Posts Tagged ‘Half Straddle’

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.



don’t tip the boat over!

December 18, 2012

mes amis–

in this season of scurrying round and round, tying up those loose ends in the midst of holicraze, i invite you to take a moment to enjoy this classic tune i heard (and jived to!) the autre evening. surely you have three minutes and three seconds to ecouter le hues corporation!

i was visitng a land called mass mocachino where the locals are as rugged as the mountains in the distance. i was in north adams, massachewsetts for a showing of half straddle‘s seagull (thinking of you) …. naturellement. though i no longer coordinate the group’s press junkets, i continue to be an ardent fan.

it was late at night, libations abounded and then somehow the jams on the radio began to blare in epic and marvelous proportions. i hadn’t heard this ditty in many years and it reminded me of an expression in my salad days: “rock the boethius.”

don't rock the boat, but rock the boethius

don’t rock the boat, but rock the boethius

in any case, i look forward to applying the credo of the chanson, and of the saying, to my life in 2013…!

a bientot,kippy

toilets, gulls, and who nose it!

December 7, 2012

my friends–

il y a beaucoup de temps since my last missive. i’ve been trying to post more regularly…. but my weblog ruminations, much like my digestive systems, do not follow a normal clock. rather they are sporadic and fitful indeed! but hopefully, more full of soul also.

well then. while we are on the topics of toilets, (zing!) i feel  i should share with you the following image taken at mass mocachino.

what time is it? it's toilet time!

what time is it? it’s toilet time!

nothing makes my heart sing–and mind speak–as much as when i see this kind of disjointed hilarity. i can only imagine that some of those sea-gals and gulls will be popping into this gender normative rest stop and rustling some security guard feathers while “they” are at it…! i even understand that the actors featured in la foto will be ready for signatures. plump those pens!

bello, no?

bello, no?

a final thought as i write this from my hotel room in hong kong … i wanted to share with you this tid bit about the nose, which knows. (thank you pacific standard for always offering interesting articoli)



i am intrigued by this study.. most of all because i feel as though it was common sense as a kid. did someone at the amos e. lawrence school in brookline, ma suggest this as a study tool and technique?? i would not be surprised… brookliners are always ahead of any curve ball.

real balls have curves

real balls have curves

i recall a high school chemistry teacher saying that one “does not learn through osmosis…” but perhaps with the right scent one can! that teacher made an excellent kahlua cake and inspired even the hopeless (ie moi) with the vim and vigor to study hard. that B+ i earned was one of my prouder grades (even if it didnt have the austere simplicity that A carries)

at any rate, i look forward to bringing scents (and sense!) back into the theatre tradition this spring with un certo spettacolo speciale at the bushwick starr.

until then i remain faithfully and fruitfully yours,

ps … go see tube it’s a hoot and holler and you won’t be sorry. sitko and his band of merry makers create a most enjoyable spectacle with lovely music interludes and some fine stories.

pps “Helium walks into a bar. The bar tender says ‘We don’t serve noble gasses in here.’  Helium doesn’t react.” …  for more: InorganicVentures!

my dear ben brantley, you missed one old chap!

December 4, 2012

Dear Ben,

I much enjoyed your round up and ruminations on the art star of the moment–that old Anton. Your thoroughness and thoughtfulness never cease to thrill this reader, but I must point out one upcoming production that went unmentioned: Half Stradddle‘s Seagull (Thinking of You) at the Coil Festival in January. Half Straddle has been making (new) waves since 2008. They are currently the company in residence at the New Museum. In fact, the group’s artistic director, Tina Satter, did a fine job on that “My Chekhov, Not Yours” panel you so finely noted.

heart breaker

heart breaker

From what I can tell, the group’s production will involve a golden skateboard and a score of Russian infused punk folk songs. The tone irreverent and suddenly heartfelt. And there will be kissing. Lots of it. So while the humor is tongue in cheek, those those smooches may have some tongues in mouths. Heh..!  The mirror this young company will hold up to audiences will surely be as bright and beautiful as any sequin clad Seagull.

a homespun gull

a homespun gull

To quote Anton: “The theatre’s not what it used to be. Once there were mighty oaks–today only stumps remain.” But as Satter’s Half Straddle gaggle of gals and gulls will prove: some of those stumps do really nuanced work…!

I look forward to their production in January and will continue to be your ardent fan.

A bientot,

(don’t) touch my elbow!

July 19, 2012

mes amis–

long ago, in a distant land of youth and jeuness, my gal pals at half straddle and i invented faux (but also perhaps real?) titles for the troupe’s eventual shows. i recall one of those titles was touch my elbow. descriptions and jokes about the show were oft accompanied by a slow and awkward touch of the elbow to any and all listeners brave enough to endure a conversation with yours truly (!)

today i was reminded of that title when a most rudine fellow on the street snarled out “oh, hey, beautiful lady–you are beautiful.”

