I want the world to know, I got to let it show

Sunday evening, my place. The living room table is covered with food: salmon, wild rice, candy fruit slices, pecan log, Key lime coconut chocolates. We’ve just spent four hours, rocking loud in my basement studio. I feel tired, warm and friendly.

Guys,” I say. “We’ve been the Hippos for years, and you know I tell you everything about my life.”

Eric fuddles around with a G chord on the acoustic guitar. Chris eats a piece of pecan log. Kerwin wanders to the fridge, grabs another soda and says, “Yeah.”

“So you guys are normal, heterosexual musicians, right?” I say.

“I don’t like the way this revelation is starting,” says Eric.

“I’ve made a change in my life, and I want to let you guys know about it, so you can understand and accept me,” I say. Chris swallows a pecan and looks serious. Kerwin punches open the soda and sits.

I take a breath and say, “I’ve started using moisturizer.”

A beat and Kerwin says, “What?”

“Moisturizer,” I say. “Neutrogena Triple Protect Face Lotion. It has sunblock in it. I put some on my face. In the morning. Typically, after I shave. It prevents wrinkles and makes my face look better. Yes,” I say. “That’s it. I’m using… Moisturizer.”

Eric sniffs. Kerwin begins coughing. “Cough cough cough cough! Cough cough metrosexual cough cough…

I say, “And I really hope you guys can understand, and accept me as I am. I’m not asking you guys to use moisturizer as well. Just understand… That now, I do.”

Chris puts down the Key lime chocolate and says, “Actually, I have something to say as well.”

Eric continues holding down a G chord, the guitar silent. “Oh dear God.”

Chris looks away, his eyes on the table. “I should tell you all… My hair…”

I say, “Yes?”

Chris says, “I had my hair… Highlighted. I mean, I had highlights added. Just a little lightening, here and there. But they’re there. Highlights.”

Kerwin noses into his can of soda. Eric says, “I don’t think I’ve ever been this terrified before.”

Maybe I’ll love you one day, maybe we’ll someday grow

When you looked directly at me, and said “You don’t know me,” with the crack about my Harvard analysis, I thought of all the evenings that I’ve spent listening to your stories and problems and your secrets and your life.

As your friend, I wanted nothing from you except to understand you and make you happier, and in exchange you gave me, literally, the worst insult I’ve ever received.

You have a tendency to become suddenly and randomly mean and scornful to me. I find this inexplicable, because I feel that I have never treated you with anything but love and respect.

I?m less angry now, but I am still afraid of you.

I can probably have a reasonable conversation with you now without being mean back at you. But be aware that I have changed the access code to my heart.

Whatever happened to my Transylvanian Twist?

From: J&C Myers

Cc: Charles McKeithan

It was great meeting you at last Saturday’s ball, John, and fun dancing with you (You’re much too modest about your dance skills!). Yes, Charles is right: PEERS does need another leading man (we have some great character actors and some cute juveniles but it will be some years before they’re romantic lead materials!). If you’d like to come and play with us when your schedule permits, we’d be overjoyed!

So on to the next event we’re trying to seduce you into doing:

Those are great photos, by the way! If you can do Dracula, you can certainly do perfect justice to the character of Lestat – assuming you’re available and still interested and want to do the gig. Here’s a link to the ball’s official page. The date is Saturday, February 5, and, though the acting is mostly improvisational, we’d like to get in one evening rehearsal-cum-dinner before the ball.

Lestat de Lioncourt is a complex character. Only one side of him is shown in the film version of “Interview with a Vampire” and Tom Cruise did just fine with the one dimenstion the screenplay let him have. In the later Anne Rice novels, Lestat emerges as a much more three-dimensional character. Unlike Dracula, he prides himself on hunting the evil doer. In tallying up his virtues, however, Lestat does not, however, always take into account the number of hearts he’s broken and the number of lives he’s ruined. He’s – even for a vampire – egotistical and narcissistic, fully aware of his own beauty, talent and charm. (I know that’s a stretch for Charles but he’s a trooper).

Please do let me know whether you’d like to do the role. We will schedule the character rehearsal around your schedule and will find a Peninsula or Southbay location for it since all but one of the actors playing principal characters at the ball live either on the Peninsula or in the South Bay – a real first for us! Most of the rest of the PEERS gang is from the East Bay.

The challenge of playing Lestat would be that you’d be working not just with seasoned professionals like Arthur Pruyn and Beth George but also with two inexperienced young actors playing Lestat’s “family” – the handsome but guilt-stricken Louis and Claudia, the exquisite child vampire. Tui (our Claudia) is the most beautiful child actress I’ve ever seen and a trained dancer as well. She’s played Little Nell at Dickens Fair for two years now and takes direction very well and her British upbringing really shows. She is, however, a little intimidated about being the ball’s co-hostess and would definitely need some attention and encouragement from you (Beth and Arthur will help, of course). Jeff Jenkins (Louis) has had a lot of stage experience but not much with improv (he looks good, which helps), so he’d also need some gentle guidance from Lestat.

Now that’s the ball itself. Within the ball we have a one act play from the Theater of the Vampires, which will be performed at half-time. The conceit (in the Anne Rice novels) is that the actors in Le Theatre des Vampires are vampires pretending to be humans pretending to be vampires (“How avant guarde!” is Claudia’s comment in the film). Anyway, I THINK we have Charles’ character in the play re-cast (he was originally set to play both Lestat the host and the hero of the play), but if that falls through, is that something you’d be interested in? It’s a 25 minute piece and, of course, that’s a lot to master in less than a month, and we’d be having at least two rehearsals – plus a pre-ball rehearsal on the evening of the ball.

