Sunday, October 16, 2005


OK, listen up and listen good 'cause I'm not gonna say this twice.

Cabela's, the hunting and fishing superstore, located outside Minneapolis (and other places around the US of A) is incredible! Please note, that I am not at all a hunting and fishing person and am in fact a militant vegetarian who likes to impose my strident views on the cruelty of factory farming at any perfectly nice dinner party. But Cabela's almost converted me into a cold-blooded, well-outfitted killer of animals. Or into a Civil War re-enacter. Or into a homemade jerky producer and connoisseur. Or into someone that likes to sneak around the woods, undetected by even the trees, who would consider me one of their own.

There were two excursions to Cabela's, one yesterday that I went on and one today that I opted out of as I feared I was going to get sucked into the hunting and fishing lifestyle. Oh sure, they make it seem as American as any other cult and equally harmless, but my first visit (and if god is willing, my only visit) hooked into the needy, weak side of my personality that makes me want to join stuff and wear matching outfits. I'm not proud of this character defect, but at least I know what I have to contend with in myself.

This Cabela's is HUGE and it just opened a few days ago. Not the "Grand Opening" as a helpful sales clerk informed me, for that is later at the end of the month and there will be sales involved, but the plain old opening where they hire some rent-a-cops to manage the incredible traffic stampede, open the doors and sell merch. But stores are not what they used to be and Cabela's is more like a retail experience set in a taxidermy theme park, with a very impressive live-specimen walk-in aquarium thrown in. You have to see it to believe it people.

I was so enchanted with the stuff, all the stuff. The guns alone made me want to buy one. I consider myself a pacifist and not at all in what Cabela's would probably view as their target audience (pun intended) but picking up a long-ass, heavy, serious business 30-06 rifle with a site that would turn my blind cat into an assassin gave me the terrifying surge of power that such a weapon is designed for. Yes, I wanted to buy it for a second. Because I realized I could kill something if I had to or wanted to or accidentally left a round in the chamber and decided to show off one night after a few brewskis. I learned a lesson about what makes people want to hunt and probably put us at the top of the food chain. I knew I had to get out of there, or I was gonna end up taking a piece of baggage back to New York that was going to require more hassle than taking my shoes off and pulling my laptop out of the bag.

But enough of my musings on my "epiphanies". The show was especially interesting tonight because we had an early curtain at 7:00 that ended up turning into a regular 8:00, thanks to morbid malfunctions of the sound computer right before we were scheduled to begin. Translation: Dan's computer was playing dead and if the computer goes, all bets are off. The audience patiently waited for Dan to do triage and get the thing operational again and after his heroic efforts and a lot of sweating, he resurrected the beast and the show went on. Hats off to both Dan and the Walker audience, who all patiently endured the unexpected pre-show intermission.

We are sad to turn our bikes in and leave Minneapolis but this is all in the ephemeral nature of the theatre. It is an experience, not something to hold onto like that pretty rifle in Cabela's. You can't take it with you, except as a memory and a memory that will easily pass through airport security. Farewell, Twin Cities.

Next stop, Columbus, Ohio, home to the OSU Buckeyes and the very first Wendy's. And the Wexner Center for the Arts and as yet untold adventures in retail consumption, making theatre and maybe some fall foliage thrown in.

So long for now,

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Mall of america

This is Stewart. He is our designer. He designed both the sets and costumes. That's how they do it over in Europe. Stewart is European, though from this photo, he blends in seamlessly with the scenery at Camp Snoopy. Stewart had to leave us today and we are all sad to see him go as his quiet-but-deadly wit kept us going jauntily along through the rehearsal and premiere process. Farewell Stewart, we'll see you back in Brooklyn in six weeks or so.

No trip to Minneapolis would be complete without a visit to the Mall of America and today before Stewart left on a jet plane, he, Marianne, James, Rizwan and Tanya made the trek to go to see the world's largest mall. It was apparently everything one could expect from the world's largest mall, and more. Stewart got to ride on a roller coaster for the first time in his life. He may be European, but he is apparently nonetheless, sheltered. I am so envious! I have taken many a roller coaster ride and I can't even recall the first one I went on. But Stewart now has the indelible life experience of not only going on his first roller coaster INDOORS, but also his first coaster ride was right next to the food court of the world's largest mall! The Cyclone at Coney island barely holds a candle to this experience.

But it wasn't all just Camp Snoopy for the day. There was also the ostensibly main attraction, shopping. Tee shirts were bought and Macy's-parade-balloon-sized cinnamon buns were ingested and various other retail experiences were had. One store sold only bean bag chairs. There were four Gaps: Baby Gap, Kids Gap, Men's Gap and regular Gap. I feel like the Gap needs its own Gap, the Gap Gap for people who have been raised from birth on the Gap system and qualify for a higher level of commitment to the Gap lifestyle. It is only a matter of time before we have Elder Gap for the aging boomers like myself to buy stylish-yet-comfy plushy track suits. But enough about the Gap.

