Cause you’re making me feel like I’ve never been born

I’m going to let you into my head for one scene in Rainmaker, only because I think you might find it entertaining to be there. We’re talking John Byrd’s head and not Starbuck’s head, though. We’re talking about the climax, where Lizzie chooses File.

More so than the other characters, and like John Byrd, Starbuck lives in his stories. And I say that Starbuck has an intuitive, though not literal, understanding that he lives inside a story. Everything’s a story to Starbuck: he sketches them and spins them as spiders do their morning webs, simply as a foregone aspect of the progression of time. Now: Starbuck feels, in his heart, that he’s simply a character in a greater story, though he could never describe it as simply as that. And he knows full well that this is the climax.

The “lonely as dying out there” he describes is the life outside the story. For Starbuck, it’s not riding across the range and looking for new marks to sell his half-baked schemes to. That was never written by the author. In fact, the “out there” is a limbo that characters waver into when the reality of the stage fails them. They fade, like old soldiers or watercolors left in the sun, into Something That Happened once upon a time, as acquaintances whose smiling faces have been superimposed over one another, over years and years of imperfect remembrance.

That is “out there.” It is the lack of story, the end of importance, a place that smells of mothballs and dirt and purgatory. Starbuck could never explain these things in those words, but he knows that smell. It is the opposite of Being.

And that is the way that John Byrd plays the rejection of Lizzie. “Will you come with me?” is not asking, “Will you come into my wagon and ride across the panhandle with me?” Rather, it’s “Will you step outside the black-and-white confines of this story with me to create another story?” Lizzie’s rejection sentences Starbuck to the thing he fears most: eventual irrelevance.

Too collegiate-sounding? Well, in this convoluted curly head of mine, I’m telling you straight up that it’s got about twenty times more raw emotional power for me than the literal, simple interpretation of the scene. With this interpretation, I’m an emotional train wreck by the end of the scene. Starbuck riding off into the sunset just didn’t get John Byrd there. Death of story did.

Process: it’s a funny thing. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Touch me, how can it be, believe me

VCR alert: the season premiere of the Seriously Unusual Television Network will appear on UPN 44 (cable 12 in San Francisco) on Saturday night March 13 at 1:00 a.m. (That’s early Sunday the 14th if you want to get technical.) Two of the three sketches, Fwiffo and Gavin Newsom Press Conference, are written by yours truly. Set your VCR or drink some Starbuck’s and stay up for it. Speaking of Starbuck’s…

Show alert: The Rainmaker opens in two weeks and it’s looking better all the time. I take off my shirt and do three big romantic clinches. That alone is worth the price of admission. It’s at the Hillbarn through February.

Party alert: My band, the Hungry Hungry Hippos, is going to have one final blowout on Saturday March 13 at 8:00 p.m. at the ultra-swank Werepad in San Francisco. If you’re a friend, there’s no cost to get in, and this party WILL rock very, very hard. This is your absolute last chance to see my band, all the members of which have signed a death pact once the show is over. Sign up here to get on the guest list for the party.

Show alert: The SUTN show will be taped live in front of a studio audience in the KPIX studio in downtown San Francisco on Sunday, March 7, at 8:00 p.m. I wrote the sketches, blah blah blah. Tickets are free, but you have to pick them up an hour before the doors open.

Please, please come and hang out with me at one or all of the above events. It’s a very exciting time for me and I want to share these events with all my friends.

Angel of darkness is upon you

Last night at the Office Bar, although the karaoke was loud and fun, there was a muted quality to the party, a sense that we were all out past our bedtimes.

Around one a.m. the wife and I left the bar. Keite was in the parking lot, shuffling nervously in her pink leather tube top. She held a plastic bottle of water out to the guy sprawled on the sidewalk.

“Come on, Joe,” she said. “Drink some water.”

Joe made a sound and turned his head. His face rasped on the sidewalk.

“Your friend?” I asked.

