Of course, the album project will take up a lot of it. But, as I've written
before, along with seeing
I also hope to get in at least a couple days camping, some place local,
being the key word.
DO I HAVE
After some experimentation, some trial and error, I believe I have
a master of "Identity," the opening cut for the album,
that I am happy with. More importantly, I have some setting standards
for the remastering of the other nine songs, eleven, if we count the
extra tracks* for each of the single releases last year.
I don't quite have the volume that I want for this master, but it's
still a decent volume. Speaking of volume, one problem I was having
was that when I was pushing the volume on the master, I was getting
a reverb-like effect that was not intended nor wanted. I found that
if I pull down the overall
in the stereo output for the mastering project, then I could increase
either volume or gain, of a combination thereof, and get the music
louder without that reverb; the mix stays cleaner, too, much like
what I was discovering about lowering the EQ for during the mixing
phase. But in the master for this song, I dropped the overall EQ
down to -10, which is a bit lower than I had in any of the mixing
The part that is beyond my technical understanding is how I have
of -10, and yet the volume seems to sound lower than that to me.
It's a sound engineering knowledge base thing that is outside my
limited "expertise." But, I at least have clarity to the
mix, which is most important. I can distinguish all the instruments
and voices in their placements in the
I rendered both a WAV file
and an MP3 file
of this master and both sound good. I also downloaded a virtual amp
for my MacBook Pro's
system audio so I could hear the song at a louder level in my
I suppose I could engage a professional mastering service, but,
really this is something I want to learn how to conquer. I came
across one youtube video about how to get the master louder, but
the guy's audio was not great in the video, which didn't come off
as a good endorsement of his know-how, so I left after just a
minute or so.
Well, the new remaster of "The Night Before the Night
Before Christmas" is next. Likely later today.
Though I will be
setting aside enough time to at least watch episode 4:6 of
*) My plan is to re-release both singles. Whether I do so
with the extra tracks again, I have not decided. I am leaning
toward not doing so, just putting the remasters of the
"A-sides" out, along with reposting the music
videos with the new audio plugged in. But, that does not
mean that those extra tracks,
"Roll the Dice"
"I'll Be Home for Christmas"
won't end up on some deluxe version of the album at some point.
"'We hold these truths to be self-evident,' they said, 'that
all men are created equal.' Strange as it may seem, that was the
first time in history that anyone had bothered to write that down.
Decisions are made by those who show up. Class dismissed."
-- President Josiah Bartlet, (as written by
The West Wing,
Season 1: episode 22
"What Kind of Day Has It Been?"
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one
people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them
with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the
separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of
Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of
mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel
them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the
pursuit of Happiness.
--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among
Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of
these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish
it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such
principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them
shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established
should not be changed for light and transient causes; and
accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more
disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right
themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing
invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under
absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw
off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future
--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such
is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former
Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great
Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all
having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny
over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and
necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and
pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till
his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has
utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of
large districts of people, unless those people would
relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a
right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual,
uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public
Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into
compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for
opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to
cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers,
incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large
for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time
exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States;
for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of
Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their
migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new
Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing
his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure
of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither
swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies
without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and
superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction
foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws;
giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any
Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a
neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary
government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at
once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same
absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable
Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves
invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his
Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns,
and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign
Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and
tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy
scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally
unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the
high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the
executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall
themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has
endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the
merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an
undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress
in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been
answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus
marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the
ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren.
We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their
legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We
have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and
settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and
magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common
kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably i
nterrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been
deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must,
therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our
Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies
in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America,
in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of
the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name,
and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly
publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right
ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved
from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political
connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and
ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent
States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract
Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things
which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of
this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine
Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our
Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in
the positions indicated:
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Robert Treat Paine
POST PRODUCTION MOVES FORWARD; PRACTICE SEEMS IN LIMBO:
Yesterday I remixed
"The Night Before the Night Before Christmas," and remixed
"Icebergs." Well, I actually tweaked the mix, earlier
this morning. So, two songs, in the this presumed final
mastering of the album, are fully finished.
