Thursday, August 02, 2007

Fringe Central and Venue #1 - The SoHo Playhouse

Fringe Central is in a vacant space at the corner of Carmine and Varrick (7th Ave). I walked in and there was activity. People were buying tickets. I put what postcards I had in the postcard wall.

Up the street, I had my first slice of pizza from Bleecker Street Pizza. It was good and solid with a crispy crust. To me, the crust makes the pizza.
SoHo PlayhouseI checked out my venue for the first time. It's at the SoHo Playhosue which is at 15 Vandam St right off of 6th St. It says Huron Club outside. I get into the venue on Friday.

On the Street Where You Live

Here's a curious building on the street where I'm staying. It says "Free Public Baths of the City of New York". It's on 11th St near Ave B in the East Village. There's a plaque that says it was used in the filming of "Ragtime", the 1980 Milos Forman film. It looks like it's now an office building as there are ominuous don't block the drive way or you will be towed signs in front.

New York Fringe Festival Diary - Day 1

So arrived at 6:30am at JFK, got on AirTrain at 7:05am. After fiddling with the machines and getting a $5 AirTrain ticket and a $7 LIRR ticket, I barely made it onto the 7:28am Jamaica to Penn Station train. Miraculously, I was at Penn Station in under 20 minutes or so. After lugging my two 50lb bags up the steps and onto the streets, I hailed a cab and $15 bucks later I was on 11th St at A at my sublet where . . . . .

. . . . the housekeeper was not there to get me into the sublet. Phone call. No answer. Left message. Phone call. Left page back number. It's 9:00am and the sun is beating down on me. My cell phone is almost out. Before I left LA, I bought a NFT for New York guide and on the next street was Ciao on 12th where I sat down, bought an orange juice and couple of waters, charged my cell phone, and booted up the laptop. I e-mailed the owner and tried to call the housekeeper again.

The landlord called me back and we tried to figure out how to get me the keys. I got back to the apartment where we found someone who buzzed me in and I dumped my bags at the apartment door and headed back out again.

Got to the 14th & 1st subway station, bought a monthly pass, went back up and took the 14 bus crosstown to check out the Fringe venue when the housekeeper called me. There was an emergency and she was in Jersey. About an hour and a half later, I finally made it inside. It was noon.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Start Spreading the News . . .

So it looks like "Paper Son" will have at least on more hurrah this summer at the NY Fringe Festival. The application and certified check are in the mail. Compared with other fringes, the NY is a juried festival and due to the structure, you are guaranteeed NOT to cover your costs. But the theatre press should cover and shows do come out of the NY Fringe and make it to Broadway and OB. more later.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Stephen Colbert is the Greatest Living American

Stephen Colbert is the Greatest Living American. There I said it.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Dead Comedians

Larry "Bubbles" Brown called me a few minutes ago letting me know that the comedy grapevine had put out the word that Richard Jeni committed suicide earlier in the day. I never knew Jeni but he was at one time one of the hottest comics working. He apparently was suffering through some health problems which is probably why he took his own life. We'll find out soon enough.

It got me to thinking about comedians that have passed away since I've been doing comedy, some I knew, some I knew of. Warren Thomas was a brilliant, brilliant comic and I'm glad to have called him a friend. His tragic death, found in a seedy New York hotel and his body not claimed for many weeks, will never be explained. I still have full performance tapes from Warren at the Punchline.

I knew Mitch Hedberg and was friendly with him and his OD was also a sad end. Warren Spottswood and Mike "Boats" Johnson have passed away in the last couple of years and I saw them in the SF comedy clubs but never had the chance to know them too well.

I had met Bill Hicks but wasn't on a personal basis with him. He was the Lenny Bruce of my generation. Hicks was simply the best comic I've ever seen in person. Sam Kinison followed me on stage at the Comic Strip in New York one night.

There are other sad passings, those that had troubled lives or failed expectations. Dan Bradley was a guy who had done "Evening at the Improv" a ton of times but ended up hanging himself in Houston, Texas after his career wained. Ken Tsumori who had a chance but got fucked up by his overbearing father and fell into mental illness died in a tragic fire a few years back. Drake Sather who had worked his way up the entertainment ladder shot himself over marital problems.

Comedians die all the time on stage. They die only once off stage.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Bill Frist, Sir, You Have Lost My Vote

I am a registered Republican. I consider myself a moderate, kind of like Schwarzenegger. I have many Libertarian views and would consider myself a social liberal and fiscal conservative.

Tonight, Bill Frist was able to attach to the Port Security bill the online gambling prohibition bill. I play online poker. I've gotten pretty decent at it. It is what I do for relaxation. Frist is running for President. He will never get my vote and I will actively support anyone who runs against him. The sad thing is that he never stood a chance of getting the Republican nomination.