Show has gone well and we are all pretty dang happy with it, I'd say. The final performance for the Walker is tomorrow night and then it's back home for all of us, until we meet up again in Columbus, OH at the Wexner Center.

Until then, I will report on company matters as well as my own usual flights of fancy. Stay tuned.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

another opening

Hello My Blog Pals-

Yes, the show which brings you to this blog, SUPER VISION, had its world premiere this very evening, here in Minneapolis, MN at the Walker Art Center!

I feel it is safe to say that all our diligent efforts carried the evening along and we had a spectacular show, by my standards. I will also provide the caveat that the bar was perhaps at a medium height, as I was hoping to get through the night with no major disasters and my tepid expectation was bettered beyond my dreams by the TBA crew tonight. It came off not only hitchless, but dare I say we shimmered up there on that beautiful stage at the Walker.

New York City representing, yo!

After tea show, we were taken to a most lovely and delicious meal at the very nice restaurant in the Walker, 20.21 which is a Wolfgang Puck situation and lemme say, the food was beautiful and delicious. I had the angel hair pasta (thank you angels for donating your hair) with several kinds of tasty mushrooms and there was an assortment of appetizers which were delightful. The meat eaters did very nicely with lobster entrees and Hal, who was sitting next to me, had duck which arrived at the table sleeping its peaceful sleep of the afterlife in a little pool of the prettiest sauce. Hal enjoyed very much his interaction with the little duck's ride through the food chain and he said it went down like a dream. Thank you duck, as well.

And dessert was incredible!

Many toasts were made by Marianne and Kim, our loyal producer and Philip, the main curatorial man in performing arts at the Walker. It was a jolly good start to this juggernaut and may the ship sail surely onwards on the sea of creativity for many months to come.

After parties took place at local clubs, one a dance place and one a little more, um how can I put it? A little more racy. I begged off that part of the evening as I am the designated wimp in the party hardy department. But there were some good stories that emerged from the latter hours of the night and if you come to one of the shows, do ask us afterwards about our antics in Minneapolis on opening night.

We are all happy and relieved that it went so beautifully and breath a sigh of thankfulness to Thespis and all the other gods and goddesses and muses who came to our aid and guided us through the darkness of the evening. As Rizwan would say: "YAY!!"

More later,

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

live from dress rehearsal

Hello My Bloggy Friends-

I report to you live from the dress rehearsal of the world premiere of SuperVision, here at the Walker Center in Minneapolis, MN. We are way north up here and the light is beautiful, as I think I have mentioned previously. As I write to you, Tanya has just finished the opening and now we have transitioned beautifully into the first family scene starring David Pence and Kyle deCamp and the fantastic animations of dbox, the video genius of team video and a soundscape to make you weep with pleasure from Dan the Sound Man. All kinds of acting is going on and it is cool to watch it all up close and personal from my little station downstage right.

It rained a little today but we hardly noticed since we were hard at work in the dark womb of the theatre, making the magic happen. We piled in the minivan with Rizwan acting as the daddy and driving, and went to the local food co-op on the dinner break which is called The Wedge for some reason. Sounds to me like a progressive radio station but no, it is where one buys their health food and bulk items here in the Twin Cities. I have yet to venture over to the other twin yet but will make the trip to St. Paul before the week is out. On our bikes, we are free to go where the roads go and for those with mountain bikes, the off-road experience calls as well.

The folks at the Walker have been great with us and we have a terrific crew and a beautiful space. It is like this show has a perfect scale for this house. Very nice dressing rooms and green room, complete with working fridge, microwave and sink. It is comfortable here and we are loving the good treatment. Can't wait for the people to show up! Many thanks to the programming folks at the Walker who booked the show and were happy to premiere it here in this gorgeous space. And extra-special thanks for agreeing to help us out with information that plays into the show. Don't want to spoil the fun for everyone who might come see the piece so I can't say exactly what it is they gave us, but it really makes the show interesting! Thanks for taking the chance.

OK, well I gotta go get ready for my scene so I will check in later and tell you how it went. So far, the show looks great and I am really happy with how it's shaping up. Stay tuned for further developments.

Off to the dress.

your thespian,
ps-Sorry I don't have any pictures to post yet but there is a cable shortage and I don't have the wire that makes the pictures go into the computer from the digital camera. Hope to get this straightened out soon.

Monday, October 10, 2005

on tour with TBA!

Hello there supporters of the lively arts-

It is I, Moe your faithful correspondent reporting to you live from the lobby of the Marriot Towne Suites in Minneapolis, MN where TBA has arrived to launch Super Vision upon the unsuspecting public. We all managed to make it here from New York yesterday, despite the scare tactics warning us that the subways are going to get blown up any second by some terrorists from Iraq. Isn't it funny how Iraq has suddenly been implicated in the terrorism chain of command? I guess they could not be blamed for Hurricane Katrina but it was only a matter of time before they were saddled with some other crime so we can feel good about invading their country and sending all the National Guard to build democracy, thereby diverting them from less sexy tasks at home like searching nursing homes in New Orleans for dead people. Ok, don't get me started...

