Saturday, December 23, 2006

Whie Visions Of Cease Fires Dance In Our Heads

Dear Santa,

Hey. What's up? Look, I know it's been, oh, 20+ years since I last wrote you a letter, but I figured it was time for a little catch-up. How've you been?

OK, now that the pleasantries are over, we can get right down to the nitty gritty. Specifically, what I want for Christmas. That is what these letters are for, right?

(By the way, I don't know how you do it. You get all these letters, year after year after year, with nothing but demands. "I want a new toy car!" "I want a new baby doll!" "I want a new roof over our heads!" Blah blah blah. It must drive you nuts.)

Anyway, my demands, er, desires for Christmas 2006. I don't really have concrete items for you to bring me. That stuff will be taken care of by my loving parents, who will probably spend too much money on me while I spend too little on them. No, I want more pressing items from you.

Like peace in the Middle East. That place is so fucked up even I don't understand what's happening there anymore. Surely you're the guy who can make them all just get along. After all, you're Santa. You bring joy to everyone, even guys who want to kill each other for no other reason than they feel they should.

I'd also like this country to not be so divided politically. Look, I'm a Democrat. I wear that badge proudly. But, contrary to popular belief, I don't have a hatred of anyone who's a Republican. I'll listen to their views. I'll weigh their opinions. Oh, sure, more often than not I'll disagree with what they have to say, but I will give them a chance. Hey, I voted for Mitch Daniels two years ago. And while I've come to realize that that was a mistake, at the time I thought he was the guy who best represented me. (A side wish for you, Santa, is to make my man Mitch stop selling off the state of Indiana piece by piece. Seriously, it was bad enough with the roads, but now he wants to sell the lottery. Stop the madness!) I'll give you a clue as to how you can do this: Shut those damn television commentators up. Every one of them needs to see the error of their ways. And while I love me some Daily Show, I'll gladly sacrifice it if it means The O'Reilly Report is off the air.

I would really like everyone to have guaranteed health care. Canada has it, so why can't we?

I would love for there to be good new music again. It's all shit now, Santa. Oh, sure, you can find stuff if you look, but you have to do some serious spelunking in order to find it. Can't you make it like it was in the 60's? Hell, I'd even take 80's radio over what we have now.

Early appreciation of the arts is something everyone needs, Santa. I'm not a big sports guy, but I see their importance. Team-building, athleticism, all that jazz. But can't we take some of sports's popularity and move it to the arts a bit? People literally paint their bodies blue for Colts games. Being an occasional actor, I would love to see some of that enthusiasm spread to the world of theatre and music.

In that vein, I would love for there to be an entire theatrical season on Broadway without one show based on a movie, television program or rock star's catalog. I loved Monty Python's Spamalot as much as the next guy, but this trend has got to stop.

And the Oscars, Santa, could you make them relevant again? They're a joke now and that's sad. Case in point: Gladiator is considered the Best Picture of 2000. That's just wrong. On so many levels, and you know it.

That's all I've got for you this year. It's a hard list and, yeah, I'm a bit late getting it to you. But you're Santa Clause! You have the power to make it all happen! Do that finger by your nose thing or whatever that poem says you do and grant these wishes for me. Hey, look at it this way: It's easy to bring someone a box of Legos, but it's difficult to bring peace to the Middle East. I'm throwing down the gauntlet, Santa. It's up to you whether you intend to pick it up.

Have fun tomorrow night. There's no snow in the forecast, so you shouldn't expect any weather delays.



Tuesday, December 19, 2006

For Sale: Ampitheatre, Large Parking Lot

It was reported today that Deer Creek - or Verizon Wireless Music Center, if you prefer its corporate name - is for sale. Seems that the land Deer Creek is on is worth some valuable coin. There's talk about turning it into an office park. Because that's just what Hamilton County needs: Another office park.

I actually have a suggestion: Why no donate the land to The Belfry Theatre in Noblesville? Oh, sure, it'll be a bit hard to stage the annual Christmas show there, but at least then they wouldn't have to worry about finding a new home for their theatre once the new planned road rips right through their property. Plus it would be cool to do a show there. A summer show.

