Thursday, September 27, 2007

Vivid Annihilation Dream

It’s 5:36 a.m. and I just had the most vivid dream about annihilation. It began with me, some girl and a guy. I don’t know them but we meander into a carnival that’s about to close. We get on a ride where you step into “cars” like on a Ferris wheel and we start going around. Then it turns into a bar, a kind of old, 70’s-style lounge. The ride becomes more like a Tilt O’ Whirl but with brown leather booths and we’re spinning in an oblong, moving like a conveyer belt.

In any case, the ride ends and people start leaving the bar. But not everyone in my party does. They start a poker game in the restaurant part of the lounge, even though the place has closed. Then other people I know start coming in to join in the gambling. The room starts to get smoky from cigarettes. Elaine from the Joel Hall Dancers is one of the people who arrive and she’s got a new boyfriend. They get in through the front glass-and-metal door, which was supposed to be locked but a faulty mechanism lets everyone in. The room starts to fill with people playing poker.

Then the scene changes.

All of a sudden it's an overcast day and I’m driving down a street with two dogs. One’s a larger mutt wrapped in dry cleaner’s plastic with its muzzle poking out and he’s panting. The other is a small, chubby dog with pointy ears and snout. I pick him up with one hand and put him on the floor on the front passenger side where the other dog is on the seat. I’ve driving through a Japanese part of town. There’s a third animal in the car. It’s also small, but alive and I remember feeling like I had to watch all three.

I’m driving and all of a sudden a one-man jet screams above me going in the direction I’m driving. It drops two successive missiles—long, white ones with fins in the front—and causes two huge explosions with the buildings instantly becoming skeletons, shells of construction and rubble. The sound was so loud you couldn’t hear it, like a bomb going off in a distant part of your mind.

I grab the mutt and clutching it, I run back down the street where I came from. I hear another jet fly past and while I don’t see it because I’m running, I hear two more explosions and I feel the heat behind me as I fall to the ground. I’ve still got the dog and I’m worried about the two others back in the car.

Things seem to quiet down, but then other small, light planes come swooping in. They’re spraying some kind of foam under the storefront roofs, just maneuvering in and out with the agility of those small remote-controlled gliders. Then there are people on the street in light-blue uniforms, kind of Mao-esque, all men with mixed-race faces; and they’re pushing ice-cream carts through the streets. I’m not sure exactly what they’re doing. I ask one of them, “Who, who are you?”

He is hesitant to stop and answer. But he says something like, “You will know what it’s like.”

There’s a lull in the chaos and shop keepers are selling what they have. I decide that if I don't eat now, I may not get the chance later. So I go up to a sushi place where they’re selling sliced meats and fish. It’s $10 for a slice of what looks like white fish, but I pay it. In doing so, I accidentally drop my wallet and scuffle briefly with some other Asian dude who tried to grab at it. I get back to the fish on my plate, but as I bring it up to my lips, it changes to a tray of peeled grapefruit.

I still have the dog with me when suddenly, I hear a roar coming from down the street. It’s this all-consuming fire, like those wildfires you see out West. It’s raging down the street, licking the asphalt, covering the storefronts, the buildings … I’m in a construction area with scaffolding and wooden barriers. I pull myself up into the space between a storefront awning and the wooden wall and I’m watching the flames as they swiftly rush toward me. It’s clear to me what kind of death I’ll soon have and those words from the uniformed man link to the kind of torture that Hiroshima victims felt.

In my panic I realize this is a dream and the way to get out is through a hole in my psyche. I scream myself awake and when I spring upright, I think to myself, “Wow, that was some vivid dream … I’d better write it down.”

So I tried to remember every detail so anyone who analyzes dreams can give me a quick, psychological check-up. Certain analysis: What a freak.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Drop-kick Me Jesus!

I'm salivating over my role in Nunsense Amen! that some pals of mine and I are doing (previews in December) for a roving year-long run (2008 is the 25th anniversary season for the original musical and we're mounting the all-male version).

Here's some of the lyrics to the song that my nun (Sister Mary Amnesia) gets to sing:

I'd like to be a country singer
Like Loretta Lynn.
With a deluxe winnebago
That I could travel in.

I'd have wigs like Dolly Parton.
I might even pierce my ears.
I'd have rhinestone studded cowboy boots
And a sequined gown from Sears.

I'd sing songs of inspiration.
I'd sing songs in time of strife.
Songs like "Drop-kick me, Jesus,
Through the goal post of life!"

Whee! Fun, fun, fun ...

My Friend Randy is Coming to Town

No, he's not Santa; he's my best college friend Randy. He's coming through Chicago this weekend on a series of meetings he has here in the U.S. (He's based in London now). Anyway, I'm sure we'll have antics to talk about after this weekend ...

More to come ...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Planning Our New Year's 'Naked Waiter' Party

I found recent communication I had with our New Year's Eve caterer quite interesting. It's the first time Bob and I are having a chef come in and plan something special for us--especially since Bob and I came up with a fantastic theme this year: Naked waiter.

Here's the communication he e-mailed Bob (which Bob had me fill out). So essentially, our caterer, Brian, is asking questions that I responded to earlier today:

Brian: I'm sure that I can accommodate 40 guests with appetizers. The price per appetizer ranges between 3$ for simple foods to $8 for the more elaborate stuff (flavor pairings , textured, fine) to 12$ for the blow-your-mind, mouth-frenzying, good s**it. It will be difficult for me to find a server for this event, but come to think of it , I believe [my co-worker] Kirsten told me that you have taken care of this with a naked person. Sounds like quite a party. I suppose it would be appropriate for me to consider foods that are phallic and sexy, sensuous, yet with a kick. I have platters and serving dishes for rent that you can use to accent your food. Are you thinking props?