Why is this important? It's just another example of the hypocrisy of morality. We have Vegas, Indian casinos, state lotteries, horse racing, and dog racing. We tax those and tax those again. The same should be done for online casinos and online poker. In fact, the industry would welcome that.

But moral conservatives will have you believe that online gambling is wrong and must be stopped. They are shocked, shocked that gambling is going on. It distracts them from their Church bingo night.

Without any committee discussion or debate on the floor, I can no longer get sucked out on the river by a three outer. Fuck you, Bill Frist.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Trying to Get into the WSOP

So the WSOP starts in less than a month. I finally made Silver Star on PokerStars and if I can't win a seat into the Main Event, I'm hoping to build my W$ bankroll enough that I can directly buy into some of the smaller events.

I'm playing some freerolls and such but the real reason I'm going to try and blog more regularly is the PokerStars freeroll for bloggers that is coming up.

I joined PokerXFactor a couple of months ago and made the final two tables in their subscriber tournament. My MTT play I think is decent although I probably don't take as many chances as I should. I may be too tight but I am aggressive after the flop. Let's see if I can start blogging more regularly.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Manzanar & Mammoth

(Ansel Adams photo of the Manzanaar Monument)

So we had a great weekend skiing in Mammoth. Conditions were great, a little cold and breezy, but the snow was fantastic. Going up the weekend after MLK Holiday meant that the town wasn't sold out and only a few times was there a lift line of any consequence.

Manzanar, the Japanese internment camp, is on US 395 on the way to Mammoth between Lone Pine and Independence. When I first visited there in 2002, it was just a barren National Historical Landmark. There were no NPS buildings and the tour through the camp was a dirt road with markers pointing out the various points of interest. There is a small monument that is erected at the back of the site and a few small graves are there.

Manzanar is the only internment camp that has been developed for visitors and it's quite amazing that it has only been in recent years that facilites have been built there. For the thousands of self absorbed Southern Californians who whiz by there every year on their way up and down the Owens Valley, it should be a required stopover to educate one's self about this fascinating and important part of American history.

Last year, I stopped by to visit the new visitor's center which does a tremendous job of summarizing the Japanese American experience. This year, they've constructed a "guard tower" just off of 395 which looks rather ominous to those driving by. My comic friend Kevin Kataoka had relatives interred there, I believe, and does some of very funny bits about it - he also wrote a satire "Shogun's Heroes" that unfortunately I didn't get a chance to see. Poker Girl (AKA Lary Kennedy) has a friend whose father was interred at Heart Mountain in Wyoming which I believe is somewhere near Brokeback Mountain. George Takei was interred in Arkansas - now that he's come out, maybe they sent him to the wrong place. And comedian Jack Soo was interred at Camp Topaz in Utah.

I am very interested in the Japanese internment because it is in complete contrast to the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the change in attitude towards Chinese America. I picked up a book at Manzanaar that was probably someone's dissertation about the Chinese & Japanese in America and I hope to plow through it sometime soon.

Manzanar is both beautiful and tragic. The majestic Sierras rise above this encampment. LA used to own the site (for its water rights of course - see "Chinatown" with Jack Nicholson for the best explanation of how Los Angeles "acquired" all the water it needs). And for some, it's that damn part of 395 where you can't pass someone.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

One Day in September

After watching "Munich", I rented "One Day in September" through Netflix. It is an Academy Award winning documentary about the 72 Olympic massacre. I think it's a more gripping film than Munich because it contains an interview with the sole living member of the Palestinian terrorist group that took the Israeli atheletes hostage and later killed them. It is also quite amazing at how inept the German authorities were and how they blew any change at rescuing the hostages. If you liked "Munich", then definitely rent "One Day in September" to see the real story of this crisis.

The New World

Terrence Malik has made four films. I have seen three of them; Badlands, his first, I have yet to see. I remember seeing Days of Heaven when it first came out many, many years ago. It was a beautiful, haunting picture and I even liked Richard Gere in it. Linda Manz was the little girl in it and she narrated it.

Terrence Malik, I believe, grew up near Bartlesville, OK so I was always interested in what he did (I grew up in Oklahoma City, myself). Bartlesville was the headquarters of Phillips 66 for many years and was a company town. After Phillips 66 merged and merged again, now with Conoco, I believe the headquarters moved away from their and ever since the town is but a shell of its former self.

When "The Thin Red Line" came out, it was another haunting picture about the battle of Guadacanal. His storytelling was visual and lyrical and the film was narrated by several different characters. He combined the horrors of was with the beauty of nature. It is certainly one of the most different war pictures you'll ever see.

I had a chance to see "The New World" and it is very similar to "Days of Heaven" and "The Thin Red Line". "The New World" is a visual picture. The narration is told by Colin Farrell, Christian Bale, and an interesting young girl, Q'Orianka Kilcher who plays Pocahantas. It is about love, the loss of love, and settling for what you can't have. The narration is in hush tones, almost whispers, and the story is more about moods that happens to be told against the backdrop of the Farrel/Kilcher/Bale love triangle.