I'm really not that disappointed with this news. No, my interest in concerts has pretty much declined. Why?

For one, it's hard to find someone to see shows with. I've made scores of new friends doing theatre, but none of them are into music. Well, they're into showtunes, but I doubt, say, David Byrne is going to be performing the Oklahoma score anytime soon, so I'm shit out of luck asking people to see bands with me. And my remaining friends have never been into the independent stuff that I like. There's nothing wrong with that - hell, even I would love to see the Stones before they die - but let's be honest: once you've seen one Billy Joel concert, you've pretty much seen them all. Of course, because I'm so concert-starved, I would see Billy Joel again if he came to town. I'm holding out hope that he'll finally perform "Close To The Borderline".

Another reason: prices. Despite my hatred of their most recent album, I bought tickets to The Who. Face value for these seats were $83. After the Ticketmaster fees, each ticket cost $96. Call me crazy, but I don't understand what the extra $13 is for. It doesn't cost $13 to process a ticket, print it out and send it to me. Hell, I would understand $8 a ticket. That sounds fair. But $13? Where's Eddie Vedder when you need him?

Yet another reason: Bands keep skipping Indianapolis. And it's not just the big-ticket acts that are snubbing us; no, lesser bands are doing the same. Lindsey Buckingham recently toured the Midwest. He went to Cleveland. Louisville. Detroit. Cinci-freaking-nati. But he didn't come here. You know the situation is bad when Lindsey Buckingham stays away.

I have a lot of memories of Deer Creek. Lots of good ones. I won't bore you with them here, but, suffice it to say, I could easily fill a book. Well, a good magazine article, anyway. Or a pamphlet.

I have to be honest, there's a lot I won't miss about Deer Creek. Like the nightmare that is their traffic system. I actually sat in a parked car once longer than it took to watch the concert I had just seen. And I hate the way you have to leave the venue. Note to Deer Creek planners: Trying to cram thousands of people, many of whom are wasted and can barely stand, down a little path just doesn't work. And $7 for a cup of beer? Come on!

Now if they threatened to tear down The Murat, then I would be pissed. That is the best place to see a concert in town. But Deer Creek? It was doomed once the time change happened anyway. Best to let it go quietly into that loud and overpriced night.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Comedy Tonight

It's been awhile. Does anyone even read this thing anymore? I know I do. Well, I kind of have to, since I update the damn thing.

Big News: Show #6 for 2006 is soon to begin rehearsing. I have been cast in Side by Side by Sondheim at Footlite Musicals, a musical review of Sondheim's work up to about 1975. Technically the show is a 2007 production - we open January 19 - but we begin rehearsing next week, so I'm lumping it in with this year's shows. It's been a busy - and very good - theatrical year for me. Oh, sure, at one point I found myself onstage dressed in drag looking like a demented Steak 'N' Shake waitress, but you gotta take your good with your bad.

Side by Side is mainly singing, which is scary. And it's Sondheim singing, which is even scarier. I'm confident I can do it, but damn is it going to be a bitch.

The plan is to take a little break after this one. Six shows in less than a year has been pretty killer and I could use some time to veg. But I'm sure those plans will go out the window once I see what's auditioning as soon as SBS opens. I know another production of Jesus Christ Superstar is being mounted this summer. And I would love to play King Herrod...

I'm currently burning through my vacation and personal hours this month since I can't roll them into 2007. It's nice to have some random time off but it's odd because I have absolutely nothing to do. Today I came home at 2:00 and played around on the Internet. (Go to Youtube and search for "Chad Vader". You won't be dissapointed.) Next Monday is my last vacation day of the year, but the following week I'm using Monday and Tuesday as holiday comp days, since both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve fall on Sundays this year. In other words, December is a month of laziness.

Every year I say I'm going to travel, and every year I don't. Next year I want to change all that. Maybe I'll go somewhere after Side by Side opens. Somewhere warm. Because heading to NYC in late January isn't a good idea.