Of course, all of it included the same stuff: adjusting
and volume & gain. To a certain extent I attended to the
reading: for "The Night Before...," since I remastered that
one. I only moved one sound in the
in the ending vamp of "Icebergs."
You, know, I have not played any of my basses nor any of my
keyboards since I wrapped recording the instrumental, "Cozy
Cottage," in January. For those keeping count, that's six
months ago. I haven't played any instruments for a half year. I
guess I can call myself a musician, but perhaps not as serious a
musican as I ought to be.
Here I am, trying to finally get a full-length album of my original
music out into the wild, and I can't really currently label myself
a practicing musician, the key word being "practicing." I
can say the same thing about myself as a singer, too. The bottom
line is that I suck at making time to rehearse.
It'd be convenient to blame it on all the different artistic directions
I am pulled, plus adding in that most inconvenient forty hours a
week I have to commit to at the
I am distracted by other arty ventures, theatre stuff, for sure.
Plus, this postproduction for the album is certainly time consuming.
And, yeah, in many, many ways I so look forward to that time when
I can retire from the rent-payer and have my week free to pursue
any and all my artistic wants and needs. Still, I ought to be able
to have the discipline to set time aside to rehearse on my
instruments, as well as at the bare minimum, do vocal warmups on a
On a related note to that "rehearsing" thing, I
would need to relearn somewhere in the neighborhood of 90%,
maybe 95% of the songs that will be on this album. The
two songs from the past, "The Answer" and
"Memories of the Times Before," would be much
easier because I did actually practice those songs a bit
back in my youth, the basic piano parts for those two, at
least. The rest of the instrumentation for those would be
in the same category as the rest of the songs, the new ones.
I wrote them; I arranged them as I was recording them; I
worked things out and recorded them, then that was it.
Once the recording was done, I haven't played any of them,
any of the instrumental parts, again. I believe this is a
point that I am sure I've made at some point in the past on
this blog, but there we are.
Meanwhile, some semi-obligatory images to illustrate the latest
Two down, eight to go, this pass through.
*TECHNICALLY TWO AND A HALF DOWN,
SEVEN AND A HALF TO GO, SINCE I'M WORKING
ON NUMBER THREE
The mixing board window in the
mixing project for "Icebergs."
A LITTLE PRE-CAMPING INVESTIGATION:
Though I thought maybe I wouldn't go camping during this little
after all, I went ahead and reserved two nights in the middle of
next week at
Caesar Creek State Park.
Saturday I drove down to Caesar Creek, mostly because I wanted to
go hiking someplace I haven't hiked before. While I was there I
checked out the campgrounds and saw that a lot of the tent sites
look nice, with some decent tree shade. I actually noted specific
lots. So, I reserved Wednesday and Thursday night at one of them.
After the fact, I checked the weather only to see that there is
varying degrees of chances of rain (and frequently "scattered
thunderstorms") both Wednesday and Thursday, ranging from 40%
to 60%. I'm going to chance it, since I can't cancel without
forfeiting a big chunk of the reservation fees.
I have hopeful plans to rent a kayak while there on Thursday to go
on an excursion in the lake. It's only forty-five bucks for three
hours, though I'm betting the life jacket is extra. Let's just
hope the weather predictions are overstated.
Following are some pics from my investigative hike Saturday, when
it was a little less than partly cloudy:
The jazz/pop instrumental, "Icebergs," is now
I finished it around midnight last night. I move on now to work on
the fourth song in the album line-up, that being "Chilled
October Morning," with which I was attempting a hybrid of
and Rush. There's a bit of a
folksong sound to it that morphs into progrock. Whether it meets
the Thompson/Rush goal I intended remains to be seen (or heard).
I believe I achieved it, but I have a friend who's a big
Richard Thompson fan and he doesn't hear Richard at all. But I have
spoken to others who've heard the song who do hear that connection,
albeit after I mentioned it was part of my goal, so that may have
influenced their ears. Well, it's next, successful Richard Thompson
homage or not.