Angel: Re: Themed platters and props--I think we’ll start with the food decisions and if accessories come to mind, please suggest some with the related price tag. We can decide once we look at the overall budget.

Brian: How early would you want me to drop off the food? If you choose foods that are elaborate and heated, I will have to be there to set them up, and I'm afraid that I won't be able to stay past 9:30pm.

Angel: The party will start at 8 p.m. but we won’t expect a ton of folks until about 10 p.m. You can think about setting up around 7:30 p.m. Maybe you can show us how to heat things up and we can do some of that around 9 p.m. We are planning on hiring a “naked waiter,” but we’re not exactly sure what he’ll be doing all night—we have to negotiate with him.

Brian: Now, if I could just get you to take a little test? Think 6th grade art class: Please take three minutes to think about the parties past and all of the things that made them great ...

Angel: In the past, we’ve had some participatory games and contests—something that people really got into. Once we had a “pin the penis on the naked man game” that went over really well. Another year we got Play Dough that you can bake into a final piece and that went over well. We’ve done musical "Twister." I think it was all about participatory games and conversation starters—unusual and interesting drinks (Hurricanes, chocolate martinis) or party themes (hooker themes or jungle themes). We usually attract an eclectic crowd of artists, dancers and left-of-center types.

Brian: E-mail me a short sentence about something someone did with food at a party (the funnier the better). Next, please write out in a few words the level of elegance or ribald wit or crassness or tasteful lewdness or what-have-you that is a common characteristic of the celebrants and mood of your soiree .

Angel: I think we’ve always had a level of sophistication with the room and the food/drink areas, even though we’ve had bawdy themes. The presentation of the food and drinks has always been on the tasteful side, even though the games might get very suggestive (we wrote sexy things on “Jenga” blocks and when someone picked a block, they’d have to do that sexy thing—feign an orgasm, for instance.) Food with sexy but sophisticated sounding names is a funny thought to me—a mushroom bush or a crab areola.

Brian: Finally, write down five of your favorite foods

Angel: Definitely chicken, meatballs & bacon (how’s that for a pairing—or dates wrapped in bacon; we had that at our favorite wine bar …), spinach dip with veggies, mushrooms done any style and crab/seafood.

Well, I don't know if you found it amusing or informative. I thought it was definitely different.

Habit Forming

My pals and I had our first Nunsense, Amen! meeting. We spent Friday night looking over the video of a version that John B. directed on the East Coast. I'm all a-joy that there's a killer song in the play for me! Overall, there's definitely some great solos, duets and group numbers. Something for all the cast members--and room for improv too, so we'll have to put on our funny caps to keep things at knee-slapping levels.

Rehearsals may start as early as a week from now! How time flies ...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Asians and Friends Turns 23

The Asians and Friends Chicago group that I belong to held its Anniversary Party yesterday and I took a few pics. It was a great turnout and though we opted to have it indoors instead of in the garden (though the weather was clear, we felt it might be chilly as the shade moved in), we could still see the beach from the indoor party room. It really was fab. And so much food!

We recruited a whole new Board of Directors and I'm really excited about the coming year. I think the guys are going to have some great ideas and a ton of new energy. Here's to the new year 2007-2008!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Color Purple

Bob and I went to see Oprah's The Color Purple musical downtown. It's been around for a while, in fact, when my Mom was in town last June, she and my aunt saw it. I have raves. It was really musically fabulous with its gospel style mixed with traditional Broadway. All the performers had wonderful voices--we even saw an understudy perform the role of "Nettie" who I did a show with back in the 1990's. Her name was Latonya Holmes and she backed up a former "American Idol" contestant, Latoya London, who did not perform last night.

In any case, the evening got off to a wonderful start with our Wisconsin cat-breeder friend Linda coming to join us for drinks and dinner. We sat at the river's edge at a bar-restaurant called Flatwater. Then the three of us met my soon-to-be Nunsense castmates John and John for dinner at Vong's Thai Room. John and John bought tickets for last night too. The meal--from the appetizers to the peanut chicken and juicy beef to the lava chocolate and fruit souffle--was amazing.

Then onto a wonderful show! Linda left us for her 3-hour drive back to Milwaukee and two of the Johns' friends joined us at the theater. Everything was so terrific. Just the right note to crack in the fall. I love Chicago!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Overcoming A Nunsense Hurdle

One of our biggest hurdles to doing the all-male version of the hit musical Nunsense (Nunsense, Amen!) was our pal Robert being on the fence. Well, yesterday he decided to throw his chips in with his buddies and said he would do it!

That's great news because now we just have to get through the logistics of the production. But John B. has already secured the rights, which is a big step. We just have to make commitments to a venue and do a little investing in things like costumes and musicians. No one's really worried about these tiny obstacles.

So for your calendars, mark down December 14 and 15. Those are our tentative dates for a preview performance. We want to give you a taste so you can get in the habit! Heaven help us!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hosting the Villenas

My cousing V.J. and his wife Jenny came to visit Chicago over the Labor Day week and Bob and I got to host them. We definitely did the town up right. Everything from a day at Navy Pier (pictured here) to a night of Cubs baseball and gay karaoke! The first night we did our favorite wine bar, Greek Town and the top of the Hancock tower. During the week, we had fabu dinners at places like Joy Yee Noodles, Giordano's pizza (V.J.'s first Chicago-style stuffed pizza) and a cool South American place called Carnivale (which was huge, colorful and artsy--the shark we had was great!). Good times had by all.