But do let me know if you’re interested. It’s a fun Victorian melodrama based on a trifling but fun vampire story by novelist Marie Elizabeth Braddon, a friend of Charles Dickens.

I know, of course, that you’re busy with a new production and Charles also mentioned that you have another writing project, but if you find you can’t manage to fit our February 5 event into your schedule, we do have lots of other events in the works. Check our 2005 schedule and see if anything interests you. If you’re free, for example, March 5 (also a Saturday) – our Romeo & Juliet Ball – is also a role-playing intensive ball. We’re simply spending the entire evening portraying the characters (and extras) at Lord Capulet’s Ball and will, of course, do some Shakespearean scenes at intermission along with our improv work. Charles is Mercutio. We really need a strong Tybalt as a foil. Interested?

Our biggest pure theatrical project of the year is our November 5 (also a Saturday) Le Bal des Vampires, at which Le Theatre des Vampires always performs at half-time. It’s usually a fully costumed one act play and, thanks very much to Charles and our ensemble, the acting’s pretty impressive. Anyway, if something like this interests you, please let me know. Of course, you’d probably have to commit before seeing the script but that’s the life of our non-profit, volunteer organization! But I’m usually pretty good at meeting script deadlines.

Anyway, please check your schedule and let me know what your availability is for the above-mentioned events.

Fondest regards,


I got a kid in New York, I got a kid in the bay

Alex walked out of the Noh Space and into the chill South of Market air. She emitted that burning aura that actors radiate after they’ve just given their strongest performance — she practically gleamed. Alex said, “It’s not that I don’t want you to come, but I’m afraid that you shouldn’t come.”

“Why not?” I asked. A happy couple of theatergoers beamed at Alex, and she waved at them.

“Well,” she said thoughtfully. “It’s called the Lexington. It’s in the Mission. It’s just a dive bar, with cheap beer.”

“Great job,” someone shouted. Alex waved again and grinned.

“It may not be for you,” said Alex. “It’s kind of… A women-only bar. Lesbians. Well, I suppose you can come, but you’ll be the only straight man there.”

“I’ll be there in ten minutes,” I said. “It’ll rock.”


The Lexington, nine minutes and fifty-nine seconds later. A girl with a pierced nose and a ripped black T fingers a pool cue thoughtfully outside the bar. The woman working the bar is black and round and tough. Her hair is close cropped, and her eyes are the color of chestnuts. She weighs almost as much as I do. She slams down a glass of pineapple-orange juice on the bar. I raise it over my head to protect it from the pool cues and the swing-dancing goth chicks, and I walk over to the table of actresses.

Lee is big, as in six feet, with a smile widened by a couple of glasses of something red. She’s the artistic director of something. Ann, this side of forty, in a denim skirt with curly blonde hair, sits immediately to her left. Directly in front of me is Patrice — mixed-race, perhaps black and Asian. She fondles what looks like a piece of alabaster. Alex and Stacey are at the other end of the table, along with a few other women I don’t know.

The conversation is fast and not very coherent. The din and the threads of multiple sentences and topics all simultaneously dogpile on top of one another.

Lee raises her powerful hand into the air and screams, grinning. “It is! It is an experience you will never forget! You’re coming! I’m going next weekend, and you’re definitely coming! To go through it, and come out the other side… It is the most powerful thing that can happen to you, ever!”

Patrice shows the rock to me. “You feel that, honey? Coming off that rock, it’s like heat? That’s power, darling. It’s the healing power, tell me that you don’t feel it.”

Ann sidles up to Lee and whispers something gently in her ear.

Lee shouts, “Caving! That’s what I’m talking about, caving! We’re going next weekend… I found this wonderful place near Sacramento! It is the darkest, tiniest, most twisted and closed collection of rock anywhere! And look at me — look how big I am — Can you imagine that I could fit through a solid-rock hole only this big?” Lee shapes her hands into a basketball.

Patrice puts the rock into my hand. “That rock right there is from the pyramids at Giza. Got the healing power of the pharaohs. You can feel it. It’s given me nothing but luck. Nothing but luck. I use it to warm these hands, just before I work on Alex.”

Ann says, “Oh, Lee and I are not going out right now. I just made out with her once. I didn’t actually get my rocks off, though.” Ann laughs.

Lee screams, “I’ve only done it once — but it changed my life! I was in this tube, only this big — complete darkness and rocks pressing on my body from all sides — and then, I focused myself and shot through the hole, like a bullet! You have to overcome all the challenges of yourself — physical, emotional, mental — in order to survive!”

Patrice says, “Alex and I trade massage therapy. She’s worked on me for seven years, honey. And she’s got a good and honest energy. A powerful earth-based energy.” Alex hears her name, and looks toward the conversation. Patrice throws her hands up and hoots at Alex. “I’m talking about your energy! That’s what I’m talking about, girlfriend!”

I said, “Don’t you need some kind of training? Some kind of safety gear to go caving?”

Lee pounds on the table. “And when you pop out the other side and come back into the light — You want to fall on the ground and roll in the mud, it feels so good to be free, back into life, back into the light! You are alive! You survived the earth! And the rocks! You can survive!” She reaches for my hand and howls. “YOU MUST COME CAVING! TELL ME YOU’RE GOING CAVING!”


I walked Alex to her car. “Did they treat you kindly? How was it?” she said.

“It rocked,” I said.