Tonight I see Mr. Gaffigan
for the third time. The Fraze
being an outdoor venue, with a "rain or shine" policy,
and the forecast being for a 48% chance of a thunderstorm, I will
be bringing a rain jacket ‐‐ umbrellas are not
allowed in the facility. I've been to a few concerts there, in
fact, the last time I saw Jim it was at The Fraze, and thus far I've
been lucky that there's been no rain during a show. Considering that
it's already rained once today, it seems the rain-free Fraze
attendance run will not extend to tonight.
And then there's my camping trip the next two nights at
Caesar Creek State Park,
with the forcast of even greater chances of thunder storms....
AND WHAT ABOUT LAST YEAR'S AWESOME
I never did get to the blog recounting of my Summer
Get Away 2021, from this same time
last summer. I've started doing a little bit of work on that most
tardy telling of that great trip.
As to whether or not it will materialize as a post "soon,"
is pretty debatable, but at least it's now in the works. It's
probable that I'll post about my recent
2022 before I get to last summer's
might get to this current
2022, which I'm on, right now, before I get the 2021 one.
But, again, at least it's in the works with HTML code and the basic
template for the page done, and even some prose written and graphics
created. So stay tuned.
"Chilled October Morning," my so-called
hybrid, is now
I did the mixing yesterday afternoon. The mastering session was
after I got home from the Jim Gaffigan
show, last night. Next on the agenda is the "official"
remastering of "Just One Shadow,"
but it's not probable that I'll get to that until Saturday, maybe
Friday afternoon, but Saturday seems more likely.
GAFFIGAN LAST NIGHT, CAMPING TODAY:
As luck would have it, it did not rain last night during the
stand-up show at
The show was pretty good, though Jim spent almost all his time on
stage addressing the people to his right, those being the audience
on the other side of the Fraze seating from where I was. I rarely
saw his whole face; it was mostly profiles of his face and often
mostly the back his head. But I'll write more on the show later.
As for rain today, especially after I arrive late this afternoon at
Caesar Creek State Park
for my two scheduled nights of camping, I guess we will see what
the weather has in mind*. I at least hope it isn't raining when I
arrive so I am spared the delima of pitching the tent in the rain.
I won't be thrilled about pitching it on wet soil, but that would
be better than also putting it up in the rain. Yesterday I purchased
enough wood for two nights of fire pits at the campsite, vying to
think hopefully about the weather.
Beyond that, I still hold out hope that I'll be able to get some
decent hiking in and that I'll be able to rent a kayak for an
excursion on the lake sometime during the day on Thursday. I haven't
kayaked in something like forty-five years, and I have my heart set
on it during this camping trip.
*) Never mind the fact that there's already been one thunder shower, earlier today.
At my local firewood connection, yesterday afternoon:
thirty pieces of firewood for fifteen bucks.
Though I did not get to it on Saturday, as I had expected I would,
I didremix and
"Just One Shadow" yesterday. Technically it's the second
remaster of the song, but, it's still the first official
remaster of the song to be released. But wait, I'm not finished; I
remixed and remastered "The Answer" yesterday, too. Now
there are "Burning Bridge," "Cozy Cottage,"
"Memories of the Times Before," and "Into the Blue
Dawn" left to tackle, plus most of the graphic artwork.
IT'S BACK TO THE GRIND:
2022 is officially over. There'll be some blogging about it. I have
a slew of pics to process, plus I probably ought to blog the
In case you were wondering, the
concert, last Friday night was damn good. I think of the three times
I've seen her, it was the best show, though I liked the play list
from the first show, back in 2003, a little better ‐‐
more album cuts. But, I'll get into detail about last Friday when
I blog the whole
The remixing and
of the Virtually Approximate Subterfuge album continues.
The rocker, "Burning Bridge," is finished, and I am 99.9%
done with the jazzy instrumental, "Cozy Cottage"; I only
have a minor tweak to do in the mastering project.