“Not really,” she said. A runnel of something dark — spit? blood? urine? — drifted from Joe into the gutter.

“He’s had booze and something else,” said Keite. “Maybe pot, maybe something else. Joe?”

Joe said, “Yshsgs.”

“Joe, I want you to drink this water.” Keite placed the bottle of water squarely on the sidewalk. Joe made no move for the water.

“The guy I came with,” said Keite to us, “left without me. I invited him here tonight, and I think he got tired of waiting for me. I’ll find a ride home,” she said. And her tired eyes brimmed with tears.

I thought of Gilman Street and gutter punks and three-chord rock and I idly wondered how many times Keite had practiced this scene. Random assholes and the women who take pity on them.

“Let’s give you a ride,” my wife said.

“No,” Keite said. “I’ll find a ride.”

We left without her. There are two kinds of people: people who pass out on the sidewalk, and people who take care of them.

I’m neither kind.

If you wanna be with me, baby there’s a price to pay

“Pro Tan,” I said to my wife, removing the foam sponge brush from the side of the bottle. “Just the thing for Starbuck. It’s what all the bodybuilders use. It contains DHA, which causes your skin to tan by itself, and a rather large quantity of brown food coloring.”

I squirted a sploot of Pro Tan onto the foam brush. It was the color of shoe polish. My skin was still a little red from the visits to the tanning salon. I slathered the brown goop onto my body. Standing in the bathroom, I painted my calves, my shins, my chest with the muddy color. Little dots of brown paint spattered all over the bathroom tile. As I swabbed at the little brown spatters with toilet paper, I realized at that point that I couldn’t color my back. I called to my wife.

“Honey,” I said. “Can you come in here and help Pro Tan me?”

“What?” she said, wandering into the bathroom. Then she gasped, and screamed with laughter. “My God! You’re orange!”

“Half orange,” I corrected.

She painted my back and my neck. “Your ass is really white,” she said.

“What does that have to do with anything?” I said.

“If you turn around for me, I’ll paint your ass,” she said.

“Moof,” I said. Marriage is the most sacred of institutions, in which a man and a woman can paint each other’s asses and call one another orange.

She won’t join your clubs, she won’t dance in your halls

Hi there, John,
Just wanted to say it was nice to chat last night. Oh, and I checked out 
your website and those of your friends. That whole journal entry thing 
is a very cool idea. Kind of wild to have all these thoughts just 
floating about over the waves for anyone to see. And all those links to 
pictures and things. You must be very quick at what you do.

I also wanted to say that you did very nice work at the end of Act 3. 
That bittersweet quality is going to make the moment linger for the 

Here's to our next kiss being easy and tender and soft and authentic.



We open in three weeks. Have you got your tickets yet?

Update: Rehearsal photos.

Feed my eyes, can you sew them shut

Something happened yesterday. I was down at the Cow Palace eating a Big Mac and fries. I had my video camera rolling, and… well… here’s the tape.

I guess I’m not ready to talk about it yet. I can only demonstrate my survivor grief by making small Flash animations about it.

I’m betting pretty heavily that God has a sense of humor with the following scripts: Jesus on the Cross 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Babies and Mommies are pretty Cool Things

I promise not to turn this blog into a day y day drooling about the every moment, second and hour of my newest childs first burp through fivehudredth poopy Diaper (did you know that the first three or four poops are likely to be the most discusting stuff you’ll ever get stuck on everything and anything that comes within a six mile radious of them? They look somethig like Henery’s Wet Patch. Ich!! I’m sitting here next to the wife and the baby. Baby is enjoying the factory that used to be my playground. In general though, there is this biological emination coming from the two of them that pretty much makes everything seem cool.

A freind of mine once said in response to my asking “are you planning on having kids?”


I can respect that. That’s way cool. Although, especially in the case of that respondant, it’s always the smartest and the most well centered that kids miss out on having as parents. But as for me, there’s nowhere I would rather be sitting right now.