Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloween Bobbings

Thank you to everyone who came to the GreyZelda Halloween Fundraiser! Here's a partial showing of the characters who made an appearance:

We also saw Magda, the Vampiric Barmaid, The Silver Lining, Gay-des (instead of Hades - heh heh heh!), a Mardi Gras party guest from Eyes Wide Shut, Disco Stu/Indiana Jones/Levon, Crazy Cat Lady and many more.

Brian Vander Ark played. Pryce played. Dave Lykins played. Dave McCaul's band-that-I-can't-quite-remember-the-name-of played and, between you and me and that tree over there, they're going to be really sumthin'. When they get their confirmed name, watch out!!!!

Apples were bobbed for. Kegs were tapped. Wine and Jim Beam were guzzled. Photographs and artwork were silently bidded on. Costumes were judged by a highly secret panel. Money was made for our upcoming season.

Thank you, everyone. We'll do it again.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

So vast is art, so narrow human wit. - Alexander Pope

On Art ... A Few Words ... But Not From Me

Without freedom, no art; art lives only on the restraints it imposes on itself, and dies of all others.
Albert Camus

Art is magic delivered from the lie of being truth.
Theodor Adorno

The task of art today is to bring chaos into order.
Theodor Adorno

Every work of art is an uncommitted crime.
Theodor Adorno

Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.
Cecil Beaton

Great art picks up where nature ends.
Marc Chagall

The artist one day falls through a hole in the brambles, and from that moment he is following the dark rapids of an underground river which may sometimes flow so near to the surface that the laughing picnic parties are heard above.
Cyril Connolly

Progressive art can assist people to learn not only about the objective forces at work in the society in which they live, but also about the intensely social character of their interior lives. Ultimately, it can propel people toward social emancipation.
Salvador Dali

The artist who aims at perfection in everything achieves it in nothing.
Eugene Delacroix

True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.
Albert Einstein

Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Rationalism is the enemy of art, though necessary as a basis for architecture.
Arthur Erickson

Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible. I think it's in my basement... let me go upstairs and check.
M. C. Escher

To make us feel small in the right way is a function of art; men can only make us feel small in the wrong way.
E. M. Forster

Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.
Kahlil Gibran

The artist alone sees spirits. But after he has told of their appearing to him, everybody sees them.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint," then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.
Vincent Van Gogh

The highest art is always the most religious, and the greatest artist is always a devout person.
Abraham Lincoln

You study, you learn, but you guard the original naivete. It has to be within you, as desire for drink is within the drunkard or love is within the lover.
Henri Matisse

I have been no more than a medium, as it were.
Henri Matisse

An artist is always alone - if he is an artist. No, what the artist needs is loneliness.
Henry Miller

We have art in order not to die of the truth.
Friedrich Nietzsche

If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it.
Anais Nin

You've gotta be original, because if you're like someone else, what do they need you for?
Bernadette Peters

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.
Pablo Picasso

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.
Twyla Tharp

Art is parasitic on life, just as criticism is parasitic on art.
Harry S. Truman

An artist is someone who produces things that people don't need to have but that he - for some reason - thinks it would be a good idea to give them.
Andy Warhol

I'm afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning.
Andy Warhol

No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.
Oscar Wilde

All art is quite useless.
Oscar Wilde

A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament.
Oscar Wilde

Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.
Oscar Wilde

I am an artist... I am here to live out loud.
Emile Zola

GreyZelda's Halloween Party and Fundraiser with Brian Vander Ark!

Come celebrate Halloween GreyZelda style - costumes strongly encouraged! You might even win an amazing prize for your duds!!!! We'll be doing it up ooky and kooky, just the way we like it and we're hoping to raise money for our 2008 season with music, good friends and our favorite holiday of the year!

Brian Vander Ark, lead singer of the Verve Pipe, will be playing at our abode starting at 7pm which we're incredibly excited about! He's going to donate $2.00 of every cd he sells to GreyZelda. He's a hell of a guy. Excellent performer. You're going to love his set. He's playing for an hour and I got to suggest a couple of my favorite tunes. Rock.