It's been the same process of resetting the
gains and the track volumes, taking them all to -6, at least as a
starting place, as well as bumping down the lower frequencies (the
bass) a little bit, all in the remix. Then, in remastering, I've
started with the master project settings of the album opener,
"Identity," then tweaking each from there as needed. But
starting with those settings helps give consistency to the overall
Next is "Memories of the Times Before," formerly,
"Medley: The Death of the... (etc)," then the closing
rocker, "Into the Blue Dawn."
THAT'S A WRAP FOR FF22:
Last weekend was
at the Dayton Playhouse,
and though I'll go into more detail when I blog about it as part of
my recounting of
2022, I will state now that there were six strong finalist
plays, and that there were quite a few outstanding performances on
the FF22 stage.
The winning play is
Every Livin' Soul
by William Cameron.
directed. Ray directed me in a FF show several years ago, titled,
A Woman on the Cusp, by
The stellar cast of Every Livin' Soul was, in order of appearance,
Steve Mongelli, Kathryn Gainey-West, Steve Heman, Mandy Shannon,
and Brandon Shockney.
Above: William Cameron accepting his award.
To the right: The Every Livin' Soul
playwright with the cast and director ‐‐
(left to right): Kathryn Gainey-West,
Ray Gambrel, William Cameron, Mandy Shannon,
Brandon Shockney, and Steve Heman. (not pictured: Steve Mongelli)
Predictably, spending the weekend watching six new plays, hearing
the adjudications, discussing these plays, playwrighting in general,
and/or socializing with FF audience members, the playwrights, the
adjudicators, and actors, pretty much being immersed in the theatre
world of new works, I pulled up my own play manuscript in
Final Draft and have done
a little bit of tweaking and fiddling.
By the way, in case anyone who would be familiar enough to think
this, was wondering, I did submit my play to this year's
festival. Clearly it did not make the finals. I don't think it even
made the second round of readings.
Technically there's more left to do than to "go 'Into the Blue
Dawn,'" but in terms of the major portion of the
of the album project, that is what is left.
There were a few tweaks that I ended up making to the jazzy/pop
instrumental "Cozy Cottage," all to get the ending of the
song to be as climactic as I want. To that end I did some adjustments
in the mix, and then in the master.
"Memories of the Times Before (pt.1-4)," (formerly
"Medley: The Death of the... (etc)"), was next and
it took a little longer than I'd anticipated to get a volume
balance between all the parts, as well as to get the right
settings for some tracks, especially the lead vocal, the latter to
end up with a tone that I was satisfied with. But I finished the
remix/remaster last night.
Actually there are two finished masters of that last one. Last week
I played the song for my old music collaborator, Rich Hisey, who
wrote the lyrics, and he suggested that I either change the
EQ and volume level of the light, brush-stroked drum part in
"(pt.1)," which is instrumental, or drop the drum kit out
altogether in that movement. His feeling was that the drums,as they
were, were an unnecessary distraction in the mix he heard. So, I
have mastered two versions, each that utilizes one of those two
suggestions. I have yet to decide which one will go on the album.
Otherwise, by the way, the versions are mixed the same.
Next, and last, is the album closer, the rocker, "Into the
Blue Dawn." That work may just happen this evening, at least
the remixing, if not the remastering. Of course, once I have remastered
this one, I will feel obligated to go back, scrutinize each
recording and possibly (probably) make any adjustments that I deem
necessary. One big thing will be to again assess if all the master
volumes are consistent with each other.
As I've written before, there's then a slew of stuff to do to get
Virtually Approximate Subterfuge ready to release. I have to
do the album booklet, including writing some
Plus I need to get some business done that concerns being sure that
Rich will properly get any composer royalties as the collaborator
on "Memories of the Times Before (pt.1-4.") that are due
to him., As well, there is other music business stuff related to
the album and its release. One of those other things is getting
everything registered with the
U.S. Copyright Office.
That will cost money, as will there be release fees with
CD Baby, and money is tight right
now. But, I will figure it out, one way or another.