While it is a good film, it is not easy to watch. Most of today's Hollywood output is spoon fed to the audience and requires little effort. But "The New World" forces you to think and not be solely entertained. It is authentic in feel and sound and the acting is natural. But I'm doubt I would ever sit through it again.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Let me start by saying I know a male to female transsexual (she's also preop, a dominatrix, and a feminist activist who's been featured on Dateline NBC). In fact the story of how Ric Fergeson told me he was becoming Susan Stryker was a monologue I orginally did as I was developing my one man show.

I had met Ric when I was a freshman at the University of Oklahoma and we both got into student politics. In fact, Ric, Mike Bresson, and Bruce Kravitz and I all went to see Richard Nixon's first public appearance after he resigned the Presidency when he spoke at a fundraiser in Enid, Oklahoma for departing US Senator Henry Bellmon. It's a screenplay that's been kicking around in my head that I want to call "Touching Dick Nixon" - it was Ric who actually got to shake Dick's hand.

Anyway, fast forward to San Francisco, mid 90's. Ric had gotten divoriced from Brett (whom I also knew at OU through Ric) and had also just completed his dissertation from Berkeley in History. I called him up to go see an Oakland A's game. On the way to the game, he told me that he was in the process of becoming a woman. I looked over, and yes, he was starting to grow breasts. To a transsexual, it is not about sex or sex organs, but it is about gender identity. I learned a lot that afternoon. The A's won the game, by the way.

So with that background, I must say that Felcity Huffman was nothing less than perfect as a preop male to female transsexual. She is one brave actress and she deserves props for doing this movie (I imagine she did this before Desperate Housewives). I've always had a little crush on Felicity - I noticed her first in "Things Change" and "Reversal of Fortune". She always had little parts in this and that and did that awful Showtime series called "Bedroom" - at least she was topless in that and played a lesbian. "Sportsnight" should have been her breakthrough but, alas, no one really watched it.

The movie was better than I thought it would be - it tried to be shocking - but Huffman brought out such humanity in her character that she didn't fall into the trap of playing a transsexual but played a human being. It's nice to see her finally getting her kudos. William H. Macy is a very lucky man.

Munich, Elizabethtown

I think Munich is the best film I've seen this year. 2005 was a tough year because no film got to me or touched me in any way. It is a flawed film but I can overlook that for its ambition. Hey, if you're pissing off both the Palestenians and the Jews, then it can't all be bad.

Eric Bana is finally coming into his own as a leading man and he does a very good job of carrying the film. Geoffrey Rush is wonderful, as always, and Cirian Hinds gives the best performance in the film. Special kudos to Marie-Josee Croze as the "Dutch Woman". I first noticed her in "Ararat" and then "The Barbarian Invasions". Most of her films are French Canadian or French (she's from Montreal) and she's never done a Hollywood film until now. Sexy and beautiful, I'm glad to see her in a major motion picture.

The script by Tony Kushner is thoughtful and provoking. It's nice to see that he is able to write for the screen as well. I thought "Angels in America" was a little hard to follow on stage but the TV adaptation made the work more intimate and therefore better.

My one qualm is with the "climax" of the movie. It was a little cinematic stunt by Spielberg and it bordered on being a bit silly.

"Elizabethtown" was a disappointment because I'm a Cameron Crowe fan. Now I thought "Almost Famous" was brilliant but "Elizabethtown" pales in comparison. There's some things that work but some things rang false like Susan Sarandon's big speech. Orlando Bloom was fine but he just can't carry this film. Kirsten Dunst was annoying but cute. I liked the end of the film. But most of what preceded it just didn't work.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Brokeback Mountain

Aside from the obvious jokes I can come up with, "It's the beans that made them gay", I thought Brokeback was a very good but not great film. Heath Ledger was terrific as well as Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway, and Linda Cardellini (Jake Gyllenhall was just okay - he didn't suck - or maybe he did - but I don't think he was completely up to the task.). The sex scenes weren't too uncomfortable for me although the female heavy audience at the NuWilshire kind of giggled at some of the jokes and gay inferences.

Ang Lee has very deftly handled the material and it is well photographed. But in the end, I didn't have an emotional or intellectual reaction to it. Am I blocking because it is a gay love story? Maybe. But I have to agree with my acting coach Cliff Osmond in his review that brooding is akin to whining where a character suffers rather than solve. Ennis Del Mar is obligated to his daughters but I didn't feel the trauma that he had as a young boy was so damaging as to keep him from happiness. Characters that are desperate and that do something about it are interesting. Those that are desperate and do nothing we see in every day life.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

LA to Colorado Springs to LA to San Diego to LA

So I'm back from driving 3,000 miles over nine days. Here's the trip report.

