the blazer is in otherwise tip top condition. the tag claims the blazer’s origins are “the wool shop” writ large in a font no longer fashionable. the whole jacket is the kind of woolen thing they don’t made these days. never mind it belonged to a friend’s mother and sat unworn in the back of her spacious closet. a jacket which we borrowed for some costume .. for some play.

the first time i wore the blazer i remember being mistaken for a francophone. i was seated in the waiting room of the Boston Language Institute paying my bill to learn how to teach english as a foreign language when a woman addressed me en francais. “mais vous n’etes pas francaise!” she marveled. “non!” I replied, and sank my head into my large scarf like a turtle with an ego too large for this world. how i love this little blazer.

the button shop woman assured me i could simply move a button hiding at the top of the jacket, under the collar, to where the most conspicuous button is missing. “it’s an old trick” she soothed. the white buttons were put into a little baggie and off i went.

2. banking

wells fargo is the bank I put my money into. “pourquois wells fargo, kippy?” you ask. “is it the wagon logo that fetches your eye? the glaring red and yellow colors that greet you in the atm station? the ubiquity of the bank in many american cities besides the one you usually live in?”

nay.

together we'll go far

“together we’ll go far”

mes amis, i am a customer of wells fargo because mon pere is an employee and therefore i get a discount on ATM fees. ca va pour moi!

today i needed to make a deposit, which i usually do in the ATM machine but i had some other niggling questions about a transfer and a paper bond issued to me in a far off decade. so i waited in line marveling at how long it had been since i’d waiting in the line the bank.

there were screens behind the bank tellers and the flat screens played silent movies of wells fargo customers being happy about all their money in the bank. they smiled at each other and sat on a couch. then the movie changed and to a scene during dusk on a stark landscape in the far west. real live horses ran pulling a wells fargo carriage behind them. i wondered how much money it cost the bank to make the video. who shot it? how long did the shoot take? how did they cast the horses? who knows how to drive a horse carriage these days and how many takes did they need for the horses to run in unison pulling the wagon majestically over a snowy field in the barren but beautiful landscape?

i do not oppose the movie, you see, i simply marvel at it. another screen.

the teller was most helpful in telling me he couldn’t help me. i was invited to either wait in another line or try to do it online.

3. paper or plastic

i needed some mint tea. in i popped to le duane reade. i thought back to the original duane reade whom i met at a cocktail party once—a man so rugged he made your hair curl! i found my tea and waited in the line. i looked at all the christmas merchandise—my god! i thought, zeroing in on a particularly tasty candy, when did peppermint patties change the packaging from a papery tinfoil to plastic?

the packaging of yesteryear

the packaging of yesteryear

i remembered years ago feeling the sense of dismay over the arrival of plastic—for it was a habit during a certain period of my life to buy a small peppermint patty for 25 cents in the late afternoon. when did the packaging change to plastic and why?? does anyone else recall folding the paper tinfoil in their youth?? how do youths play with discarded candy wrappers today? or are they too busy looking at their screens?!

the plastic wrap is not as fun to unfold and it's bad for the environment

the plastic wrap is not as fun to unfold and it’s bad for the environment

4. supplication to an application

the final stop was to hale and hearty for a soup. i waited in the line and confirmed that the turkey trimmings soup was worth a nibble. then i got in the next line to pay for my soup. anxiety rose within me.

“do you want to pay with the hale and hearty app?” the gal behind the counter said.

“no,” i stammered. “i have the old card.”

out came my little paper card with stamps on it. 

“i know it will no longer be used here,” i said, crestfallen.

“do you know how to download the app?” the nice employee asked.

“i guess i will look for it on my phone!” i said a little too loudly and a little too enthusiastically. she took the card, stamped it, and handed it back to me.

“tomorrow when you come in you’ll be a winner,” she said.

my heart felt light for a moment and i almost asked if i’d still be a winner when i switch to the app. never mind that “app” sounds like an abbreviation for appetizer!

i would rather buy 10 soups and get the 11th for free

i would rather buy 10 soups and get the 11th for free

mes amis, i am left wondering: when did everything change? and how will i feel when i am 80? (mind you, i am already older than the hills! i speak in euphemism here.. ) just yesterday my beloved called me on the telephone. a sense of dread took hold. what could be so good or bad that he was calling me and not texting or emailing? i prepared myself for either very excellent or very awful news. instead he wanted to go over a vacation choice. a quotidian question, wonderfully prosaic. i couldn’t shake the dread though and ended our call sooner than i’d have liked to.

don’t get me wrong. i love our modern era! but will our wrists survive all the typing? will my wrists survive the downward dogs i don’t do enough of? i still get a kick out of sending and receiving text messages—especially imessage—but what’s next?? have humans always felt this way?? are there other humans in history who felt like they didn’t belong in the right era?

holler if you hear me,
kippy

it’s cocoa for coldo

November 18, 2014

mes amis

in honour of it being a whopping 29 degrees today, i’d like to celebrate the first truly cold day of the season with a hot cocoa from none other than dunkin donuts.

ma che buono

ma che buono

 

oui mes amis that chain is germane to a day like au jour d’hui!

my sips take me back to a more innocent time. a time when zipping my own coat wasn’t even a concern .. if i buttoned myself i received high praise .. my attendants tucked in my own mittens, naturellement. si, amici miei, i was spoiled as a youth and have been forever ruined. sledding and ice skating were always followed by hot cocoa interludes. i ruminate on ice-skating especially. my frugal father, a new englander through and through, would always bring a thermos full of hot cocoa, claiming our swiss miss superior to whatever was served at larz anderson, the park where we skated.