FROM HALF RHYMES TO TARANTINO ‐‐ (AN UNEXPECTED PATH):
Over the FutureFest
weekend, I shared with FF adjudicator and New York drama critic,
that I have an album coming out "soon" ‐‐
(whatever "soon" means) ‐‐ and Peter asked
me to send him some MP3s,
if I had any. I sent him the links to the music videos for the two
already-released songs, "Just One Shadow" and "The
Night Before the Night Before Christmas," and I sent him an MP3
of the pop/jazz ballad, "The Answer." Of course, the two
videos tout the original masters of the audio recordings, but, still,
they don't sound horrible, and the songwriting and musical performances
are clearly observable.
Peter's eventual feedback, after the weekend was over ‐‐
he was a bit busy during the weekend ‐‐ was quite
charitable. He complemented my melodies, "The melodies are
terrific," and went on to tell me that my "lyric images
are very good, too" and that I create a "wonderful mood
We also had a brief discussion about perfect rhymes as opposed to
half rhymes; there are some half rhymes in "Just One Shadow."
Peter pointed out that in the classical musical genre, lyricists
opt for the perfect rhyme, but that in pop music it's not as rigid
a practice. I'd say, in jazz, too, it's not as rigid. This discussion
brought to mind one of the first lessons I ever received in song
writing, and especially in lyric writing, and, probably in art in
general, at least on a conscious level.
I was somewhere in my late adolescence, maybe about twelve, maybe
a little older. It was the Beatle
song, "She Said, She Said,"
which, though technically a Lennon-&-McCartney credited composition,
is actually virtually, if not completely, composed by
John Lennon. There's a
verse, repeated twice in the song, where John sings:
I said, even though you know what you know
I know that I'm ready to leave(1)
Did you catch it? Do you see the lesson in song writing, in lyrics?
"I know that I'm ready to‐‐" Did your mind not
expect the word "go," to rhyme with "know,"
rather than "leave" to finish that line? That confounding
of expectation appealed to me immediately. I always thought it was
such a clever move, and I am, to this day, 100% positive that Lennon
purposefully chose "leave" for exactly the reason that it
was not the rhyme that is naturally expected.
There are also, I might add, half-rhyme and free-verse lyrical
lines in "She Said, She Said." But the big point for me,
the big lesson, is about that confounding of expectations. This
blog entry is couched in the topic of song writing and lyrics,
but really, the concept here goes beyond that. For me it moves on
into music composition and on from there into story telling, whether
that is in fiction prose, playwright work, or screen writing.
How interesting is it when the piece of art we are taking in takes
an unexpected turn, smacks us with surprise? I find it especially
delicious when there was foreshadowing so subtle that we can't
recognize it as such until after the reveal, that of course being
more a discussion of prose literature and scripts, though I suppose
it can be relevant to lyrics and poetry, too, in some circumstances.
Those few of you who have followed this blog to some extent, or who
may be someone who is part of my local theatre life, may know that
one of my favorite plays to have done, one of my fondest stage
memoreis, was appearing in
On of the reasons is because that script, that story confounds
expectations. The story takes a different path than anyone would
guess. The conversation does not become what we anticipate it will.
The two characters are revealed as different than perhaps what we
project they should be.
Here's a drastically different example. The cold opening of the
long-running, primetime cartoon,
always successfully sets up the plot for the episode, yet, frequently,
though it's ultimately a logical set up for the episode, it has no
direct relevance to what it leads to. Such as this episode from
quite a while ago:
Homer is impatient with the fund-raising drive on the local
public TV station, so he pledges thousands of dollars just
to shut them up so they'll get back to the programming. PBS
sends the "pledge enforcement team" to collect the
loot. Homer runs and ends up on a remote island where the
local tribe make him their king (or a god ‐‐ it's
been a while).
Who's going to anticipate that development?
Thus far, I've avoided using the term plot twist, but, for scripts
and other fiction, clearly plot twists come into this conversation.
It is what I'm writing about, for the most part, in terms of fiction.