Pryce and Dave Lykins, two excellent local performers and friends of GreyZelda (Dave's going to be playing Alfieri in a View from the Bridge), will be playing later in the evening followed by the debut of Dave McCaul's (as in Lisa Wilson and Dave McCaul - both wild and crazy cats) new glam band - well, maybe it isn't a debut, but it'll be a first time at our house.

We'll have silent auctions for artwork donated by our graphic designer Sarah Stec and Steven T. Wirth. Photography donated by Michigander Chris Williams. A kick ass t-shirt designed by Morgan Manasa of Babes with Blades.

There will be apples that will need to be bobbed for, candy, creepies and crawlies. Games. Dance parties. Fog machines. And, of course, booze. Booze of many colors. It'll be grand and we can't wait to see you dressed in your death-defying best!

And .... there's going to be a full moon ... perfect for a Howlin' Hallowin' Halloween party!

Suggested donation is $20.00 or donate what you can.

GreyZelda's a-hostin -
Our season we're toastin'

Location: The GreyZelda Abode - 4725 N. Kilpatrick Ave. First Floor Chicago

When: October 26th, 2007 - 6:30pm until whenever the last ghoul howls.

And, if you don't come, you might have this guy knockin' on your door:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Theatre's Erotic

I'm always coming back to Elvis singing "A little less conversation, a little more action, please."

To quote Anne Bogart:

"Art, like life, is understood through experience, not explanations. As theatre artists, we cannot create an experience for an audience; rather, our job is to set up the circumstances in which an experience might occur."

I'm currently reading her essay on Eroticism and its relation to theatre. My heart is pounding.

One of the main reasons I'm attracted to the world of theatre is the mystery ... the feeling of what's next. I'm in a relationship with the art form that I don't want to leave because it's always exciting me, it keeps answers from me, it flirts with me, it delights me, it destroys me ... it has an energy and a power that can not be trifled with. It doesn't talk too much and when it's getting too heady, I often shut it out because I'm finding it's becoming dull and tedious. I choose to go too shows that keep me quiet afterwards because the experience was so personal, I feel it will cheapen my memory if I burden it down with words.

Here's another quote from the essay that I really like:

"A theatre critic once suggested that the American fear of art is actually a puritanical fear of the sexual encounter. But erotic tension between the stage and the beholder is part of what makes the theatre experience so attractive. The theatre is a place where it is possible to meet one another in an energetic space unmediated by technology. The sensory stimulation allowed in theatre, authorized by its very form, allows the corporeal imagination to exercise itself."

What stops you in your tracks? What makes you gasp in anticipation? What consistently turns you on? What changes you forever? You don't need to answer on your own blog, if you don't want to, nor do you need to answer it here ... again, your words might cheapen your feelings and dull theatre's energy down. For the sake of all things erotic, please don't do that.

As I mentioned a couple of blogs ago, sometimes I need to shut the computer off and reestablish my relationship with my favorite subject, theatre. I don't like the distractions of long-winded blogs trying to pick apart what I like to consider mysterious and exotic. If I wanted to be a scientist where I just had to prove hypotheses over and over again, I would have gone into that field ... but I like the in-between places, the moments that quicken my heart, the moments that warm my brain with images and sensory experiences.

Over analyzing is a major drag and turnoff sometimes.

Keep me in suspense. Keep me in the dark. Keep me asking what's next. Surprise me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Today is National Dictionary Day

So, look some stuff up already will you?

Just crack that book up ... and read.

I can spend hours with that darn red, worn dictionary book of mine.

Words that you always thought you knew the meaning of, you don't.

Words you didn't know exist, do.

And then there are the dirty words you run into accidentally ... gotta love those. Takes you back to sixth grade. One of my friends, Avery Scoville, read the whole thing in fifth grade. It was the talk of the school yard. If you always had a nose in books. Which I did.

Go crack something up and look up a word you've always wondered about ... go on.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Friday Lesson from William Ball

William Ball is one of my heroes.