We left on Wednesday, Dec 21st to Las Vegas where we stayed with the in laws. Traffic was much worse than normal as we left around 3:30pm and didn't make in to Vegas until nearly 10pm.

Las Vegas to Vail, Thursday, Dec 22nd. Got up and left at 6:30am. It's been at least 15 years since I've been north of Vegas on I-15. We hit the Virgin River Gorge in Arizona which is a breathtaking drive. They canyon is a little more narrow than most passages and can seem a bit claustrophobic.

Stopped for gas in Cedar City and then made the turn on I-70. There's a segment of I-70 between Salina and Green River of about 110 miles where there are no gas stations, restaurants or hotels. There's a 40 mile stretch after you come down out of the mountains east bound that is simply spectacular. It's not on any map but I suspect it's under BLM management. I would suspect this is part of the formation that makes up Capitol Reef National Park to the south. You also pass over Eagle Canyon. It's a great drive.

One thing that made this trip so pleasant was XM Radio. I bought it last March because I drive so much between Vegas and LA and I also wanted to listen to my beloved SF Giants. I listen to CNN most of the time but when Aerin is with me, she's in charge of the music. Cross country trips in the old days were hell because you'd listen to all your CD's and then be at the mercy of AM/FM radio signals. I wasn't sure what the value is of subscribing to satellite radio but I can say now I am a fan and would recommend it to anyone who spends a lot of time in the car.

We stopped in Green River, UT for lunch at Ray's Tavern. Ray's was recommended to me by two people and it's really the only decent place to eat on I-70 in Utah. Green River is not much of a town and in fact I-70 pretty much bypasses it but you have to stop there to get gas. The 1/2 pound burger was excellent. It's on the south side of the main drag as you come into town and it's on a side street. Blink and you'll miss it.

Then it was off to Glenwood Springs for gas and a stop at Gart Sports to buy a new Camelback for Aerin. It was dark by now and we still had another 60 miles to go. With the time change, a couple stops for gas, and an hour for lunch, we rolled into the Vail Cascade resort at 6:30pm. We did about 660 miles around nine hours of driving time.

I had booked the Vail Cascade resort through Hotwire and got a $300 hotel room for about $150 including tax. It's a four star resort but because it was right before Christmas, it wasn't crowded. The customer service was fantastic and it was well worth the value. Aerin hit the gym, I had a few beers and watched the OU basketball team tank it against West Virginia. We went to the village and had dinner at Lancelot's. It was okay. We then hit the outdoor hot tub and heated pool before going to sleep.

Skiing in Vail and then off to Colorado Springs, Friday December 23rd. Six inches of snow fell overnight at the resort with much more at the upper elevations. Morning skiing was fantastic as the conditions were just right. The resort workers said it was the best December in Vail in over 10 years and I have no doubt they were right. We went over to the back side of the mountain and made it over to Blue Sky Basin where it started to get really windy. We came back up to the Two Elks Lodge for lunch and by the time we where through, they had closed off the back part of the mountain and the top of the main mountain because of wind. It took a while to traverse across to the mountain to the Cascade lodge and by then it was the end of the day. We loaded up and headed to Colorado Springs.

Traffic was very bad coming down on I-70 from Frisco until Idaho Springs. My sister said it was because all the college kids were home and they were getting in some skiing before the holidays.

We made it to Colorado Springs in time for dinner with Corinne, Peter, and my niece Meilan and then it was off to bed.

Skiing in Winter Park, Friday December 24th. Yes we skiing on Christmas Eve. After a delay in the morning, we made up to Winter Park. It was pretty clear and making it over Berthoud Pass, we got to Winter Park and got on the mountain. Winter Park is part of the Intrawest family and since we're MVP passholders at Mammoth Mountain, we got 1/2 price lift tickets for Winter Park. I had heard a lot about WP and it was a very good mountain. I got over to Mary Jane which was also good.

Traffic was clear on the way back to Colorado Springs and we had a lovely dinner on Christmas Eve.

Xmas in Colorado Springs. Meilan was up early and was prime for presents. Of course, she got everything she wanted. Lots of Barbies. We took a drive around Colorado Springs to see where Aerin lived when she was very little. Saw lots of deer. Christmas dinner was wonderful and afterwards I watched "Fever Pitch" with Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore. As a baseball fan, I enjoyed it and this was the first time I really liked Drew Barrymore in a film.

Skiing in Copper Mountain and overnight in Grand Junction, December 26th. Made it to Copper and on the mountain by 10am. I heard great things about Copper and it certainly did not disappoint. Copper is part of the Intrawest family so again we got 1/2 price tickets. Afterwards, we drove to Grand Junction where we stayed at the Grand Vista Hotel (exit 31). I booked it for $45.80 on Expedia the night before (the rack rate I heard when we checked in was $59). Grand Vista was probably par for the course in Grand Junction. There was an indoor pool and hot tub along with requisite families and obnoxious kids.