I'm not sure the Simpsons example is a plot twist as much as
a launching pad to a different location than one thinks was the aim.
It works in the case of the cartoon because the writers are clever.
It is the unexpected served up so we can make sense of it. Going
back to the Lennon/McCartney song, "leave" doesn't rhyme
with "know," but it is the same action as "go,"
so it is still logical, it still makes sense to us. Homer ends up
revered on the remote island because when he impatiently pledged
money he didn't have, he set up a chain of events that each logically
followed the one before them. despite that at the start, the ending
could not be predicted.
What about The Sixth Sense?
There's a clear example of us not seeing the obvious foreshadowing
until after the reveal. For the love of Pete, we witness
Malcolm get shot at almost the start of the movie, shot badly, yet,
it doesn't't occur to hardly anyone that he is dead throughout the
movie.Yes, yes, there are some people who, at the least, suspect
it, but most of us do not. And when you watch the movie again, there
are so many blatant clues, all the way through the film. Clues such
as how he never actually interacts with anyone but Cole
(Haley Joel Osment),
the young psychic who can see and communicate with the sprits of
the dead. We think we see him interacting with his supposedly
cold, unresponsive wife, Anna
but of course, we are as misguided as is Malcom. When his wedding
ring rolls across the floor near the end, doesn't it have such a
strong impact for such a subtle reveal?
Then there's the unexpected shock, where the change is a sudden smack
to the senses. Take the 1996,
From Dusk Till Dawn.
We have an intense film about murderous criminals, desperados on the
run, who take a man and his daughter hostage. Then, on a dime, it
becomes a vampire horror movie, out of nowhere. Some people hated
that. I loved it!
I'm sure some can apply this use of the unexpected to other forms
of art, oil painting, sculpture, etc. I know it can apply in the
art of musical composition and arrangement: the surprise key change
or tempo or time signature change. The song that does not resolve at
the end to the key signature chord, often done in jazz. Being a
Beatle fanatic, I bring them up again by citing the abrupt cut-off
at the end of
"I want You (She's So Heavy),"
another Lennon song, though that's as much engineering as it is
composition, but, the decision to do it is still composition.
I'm not really making any sort of argument here. It's really more
a musing, a loose discussion that came to mind over a discussion I
had with Peter about full rhymes verses half rhymes, which led to
"Know/Leave" instead of "Know/Go," and then down
the rabbit hole from there all the way to Quentin Tarantino. I
suppose, in a real way, this blog entry is almost an illustration
of that musing.
Could it be possible? Is there some real chance that the entire album
repertoire is remixed and remastered? Is it safe to look to a near
finish line and that August-2022 release date?
This new release date is twelve months past the original release-date
Clearly, the closing song, "Into the Blue Dawn," is now
Now, as I wrote in the last blog entry, I need to review all ten
remastered pieces to be sure I have a normalized, overall volume
level for the whole repertoire. As well I need to give each mix
one last listen, to be sure all the instrument and vocal levels
satisfy me. I want to be sure the audio tone of each song is a
reasonable match to the rest of the collection, too.
I also will pay particular attention to the sound of the lead vocals.
I think I haven't yet achieved the engineering knowledge to record
my vocals at peak efficiency ‐‐ probably all vocals. I
keep getting hot spots, or other distortions, especially on certain
vowels. I have had to finesse the
and often add
for a few vocal tracks, so I'll be scrutinizing the quality of the
audio on my vocals. I attended to all this during this whole
remix/remaster process, but, I just want to go back and be sure.