 

the anderson rink

the anderson rink

i loved drinking from the thermos between bouts on the ice.

but more than that i loved seeing my father in this new context. mon pere on ice was a private thrill, a revelation. this man, so reserved looking in his usual monday through friday business suits transformed into a graceful swan on le rink. never a show off, he’s simply inform me he was going to take a few laps on his own and off he’d glide, leaving me in the ice dust and in awe. plus, he always wore old fashioned hockey skates as though it were the 1940s! remember, this was a man that insisted on keeping the toboggan from his childhood in our basement though i don’t think we ever actually used it. “piece ‘a crap!” my mother might have proclaimed

they do glide

they do glide

and so i salute my poppalino, a man who still recites bits of ancient greek he learned in high school yet watches fox news with reverence, on this cold and olden day. here’s to the contradictions that lie in our hearts and souls!

a presto,
kippy

 

rum raisin and the rumstick road

September 26, 2014

mes amis–

il y a beaucoup de temps ..  it feels very nice to be back beating at the grindstone and greasing away at the waxy ax of fall. autumn is upon us ! despite this seasonally sumptuous day. happy new year to those celebrating .. i shall be feasting on apples and honey tonight myself.

well then. theresa buchhesiter should need no introduction.

she of the angular pantaloons and bohemian style is as warm and sunny as a kansas sky. i have long admired her disposition, quick wit, and work ethic, as well as her theatrical dealings. for not only is she a director and actor, but she’s also a mover and shaker. i spotted her at the viewing of rumstick road many months back and i recall overhearing a post-viewing tenacity in her voice about getting another showing of this fine footage.

she’s done just that. rumstick returns at buchheister’s artistic home the (not so) silent barn this coming monday evening sept. 29. theresa’s doing spaulding and all those woosters proud with another showing (and helping out those who didn’t catch the all-too-brief run at anthology). this kippy caught up with theresa over email…

the rumstick

the rumstick

I know  Rumstick is seminal but what do you love about it personally?

Everyone currently making art is referencing this work, even if they never saw it. Even if they don’t know who the Wooster Group is. Which much Silent Barn audience has no idea about them.
It is virtuosic.  It is painful and beautiful.
It shakes loose pointless narcissism and skill-less self fascination.
It reverberates, deeper and deeper over time.

Tell me about your first viewing of Rumstick .. 

It was closing night at Anthology.  All I wanted to do was cry, drink, work harder and smarter, and force everyone I know to see it.
But I couldn’t because it was closing night and the DVD is so costly!
Which is reason number 598 that this opportunity is such a generous gift.
I also saw it on a night with Eliza Bent, hot off tour; Jeff Jones, who saw the original; Morgan von prelle Pecelli, who was my first NY advocate; Sarah Matusek, who is brand new to NY; Mallory Catlett, who had done a show at the Garage; Andrew Dinwiddie, whose show at Bushwick Starr had recently gutted me. Etc etc. I felt overwhelmed entirely that night. I just wanted to make the audience for RR expand exponentially.

Oui, I can understand why… will you be serving anything rum flavored at the screening??

Oh I should….  I shall. Yes.

possible themed snack

possible themed snack

There is a rumor that the Wooster Group may be changing its name to the Sullivan Street Gang .. c’est vrais?

I love RUMors.

Not as much as I love Fleetwood Mac !

this is candy for the ears, mes amis

this is candy for the ears, mes amis


Allora, the screening with be at the Silent Barn. I recall some foam bits when I caught one of your Borroughs screenings .. for those who are unacquainted .. please describe the Silent Barn if you will.

Oh lord. It is a legal DIY venue, residence, multi arts compound- constantly changing, growing, breaking, building, layering. Anything can happen there and many things have. Title:Point does theatre and dance and film and themed parties and salons and installations and marathon novel readings, etc. but it is primarily a music venue.

There is a barber shop, record store, recording studio, media lab, synth building lab, used supply store, galleries and jewelry and pinatas and guitar pedals and food and beer and coffee….  Lots of stuff.  All the time.

What is your secret influence / guilty artistic pleasure?

The films Oscar and Mr. Mom and The Burbs. Professional wrestling. Looney Toons.
Erotica. Seeing action movies in the theatre. Big musicals.