Arches National Park, Moab, and back to Vegas, December 27th. We stopped off at Arches National Park which is about 45 miles south of Exit 214 going westbound on I-70. That takes you down the Colorado River and a breathtaking drive into Moab. During the summer, I can see how it would be so crowded with campers and RV's but in the winter it was wide open. Arches was very beautiful and I recommend it highly. Since we weren't spending too much time there, we did the easy hikes and took a lot of pics. Lunch was at the Moab Diner ("the best green chili in Utah"). I had the ham and cheese omlette which was big and plentiful. After that, we hightailed back to Las Vegas.

Vegas to LA, December 28th. We did a late gift exchange with the in laws and ended up back in LA at 8pm, just in time to stock up the fridge from Trader Joe's. I got "The Bridge Over the River Kwai" from Netflix and watched it. It's a classic but it's been years since I've seen it. Not one of my top films of all time but you can see what a great director that Daivd Lean was. "Lawrence of Arabia" is one of my favorite films of all time.

LA to San Diego and the Holiday Bowl, December 29th. So after a short turnaround, I headed down to San Clemente to meet up with my friend from all the way back in Junior High, Maria (Molina) Hazelquist and her husband Hugh to head down to Qualcomm Stadium to watch OU vs Oregon in the Holiday Bowl. OU has had a disappointing season but we're looking good for 2006 and beyond. Bomar has come into his own and Peterson is still the best back in college football when healthy (yes, better than Reggie Bush). We got to the game about 7 minutes in just in time to see OU kick a field goal. Oregon moved the ball well in the 2nd quarter - big yardage on 1st down and throwing on 2nd and short and took the lead. But OU played very well in the third quarter to take the lead only to try and give it back. But the defense held and we won 17 - 14. After many beers, Maria put me up at her hotel, the Dana Point Marriott which is a very nice resort. I slept in and drove back to LA the next morning.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Last week I had the pleasure of seeing J.O.B. - The Hip Hopera. I had orginally seen it at the 2003 Edmonton Fringe where I had returned with Paper Son as a warm up for my Los Angeles run. J.O.B. was a huge hit on the Canadian circuit and they consistently sold out. I never had a chance to meet with them but when I found out they were coming to LA, I started to e-mail Eli and Jerome about my experiences of producing here in LA.

Now first off, I don't like rap or hip-hop (is there a difference?). It's not my "thang". But J.O.B. was nothing less than an incredibly inventive piece of theatre. It is the story of Job told in hip hop by two jewish guys from Montreal who went to Brown. If it plays anywhere, I highly recommend you see it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Narnia vs Kong

So the CAPE event last Thursday was loud and little networking was done by me. It was held at SUR (I guess the couldn't afford the E) at Robertson & Melrose and was held in a small gallery type room next to the restaurant. Hey, the beer and wine were free. Tamilyn Tomita was there (she had her name tag on) and someone who probably was Garret Wang but his nametag only said "Garrett". I had a nice talk with a Korean guy who's importing Korean comic books into the US. He tells me that native Korean speakers think Daniel Dae Kim is a joke - his Korean is apparently akin to a Southern accent. Boy, Asian American actors can't get a break anywhere.

I caught "The Chronicles of Narnia" and tried not to let the Christian subtext get to me. But there was something disconcerting win Aslan (Jesus) gives a big, huge sword to a 14 year old so he can start killing things. I think I missed that in the New Testament. Also, there was something very Michael Jackson creepy with the Fauns. It was just . . . weird. Sure, it could seem innocent but the site of a hairy, half naked man with chidlike qualities was creepy.

Kong was everything it's been built up to be. Although I think from now on, it's mandatory for Andy Serkis to be killed in every Peter Jackson movie. (Twice in Kong). I thought the first act missed on some character arc points but once you get to the island, watch out! Naomi Watts is once again in fine form and a very gutsy Ann Darrow who's very good at running away and climbing the Empire State Building spire. I declare Adrien Brody out of his post Oscar slump although it was a very unrealistic Hollywood movie plot point when the writer gets the girl.

I'm looking for a WiFi place to hang out at in Santa Monica. I guess I can always go to the new Santa Monica library when it opens in early 2006. I tried Panera Bread on 5th & Wilshire but they turn off their WiFi at lunch. The Office Online is closing to the general public on March 1st (which means me).

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Ha. Ha.

I'm headed to the CAPE party tonight - a networking event for Asians in Entertainment where we all sit around a bitch about how there are no Asians in front of the camera so everyone's now behind the camera. All the TV roles go to the same five actors.

Anyway, Manhola Dargis of the NY Times just posted a scathing review of "Memoirs of (three Chinese actresses playing) a Geisha". The last paragraph made me laugh (which is hard to do with me being the hardened comedian that I am).