From Wikipedia:

William Ball (29 April 193130 July 1991) was a stage director and founder of the American Conservatory Theatre (ACT).

He was awarded the Drama Desk Vernon Rice Award in 1959 for his production of Chekhov's Ivanov and was nominated for a Tony Award in 1965 for his production of Molière's Tartuffe, starring Michael O'Sullivan and Rene Auberjonois. He was also a noted director of operas.

Ball founded the American Conservatory Theatre in Pittsburgh in 1965. This was a company of up to 30 full-time paid actors who studied all disciplines of the theatre arts during the day and performed at night. Ball had a falling out with ACT's financial benefactors in Pittsburgh and took the company on the road. His 1966 productions of Albee's Tiny Alice, Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author, and others at the Stanford University Summer Festival led a group of financiers to offer his company a home in San Francisco, which had recently lost The Actor's Workshop to New York's Lincoln Center.

In its first season, Ball's ACT produced twenty-seven full length plays in two theatres over the course of seven months. Some actors would do one role in the early part of a play at the Geary Theatre then run two blocks up the hill to the Marines Memorial to appear in the last part of another. Ball's 1972 production of Cyrano de Bergerac and his 1976 production of The Taming of the Shrew were televised nationally on PBS. In 1979, ACT received the Tony Award for excellence in regional theatre.

Ball was often provocative. His interpretation of Albee's Tiny Alice brought threat of a lawsuit from the playwright, who tried to withhold the performance rights only to discover that they had never been granted in the first place. Some observers thought that Ball's operatic production (with an added aside condemning the Vietnam war) may have solved some problems inherent in the text.

Ball was the author of the 1984 book, A Sense of Direction: Some Observations on the Art of Directing.

William Ball left ACT in 1986 under a cloud of suspicious financial transactions. He appeared in a forgettable Hollywood B-movie, Suburban Commando, and committed suicide in Los Angeles in 1991.

I'm going to start sharing excerpts from A Sense of Direction. If you're a director and haven't read this book ... get thee to a bookstore or immediately. It's GreyZelda's Bible and Chris and I swear by it. All directing scenarios are different and you gotta be able to adjust in the moment with your actors, crew and production, but it's an amazing centering tool to touch upon if you're looking for a little guidance.

William Ball on Art:

"The most important characteristic of a work of art is unity ... If it lacks unity, it does not qualify as a work of art. Unity means harmony among the component parts; and the greater the harmony among the component parts, the greater the unity and the greater the art. ...

The second characteristic of a work of art is that it reveals Universe. Show business does not have to reveal Universe. It is not required and not expected. Night club entertainment is not expected to reveal Universe. Vaudeville is not expected to reveal Universe. Theatre or drama is expected to reveal Universe.

A third thing that art does is awaken the Spirit. Commerce is not expected to awaken Spirit and neither is show business. By awakening the Spirit, we mean that somewhere during the course of the performance, the spectator experiences "The Great Aha!" A light goes on within him and the self is illuminated, awakened, enlightened, elevated, and changed. Usually the moment of awakening is very short, and it is an unconscious moment. One is sometimes aware that it took place after it has happened, but while it is happening, one is unaware.

There is something else that the work of art in the theatre is expected to have that show business and television entertainment are not necessarily expected tot have. That has to do with the revelation of the beauty of humankind. That beauty, concealed somewhere within the drama, takes many forms, and the revelation takes many forms, but one may witness and share the author's vision - his admiration, awe, and wonder at the beauty - through a work of art. When it is not art, it lacks a sense of beauty of humankind. These are generalizations, but I do want to separate the discussion of art from show business and entertainment so that no one is misled."

People in the blog world go round and round on the subject of what makes good theatre and what audiences are looking for. I certainly think William Ball had a major clue and while I love reading the active thinking and conversations of my peers, sometimes I like to just switch of the computer, sit in silence and read the book that always seems to get me through most of my questions. Then, I switch that computer back on, read what my friends and fellow theatre creators have to say, and it reaffirms what I've just read most of the time.