(i mean really! at my age?! hmph!)

salty peppers have the most fun

naturellement, i ignored these statements and continued chatting with my theatre protege friend. we waited for the light to switch and as it did i felt a gross soft hand reaching out and cupping my elbow!!! i turned and looked and there this specimen leaned against a traffic sign. specimen isn’t even the right word. more like speci-yuck! a pair of vile, wiggling eyebrows met my own indignant ones. i declared, “don’t touch me!” later i reflected, kippy you should have spat in his face. but then that foolish desire to let it go overcame me. meanwhile, i was telling a tale to my theatre friend and couldn’t get narratively blindsided due to some horn dug. disgusting.

sarebbe stato meglio se fosse in italia al meno!

in other news, i recently heard about a woman flipping over when she tried to ride a motorized scooter up an mbta escalator in boston. she was from the south shore: no shock there. zing! j/k…poor lass. i wonder if she had a bad stomach ache or was perhaps heeding the calls of a heightened match of truth or dare. anyhoo, i love me some boston pride.

i love that dirty water

just recently some comments i made about the beantown accent in an upcoming articolo were censored. it was simple stuff. i was merely explaining to non-cognoscenti how the boston curly cue accent falls into two broad–yet distinctive–categories. those from the north shore pronounce the town of Dorchester as “Doah-chest-ah,” where as those from the south  pur, “Daw-chest-ah.” but being censored is childs play for this kippy and i must soldier on!

speaking of soldiers, did you hear about the two fellows who were stopped in seattle with contraband candy, ie kinder eggs? my friends this is not a joke but serious stuff. for kinder eggs are criminally delicious! the part that makes me most confucious is how i can easily buy a kinder egg at any third rate deli in new york city. (then again, the law often has creative applications here in gotham).

as if candy isn’t enough, there’s a toy inside!

as for creative laws. if you have a penchant for love and sweet tooth for sultry dealings: i suggest you read this. spolier alert  and a sample bit of text: “After a while, it dawned on Olympic athlete Lakatos: “I’m running a friggin’ brothel in the Olympic Village! I’ve never witnessed so much debauchery in my entire life.”

hubbah hubbah! i’ll bet those young olympians are good looking bunch. i hope they have the manners to not cup a stranger’s elbow!

a better weapon than erogenous zone

a bientot mes amis,

a good year for gingers (artlog #2)

June 10, 2012

mes amis

i’ve scooted around with the likes of jess barbagallo and chris giarmo, starlets of new york city’s downtown theatre scene, for a number of years now. they are as cute and talented as they are smart-as-whips and funny to boot. naturellement, it’s with great excitement and curiosity that i look forward to their upcoming collaboration in 2012’s ice factory at the ohio theatre.

good year for hunters–and for gingers too, i might add!–plays june 27-30 and owes influence to tori amos’s 1992 album, “little earthquakes.” the show is described as “a queer horror play about a mysteriously orphaned brother and sister who fall in love with a closeted husband and wife in a world of fractured time and secrets.” quel horreur … and queer horror! this sounds like the stuff of memorable theatre making…

les petites earthquakes!

long time pals chris and jess are sure to leave audiences with big ideas to mull over (and carpets to munch on!) as well as belly aches from laughter over clever twists, turns and delightful players who alight the stage. yes, my friends, they have assembled an all star terrific team of collaboratorrés: including mike cacciatore, tina satter and becca blackwell: just look at this punim!

gingers always get the last laugh

i caught up with the dazzling duo over the interwebs recently for a brief q&a and here’s what they (mostly jess, i believe) said.

This is not your first time collaborating … is it? Can you talk about your artistic relationship? You two met in college, n’est pas?
Chris and I met when we were sophomores in college. A for real meeting. I think we got high and I came out to him. Over the course of the next three years, we made a lot of performance art together and did a Charles Busch bit for a scene study class. Highlights include a video piece called Haiku d’Etat and Chris dropping me (naked) repeatedly on a studio floor.

Let’s have a repeat performance of that! J/k. That sounds most painful…! Anyhoo, what proved to be so influential about Tori Amos’s “Little Earth Quakes” … does she bear any relation to Famous Amos of the cookie empire? Will Tori Amos come to see the play?
I wish I knew more about cookies. I like to eat them, especially Mrs. Fieldsat Penn Station. Tori was a big deal for me and Chris because he’s a fag and I had my first formative lesbian experiences listening to that album. I wish she would come. Do you have her e-mail address?

Bien sûr! I will see if Tori is in town and be sure to invite her. Tell fans a bit about the story of the play and the artistic process–Jess did you write this piece and Chris are you doing the music?
Chris and I wrote the first draft of the show together five years ago. Then I was asked to do an artist-in-residence at favorite downtown incubator, Dixon Place.

Suck up!
We spent three months earlier in the year at Dixon Place tackling the old script. After we broke, I re-wrote the second half of the play because I realized that we had done some serious growing up since the last incarnation. Chris has contributed sound ideas, but Mike Cacciatore is actually designing.

That sounds excellent…wish I could have seen the early stages at Dixon. I understand Half Straddle’s Tina Satter is acting in this production … ?! How did this come about?
Elizabeth Dement, an amazing dancer and frequent collaborator of Big Dance Theater, originated the role of Candace in the show. When we first began working on the piece, we had no idea we would be picked up by the Ice Factory Festival and unfortunately, Liz couldn’t continue because she had another summer gig. We auditioned several amazing actresses, but I wanted Tina because she resonates a kind of vulnerability so in keeping with the tone of the larger work.

Aye, that Teeny is a ruby in the rough. So, do you have any secret/guilty pleasure artistic influences?? Dish!
I like Robyn and the film Wave Babes.

I won’t pretend I know what those are…anything I’m leaving out??
Please come to our show!

Wouldn’t miss it for the world!

Good Year for Hunters runs June 27-30 at the new Ohio Theatre at 7pm. Tickets $18 for adults and $12 for students/seniors

Story by Jess Barbagallo & Chris Giarmo
Written by Jess Barbagallo
Additional Writing by Chris Giarmo
Directed by Jess Barbagallo & Chris Giarmo
Sound design by Mike Cacciatore