Va  bene .. grazie Theresa!
Hope to see some of you at the screening on Monday evening at the Silent Barn.

a bientot,
kippy

the calicreeps (or, why i will never live in california)

June 19, 2014

mes amis

yesterday i arrived in sunny dan siego (you know the one…).
the weather was perfect, the ocean breeze refreshing, the air restorative.
the hotel where i reside (on behalf of the office-i frequent-monday-through-fridays) even has a pool.
overlooking a bay.
and a hot tub.
i had a mediocre salad but an outstanding fish taco.
in short, life seemed full of possibility.

today the weather is exactly the same.
but somehow it feels oppressive!
a cloudless sky is fascist, as i mentioned in an earlier entry.
the conferenza set up complete my hands were left devilishly idle.

allora, i went on a stroll of solitude.
but where to amble?
the hotel is in a kind of convention center area.
there is a stadium near by and something they call an “embarcadero.” hmph!
the old town, i am told, is a taxi cab away.

and this kippy is on a per diem.
so  i trotted along the bayside walk way and oh the souls i saw!
the calicreeps!

people "exercising"

people doing “activities”

people “exercising” in the late afternoon.
people “hanging out” with their dogs.
couples just “lying down” on the grass.

degoutant!

exercise should either be done in groups or in private.
certainly not in public!
plus, i have seen more than one person wearing exercise gear without actually exercising.
sneakers worn without irony.
i saw a man in his 60s doing push ups on some grass and grew very depressed.
meanwhile, corporate robots zoomed round outside the convention center.
they were on their devices, oblivious to the glittering sea beyond.
one sorry soul seemed a bit off and he carried/cradled a transistor radio looking gadget while walking.

i always have the strong sensation, especially in southern california, that this is a place where people come who have decided to give up.

the sun was so bright that it pained me.

adults on skateboards, frozen yogurt, overly friendly waitstaff: all reasons i will never live in california.

as i strolled and brewed (and brooded!) and stewed i considered the cardinal rule of playwriting.
the importance of constraints.

in california everything is so limitless from the sun to the sky to the overstuffed lounge chairs that i feel there is nothing to work against. and mustn’t life provide some push and pull?? i find the limitlessness both bizarre and beautiful but also deeply unsettling. i would be curious to hear what a southern californian thinks of this but i fear that the pleasantness of my surroundings dictate that a conversation like this might prove to be impossible. and isn’t that strange in the land of possibility!

kippy

 

a new day and hooray (very domestic musings)

June 5, 2014

mes amis

isn’t it nice when the weather surprises us? it started out so rainy this morning that i tucked into my john hughes overcoat and settled for an outfit that would withstand the inclements. (white repettos, skinny jeans, a simple tee from calypso, my lover’s flannel) but lo and behold around 3 p.m. or so I spotted sun and then more sun and then a bit more…!

i opted for a skinny jean instead

my coat is my new uniform

a sky speckled with clouds is unforgivably cheerful. and thank goodness. for a sky without clouds is fascist!

ma che bello

ma che bello

i trotted off to the atm to deposit some measly checks but i love doing that. even when i deposit a check of $22.02 (no really! the audio book realm is not sustainable…) i feel like a wealthy aristocrat. i carelessly tap “deposit without an envelop” and a thrill of financial security wraps around me like a warm cashmere throw on a late winter’s night.

then i went to the duane reade. i needed to get a birthday card and a father’s day card (oui mes amis, this kippy, despite being ageless, does have a dear sweet padre). i was excited to use a coupon i had printed out and very pleased about finding a card fit for a teenage boy (complete w/ a sound effect!) but then at the cashier i realized my coupon was for cvs!

dear me

dear me

usually this mishap would cause me to turn a deep crimson shade, stammer and feel very foolish.

is that dawson?

is that dawson?

i considered taking the cards back to where they were and going to a cvs, my preferred drug store by far, but then i thought about how much time i’d spent inspecting the images and phrases. (some of the father’s day cards brought a small tear to my eye) allora, i decided to live dangerously and bought the two cards .. only to discover that i had a $1 off coupon after the gal rang me up!

“would you like to use it?” she asked

“you bet!” i replied.

life was looking good. i wasn’t ready to head back to the office-i-sometimes-attend. my palate told me it was time for a season’s first: a chipwich. the delightful confection in which vanilla ice cream  resides between two chocolate chip cookies. i also got a banana for health.

heaven

heaven

and off i wandered into a quieter part of the smelly garment district. and the man tried to tell my fortune and i ate the chipwich and  it tasted good! and i walked on that stretch of 37th toward 10th ave that feels like a little bridge and it felt good in the sunshine. and i remembered being a whippersnapper in summer and going to the barn of fun in cape cod and saving up tickets i earned from ski ball for one big prize (that i never did cash in on) but eating things like a chipwhich, or a frosty, or oooh a piece of fried dough! and i felt so glad to be alive. and i looked up at the clouds in the blue sky and i was so overwhelmingly happy to be in new york.

a bientot,
kippy

ps go see jenny schwartz’s 41-derful at clubbed thumb before it closes. it’s a fabulous production. i was in the front row and the actors are out-of-control good. their faces are like water–they can do anything! also go see julia jarcho’s nomads, it is too many things to say in a p.s. but i read about it here!