Meanwhile, back at the show. Some of the crew arrived on Saturday and the rest of us made it here Sunday. The tech crew came a day early to set up shop and get the whole thing going. We are performing in a gorgeous theatre in the Walker Center. It is brand spanking new, having just opened in April and it feels very luxurious. Quite an unusual design, which incorporates fabulous decorative elements, like the walls of the house which are made from a black metal mesh that has been pressed with relief designs of a sort of leaf pattern. Quite nice. And the crew here is great and they are busy at work right now putting in the set and doing the lighting hang and focus. Very exciting!

It is the start of fall here. Blue clear high sky and lovely warm bright sunlight, lower in the sky than what we have in NY. Days noticeably shorter here as we are further north. It reminds me of Canada. Oh Canada, I could drink a case of you and still be on my feet, as Joni Mitchell says. It is lovely and we all have bicycles to ride to and from the Walker. Claire Hallereau, our company manager, had the brainstorm to rent us bikes since the theatre is pretty close but a little too far to walk practically. This morning, Tanya and David and Marianne and myself rode our cycles to work, like some post-modern theatre bike gang. It was so fun! Claire rented them en mass from a great organization here in town that recycles bikes and does its part to cut down on gas use. I have to admit, this is the one piece of advice that the president has given that I feel I can get behind. Drive less, people!

OK, friends, I must go and get myself back to the theatre. We are doing a run through of sorts at 5 and then there is some party we are going to and we will soon be familiar with the hipster side if Minneapolis. Someone will have to point it out to me of course as I am hipness-awareness-impaired but I will report what comes my way.

Any suggestions from the public about what coolness is to be had here in the Twin Cities would be greatly appreciated.

Peace, love and summer sausage,

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

does whatever a spider can

name: Spider
job: video intern and production assistant
height: 5'2"
computer: i-mac
What makes you a Builder?: "Avanti last year in South Bend, Indiana."
favorite thing about the Builders: "People are nice."
snack food of choice: potato chips

This is Spider. Spider is her stage name. Or camera name, I should say. She lives in Flushing. We meet Spider last year at Notre Dame University, where she worked with us on Avanti and when she got the call to come to New York and work on Super Vision, she packed her bags and here she is. Spider is good people, as we used to say in DC.

It is now about ten days since rehearsals have finished. We did two showings of the piece for invited friends, sort of dress rehearsals with audiences and I think they went really really well. The weather was atrocious the first night, Thursday the 22nd. The humidity reached Katrina-like proportions and inside the theatre, it was predictably swampy. The second night was better, as the damp sort of dissipated.

I must make a correction to this blog. All apologies to the little Chihuahua and I hope she will not be too mad at me for this but I have spelled her name wrong! It is Poireau, not Poirrot. She is a little leek, not a fictional inspector. Sorry little doggy. We love you still.

After the showings came the monumental task of taking everything apart and putting it in the road boxes that were built by Neal and Joe and Jamie and the rest of the crew. This took a lot of work and a long time and it was a Herculean effort to get it all ready for the arrival of the truck to carry it all away. There were several all-night experiences I believe and as far as I know, they did not involve fun drugs beyond what the Red Bull section in the local deli case had to offer. Hats off to the brave heroes of the strike and thanks for all your hard superhuman work.

It's all in the truck now and it is somewhere between NYC and our first gig. The world premiere at the William and Nadine McGuire Theater at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN. We are all looking forward to letting the great big world see our work and seeing how this inquisitive exploration into the datasphere impacts real spectators.

I was thrilled to learn that Minneapolis does have a women's roller derby team and I was crushed to find out that they will be in town and doing there thing the same night we are, meaning I cannot go. And I have missed the state fair by weeks. I'm sure there will be other ways to entertain myself (in all my copious spare time) and I will endeavor to log on and report the findings of all adventures taken by our band of avant-gardistes. If anyone out there has good suggestions on what to do when in the Twin Cities, please feel free to comment. But do me a favor and don't post comments that act like they are saying something personal but just turn out to be advertising. Spare us all.

I did not take the bridge either to or from work those last two days. Rain threatened and then I was way uptown in Manhattan and did not have the travel time to get to Brooklyn on my own power. But I did ride my cycle home on the Saturday after the showings, after going to fetch it where I'd left it at the theatre and helped a wee bit with an exciting upholstery project that Stewart and Marianne had taken on. The bridge was full of happy cyclists, not the usual hard boiled commuter weekday crowd. And a gaggle of tourists blocking up the pathway, as tourists the world over do. They seemed to be enjoying themselves up there on that beautiful day. We all did.

See you in Minneapolis,