"Ms. Gong's hauteur and soaring cheekbones work better for her character, a woman of acid resolve. Although there are moments when Hatsumomo comes perilously close to Dragon Lady caricature ("I will destroy you!"), the actress's talent and dignity keep the performance from sliding into full-blown camp. But even the formidable Ms. Gong cannot surmount the ruinous decision to have her and Ms. Zhang, along with the poorly used Mr. Yakusho, deliver their lines in vaguely British-sounding English that imparts an unnatural halting quality to much of their dialogue. The. Result. Is. That. Each. Word. Of. Dialogue. Sounds. As. If. It. Were. Punctuated. By. A. Full. Stop. Which. Robs. The. Language. Of. Its. Watery. Flow. And. Breath. Of. Real. Life. Even. As. It. Also. Gives. New. Meaning. To. The. Definition. Of. The. Period. Movie. "

I. Need. To. Try. This. In. My. Next. Audition.

The Falling Girl

My friend Lary, aka "Poker Girl", always forwards me stuff she finds amusing. I found the falling girl mind numbingly amusing. If she gets stuck then click on her and move your mouse. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Revenge Poems

So I've never really done any analytics on my website, Paper Son, but I recently added Google Analytics to it and I've gotten some interesting results.

Apparently I'm #1 in a Google Serp for revenge poems. The poem on my site is from Angel Island and it's about revenge but I get at least one or two visitors a day who's looking for a revenge poem.

Are there that many people out there looking for poems about revenge?

So I'm bringing this blog back - not that it went away but the fact is, I don't think I've got what it takes to be a blogger. But, what the hell, let's give it the good ole college try.

The whole "Situation: Comedy" which preceded this is a long drunken rehab memory ago. The show itself was a miserable failure and I stopped watching it after I was cut in the first half hour. I had to ask someone else what eventually happened since the ratings were so abysmal that Bravo eventually buried it on their Friday night schedule after it couldn't hack it on Tuesdays.

I'll probably tell an anecdote or two about my experience but overall it stopped "Strings" for about a year since NBC Universal held the option which I just got back.

My celebrity sighting of the week was going into the bathroom of the AMC 6 in Santa Monica after seeing "Syriana". Coming out was Dustin Hoffman. It happened so quick, I couldn't even say "plastics".

Last night, thanks to FIND and a three month free Netflix membership (all so I can see "nominated" Independent Spirit Award Films - yeah, right), I did see a nominated film, "Me and You and Everybody We Know". I must say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. In particular, my friend Bobby Slayton's daughter, Natasha Slayton was in it. She makes out with a girl and blows a guy. I'm sure Bobby's never been prouder.

I had lunch today at the newly renovated food court at Westfield Century City. They had tents up for the upcoming "The Producers" opening. Nicer and more expensive. I usually have the Gyro plate at Gulen's and what was under $9 (gyro plate with fries instead of rice and ranch dressing on my salad with a diet coke) now comes in at $10 and some change. The plate is bigger so that means the portions are bigger.

Tonight is our "filming" night in my acting class where we videotape our scenes for playback next week. I'm doing a scene from "You've Got Mail" which I've never seen and I had to have the backstory explained to me. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, November 08, 2004

After reviewing the document, I pretty much have to shut up after this. I'll be signing it and returning it to the production offices later today which means I won't be able to say too much more.

The cover letter from Arnold Shapiro (one of the Exec Producers) said they received nearly 9,000 entries for the contest. I don't have a call time for tomorrow and the non LA people are flying in today. I've been told it will all be decided by Thursday evening.

The agreeement is pretty restrictive (of course) and spells out how we are at the whim of NBC & the Producers, etc. The good news is that the WGA Minimum is for a 30 minute show (not 15 minute) so the pilot may be worth $15,918. I'll ask for clarification before I turn everything in.

I do have some issues with the language about "Life Story" rights. But that's it . . .

Sunday, November 07, 2004

I received an 86 page document which I have to sign and turn in by tomorrow. I need to really look at but when I do, I don't believe I'm supposed to say anything more about my participation. I'll try and post one more time before I execute the contract and turn it in. I'm no lawyer and this looks pretty restrictive. I'll post some of the more interesting paragraphs before I stop posting here.

Friday, November 05, 2004

The top 5 is now the top 10 . . .

The producers have changed the rules somewhat and the top 5 (round 4) is now the top 10. The non LA contestants are flying in on Monday. I am supposedly off the hook for Monday and everything will be crammed into Tuesday - Thursday with the decision to made on Thursday night. They are Fed Ex'ing a change in the contest rules to me and there are more forms to sign.

Faking Reality . . .

So, today we shot me in front of a wiring closet pulling RJ45 cables and talking to the camera. Then we went over to the field producer's house in West LA where I talked about my script and then they filmed me packing my suitcase, getting into my car and driving off. So to recap, we shot at a place I don't work anymore and shot at a house that's not mine (complete with a dog that's not mine).

The field producer and crew knew less about the show than I did. I've been told maybe Monday evening is when I need to be ready next.

