Sunday, March 28, 2010

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday...

Last Friday I started recording a new CD called NOVEMBERNINTH with my dear friend, Kyle Puccia, noted singer, artist, producer, teacher...he wears a lot of hats. And he's brilliant. Kyle has a state-of-the-art production studio in his home. We churned out the first song on the CD, an old standard called "It Never Entered My Mind." Now, I'm not really a singer. Yes, I can carry a tune, certainly, and I've done about forty or so musicals on the professional stage, but really, in all honesty I'm not a singer. Not like Kyle is or, say, Jimmy Barbour, or any number of friends that are real singers.

The genesis of the idea was to record a few songs for an upcoming anniversary with Angie. Just a casual thing, nothing to get too excited about. But the moment Kyle and I started working it became something cooler. Why don't we just do a whole CD, Kyle suggested. So we are. It's called NOVEMBERNINTH. That's the day I showed up in L.A., knowing only a handful of people with just a trunk full of plays to my name.

I'm very excited about this project, this little CD we're recording with nothing but a piano and a cello. Mostly because I've never done anything like this before. Can't wait to start on the second song. "Angel Eyes."

Initial read-thru today of Bachelor's Graveyard, the third of a Missouri Trilogy, of sorts. Just a stage reading is planned. Kind of get an idea of the piece in front of an audience. See whether or not it might have a production somewhere down the line.

Praying Small is finally cast. A few odd choices, but I'm pleased. I've always maintained that odd is good. I'd rather see odd any day of the week over boring. However it turns out, I suspect Praying Small will be anything but boring. That's the one and only unforgivable sin in the theatre - boring.

From the East to the West, part two of my Missouri Trilogy, is still in the hands of several theaters. I haven't officially given the play to anyone yet, although it appears a fine company here in L.A. called Open Fist will get the World Premier, under the capable hands of Bjorn Johnson, a very good actor/director here in the L.A. area. Although again, nothing is in stone yet.

I'm a happy guy. I don't think I could've written a scenario more satisfying than the one I'm living. Jimmy Barbour told me almost immediately after I got here, "Listen, L.A. theatre, for the most part, sucks. You have no idea how many people are going to be scrambling for your writing." Turns out he was right, as he often is. Jimmy is a very savvy guy when it comes to the "business" of show business.

Angie and I attended an "old home week" get-together yesterday. A bunch of people we went to school with back in the dark ages. Saw and met some people I really missed. And some I didn't. I'm still amazed at how a simple "How have you been" can turn into a list of credits. When I say, "How have you been" I really want to know. I don't want to know, "What's the last thing you did on your resume?" Ah, well. Anyway, it was really enjoyable. And although I'm not very good anymore at small talk and glad-handing, I had a good time.

Picked up a new puppy yesterday, too. Drove all the way to Bakersfield, California, which is just east of Armpit, California, I think. The new puppy is named Franny, short for Francis Albert Sinatra, his full name. And of course we already have a dog named Zooey, so now we have Franny and Zooey. And yes, it's a tip of the hat to JD Salinger, just like you might think. It is my favorite book.

Franny and Zooey are not yet comfortable with each other, but Angie and I predicted that, so we're dealing with it. Zooey has been an only dog for a long time and she's not adjusting well yet. But it'll be okay in the end, I have no doubt.

Today, before the read-thru, all sorts of mundane, domestic, chore-like events are planned: shopping for groceries, laundry, cleaning house. I'm delighted to do all of it. Life, sometimes, is just so sweet and natural. I spent a long, long time living a life that was not at all sweet. But now it is. So why dwell.

John Lennon famously wrote, "Life is what your do while you're busy making other plans." And today, and probably tomorrow, my other plans are beautiful and fulfilling. I am well pleased.

See you tomorrow.