They shot another semi-finalist before me and there was no one after me. Am I one of two in the LA area and the other three are outside? I didn't press for any info and they didn't volunteer anything.

I think I came off okay and I tend to ramble. All the field producer wanted was some good sound bites and I gave it to her.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Guess what? More changes . . .

Now we've scrapped the me driving away from my apartment and no interview back to the interview. And I've been asked to bring an overnite bag which we'll then go to the producers place and have them film me packing and unpacking. The field producer I talked to (a different one from yesterday) is travelling on Saturday which leads me to believe they are getting footage from an out of towner as they go off to the airport wherever they are.

And the call time for Monday is still unknown. It may get pushed back to Monday night. They are not wasting time with ten, trying to cut to five. Time to put my game face on.

I have sneaking suspicions at this time . . .

So they've changed the two hour interview for Friday afternoon to just some B roll footage of me getting into my car in front of my apartment (to be shot Friday morning) and driving off to go to the Monday thing.

Ahhh, the Monday thing. For the first time, they have told me that I am supposed to be someplace for an all day Monday shoot.

The information being doled out is sparse and by the low level staffers but I'm having a tough time believing that they have not already cut down to the final five.

I spoke with a lawyer from NBC this afternoon who pretty much asked me the same questions from the 20 page questionnaire I filled out a couple of weeks ago. I had to really put on the censor filter as they asked me questions like, "Have you ever appeared in a porno movie?" Correct answer: No. The answer I wanted to give, "No, but I've seen so many I pretty much consider myself an expert on the subject." Or "Have you ever had a restraining order filed against you?" "Yes, she was really hot!"

So back to Monday. Are they really flying in the top ten to make the cut to the top five? This is a cable show with a tight budget. The out of town people have to have had their flights booked and hotel reservations made. All this to get a dejected look when they're sent back to LAX? Unlikely. I'm in LA so they can yank me around and tell me little. But it doesn't make sense to me.

According to the rules, Round 3 contestants have a background check but only Round 4 are "required to be in Los Angeles" for several days of pitch meetings. Hmmmm . . .

And of course, the cardinal rule in LA is "Never believe anything anyone tells you."

For now, I'm thinking and focusing on all the pitching that I'll have to do to get to the final two. The first draft of this script was done back in February and I've gone through several iterations of characters and plot. I know them well. It really is about characters first. The situation is secondary. I'll pull my previous drafts which will help in the rewrites and may actually try and bang out some side scenes so I've got material to work from when they want to change everything.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Still more questions than answers at this point. I've taken a look at scheduling and it's literally five full weeks of production to put this together with a half week for Thanksgiving and a half week at the end, just in case. What's this going to be worth? According to the WGA, the compensation 15 minutes and under, non network, low budget will be $8691. (See

From my talk with the field producer last night, there are at least three LA based writers in the mix (including myself). The tenative schedule is to start the interview/shooting at 3:30pm on Friday in Beverly Hills. They wanted to do it in my apartment but it is a complete mess and I've got access to my buddy's office which should look good on camera. They told me it would take two hours or so.

Again, all of the questions I have can't be answered at the level I have access to right now. I am scheduled to fly off to Reno, NV on Saturday, November 13th for the NACA West Convention where I'm attempting to get "Paper Son" booked in the college ane university circuit. When they choose the finalists, they begin production on November 15th, the second day of the contest and I've got to find a way to do both.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Things are moving rather quickly and I've finally received some information about this contest. I am scheduled to be interviewed by a field producer on Friday, November 5th. By Monday, November 8th they will determine the top five and they are expected to be in Los Angeles immediately to pitch the show. They will announce the final two on November 12th and the production of the show is scheduled to begin on November 15th. It is scheduled to wrap on December 23rd.

I still have not had a direct conversation with the producers of the show and may not until and if I make the top 5.

If my count is correct, the show will be put together and shot within four full weeks with 2 half weeks for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I certainly have more questions than answers right now.

I've been told to expect a call from a field producer shortly. They may also want to get some B-Roll on me. So far so good . . .

Denial on Betsy's Blog . . . .

First off I want to thank Betsy who put up a blog at several weeks ago about Situation: Comedy. I only found it last week and posted that I had made it to Round 3 where I eventually got called out by an anonymous poster. There were many in Round 2 (more than 50) who have been holding out hope they would advance. To the best of my knowledge, I was the only one to post that I had made Round 3 (the final 10). Some accepted it, others accused me of lying. So goes life on the blogs.

Hope is a wonderful thing. My favorite movie about hope is "The Shawshank Redemption". But the fact of the matter is if these hopefuls had not received the Round 3 questionnaires, they are simply not in the running. It took a full week after I had submitted my documentation for the production company to come back to me for clarification and start calling my references. They had to do the criminal background check before they proceeded any further. It did force me to take immediate action and do online traffic school for the illegal left turn I made on Sunset Blvd several months ago - an incredible trap in Hollywood east of LaBrea . . .

For me, I still have hope. They have talked to at least three of my references yesterday but some of the others did not receive messages (they certainly may have been called but no message left). Since I'm in LA, it's not a big deal to schedule me in for the pitch meetings in Round 4. They have a stated goal that they will choose the final 2 by November 12th which means the pitches have to be next week.

Monday, November 01, 2004

. . . one of my friends on my professional/personal reference list just called me and said that the background firm was asking about me. Calls are finally being made which is a good thing . . .

What is the definition of "A Professionally Produced Play on the Legitimate Stage"?

The answer to that definition may or may not keep me out of the next round. But more on that in just a sec . . .

So last Friday (Oct 29) was the day that I had arbitrarily set as the deadline on whether or not I made it from Round 3 to Round 4. It was purely based upon my interacton with the production company and the fact they had given me the good news late in the week for the previous two rounds. My background questionnaire had been delivered on Monday as requested. But interestingly enough, my professional and personal references had not been contacted and it didn't seem like my website had gotten any significant hits. However, I did notice that my site had gotten more hits from Googling "Byron Yee" than usual for the past month. As Friday afternoon became Friday end of day, I was resigned to the fact that I had not made the cut.

On Friday, I played Texas Hold'em at Poker Stars (my new obsession) and Saturday morning I got up early and watched my alma mater Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State at Yankee Doodle's in Santa Monica with all the other Sooner ex-patriates. Sunday, I had all of two trick-or-treaters come by my apartment. I basically caught up on my sleep this weekend.

Monday, here I am at my day job, getting some work done when I get a call from the contest coordinator seeking some clarification. The one question they had from the background check had to do with my one man show "Paper Son". He had gotten word from the network that they wanted to know the performance history going back to its inception.

It's always been produced by me (hardly professional) and my understanding of the legimate stage is that usually means the union is involved (which I've never been in that situation).

So here I am. Waiting once more. If they don't call by end of day Tuesday . . . . .

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Hi. I'm Byron Yee and this is my blog. More can found out about me at my website,

I've had this for a year or so but haven't been compelled to put anything up until now. I'm actually doing this to document my involvement/participation so far in Situation: Comedy, the reality show upcoming on Bravo in 2005.

As of this moment, I am in the top ten (or better known as Round 3) of the nearly 7,000 scripts that were submitted for the contest. I'm using this blog to document what happens to me in case I make it to the final two and have my pilot shot (as a 15 minute "presentation"). I have submitted my background questionnaire to the production company and am hoping that I make it to Round 4 where five of us will "pitch" the show to the Producers and Executives of which they will pick two finalists. I suspect I will hear back within a few days whether or not I make it to the top five.

Let me start off by saying that my submission into the contest was "Plan B" for the script I wrote. Two years ago I moved to LA from SF with the intent of putting on my one man show "Paper Son" and to try to get interest from the networks.

It took a year of planning and "Paper Son" made its LA debut in the September of 2003 at the now defunct Gascon Center Theatre in Culver City. I had hired a publicist who was able to sell the show to the press and I got Sunday calendar coverage out of the LA Times as well as reviews from most of the major press. (Again, go to and you'll see what I generated).

I was able to get one development executive from one of the major networks to see my show. In late November I met with him/her and his/her staff in a "meet and greet" where I was invited to come up with a treatment for a comedy that they would take a look at.

After several months, I realized the only way to come up with the treatment was to write the pilot itself. The pilot that I wrote for myself is NOT an adaptation of "Paper Son". I sent the treatment in and then called the office after the upfronts were announced. I was invited to have a meeting and pitch my idea.

At that point, I got quite a bit of help from interested parties and had a couple of meetings with a producer and a development executive at one of the studios. But pretty much, no one would take it on so my only shot was to take the pilot directly to the network level. By the way, I went about this backwards - but that's another discussion.

My meeting with the network executive was in late September. As an afterthought, I submitted my script to "Situation: Comedy" prior to the September 18th deadline.

I had my meeting with the network which was quite short since I had the script in hand and there wasn't really that much more to pitch. They seemed to be genuinely interested in it and said they would get back to me.

On Thursday, October 14th, as I was driving through downtown Las Vegas on my way to my in-laws, I got a call from "Amy" informing me that I had made it to Round 2 and that a questionnaire as well as a 3 minute video was due back at their offices by Tuesday, October 19th. I shot the video in Las Vegas and walked in the Round 2 application to the office that Monday.

Late in the day on Friday, October 22nd, I received another call from "Phillip" and "Jeff" informing me that I was in the top ten (Round 3) and that a detailed background questionnaire was due to them by Monday, October 25th. They have since asked for references and depending upon the background checks, I suspect that if I make it to the next round, I'll hear something by the end of the week.

So that's it for now. If I make it further, I will post more about my script and what it's about.