To restate what I have written before, I hope, shortly, I'll be
designing and creating the graphic artwork for the album booklet,
where I also plan to write a page of
I'd actually designed most of the graphics for the booklet a few
months back, but I have scrapped that version. There is also still
all that other business to deal with:
assuring that Rich Hisey gets any composer royalties due
as the collaborator on "Memories of the Times Before
THE MASTERING REVIEW HAS BEGUN, AND YES THERE WILL BE TWEAKS:
Could anyone who knows me to any reasonable extent be at all surprised
that I have found things to tweak in the so-called "finished"
master recording? The good thing is that, at the moment, it doesn't
look like there's a lot of work to fix the flaws I identified in the
Before I take much action, I do want to listen to the entire repertoire
a few more ways. Last night I listened, via
Quicktime, on the
auxiliary speakers I plug into my
earphone jack. I also need to listen to the album pieces with
my earphones, from QT on the laptop. Plus I want to listen to it
freshly loaded into my Apple music app (formerly iTunes), through
both the aux speakers and the phones. Then I need to listen to it
on earphones through the music app on my iPhone.
Still, there are a few things, you can see on the list in the image
above of my Mac Notes doc, that I can address before I do the other
reviews, the volume issues being the prominent things that I can get
To reiterate what I wrote in the June 26 blog entry,
I was at my campsite on
camping on the side of a Smokey mountain and saw that I had a
voicemail from Carol Finley, a member of the HOF committee, and
already an inductee, herself. In her message she asked me to call
her back as soon as I could. When I called her back, she said,
"It's my privilege to inform you that you're being inducted
into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame." I was a bit nonplussed
for a few minutes.
Like this year's other three inductees, I am still in bit of
disbelief that this has really happened. It's most touching and I
am quite honored that the committee and the Dayton theatre community
believe I deserve such an honor.
The support of my fellow Dayton theatre people has been lovely, and
I am also happy that some of my family could be there to witness
this event in my arts life. My sister Pat and my brother-in-law Joe
were there, as was my niece Beth and her husband Bill. I regret that
the extended family is no longer the closer knit family unit it was
when I was growing up. I wish I could have shared this with other
members, folk I hardly ever am in contact with any more. But that's
a whole essay on its own. And I wish my parants could have been
sitting in that audience, but, they both passed on the late
twentieth century, before I even returned to the theatre arts.
During that initial phone call with Carol, I asked her to induct me
and I was quite flattered with the speech she gave. I, in fact,
felt like she was overstating me a little bit. But I was moved
almost to tears before I got up to give my acceptance speech.
The speech follows. I have tried to plug in the extemporaneous things
I added as I spoke, as I remember having said them:
MY DAYTON THEATRE HALL OF FAME ACCEPTANCE SPEECH
Thank you for this honor, it's an unanticipated accolade
that has had me dumbfounded since I got the news. When
Carol told me I was being inducted, that I was receiving
this overwhelming honor, I believe my exact response was:
If I were to describe how I've felt since learning this
most-flattering news, up to, and including right now, it
would be that I feel like I'm the teenager who, for the
first time, has been invited to sit at Thanksgiving dinner
table with the adults.
I know I'm recognized more for sound design, and I am most
proud of the sound design work I've accomplished. But that's
not what brought me to the theatre community, and it's not
what keeps me here. It's not why, on January 19th, 2004, at
forty-five years of age, I walked into the Dayton Theatre
Guild, in its old haunts on Salem Avenue, and auditioned
for The Cripple of Inishmaan.
I grew up predominantly around adults. Because of that,
I figured out at a fairly young age that the people on TV
were grown-ups who got to play-act. I knew that wasn't Little
Joe, that it was Michael Landon PLAYING Little Joe
‐‐ for those you old enough to know who the hell
I'm talking about.
From a young age, I wanted to be one those play-acting
grown-ups. I didn't play cops and robbers, I pretended to
be an actor in the role of a cop or a robber for a TV show
or a movie. I wasn't Captain Kirk, I was William Shatner on
the set of Star Trek. And I see a lot of heads
nodding, so I guess I'm not all that unique.
As a freshman at Wilbur Wright High School, I finally,
officially acted on stage, as Jamie the Cockney in My
Fair Lady. I then appeared in all but one subsequent play,
and did so under the direction and tutelage of Chuck Scott.
Chuck taught me a hefty amount of what I know about the
fundamentals of acting and of theatre. Chuck was on The Guild
board and took us high school theatre nerds to the final
dresses of Guild productions.
So, after more than a quarter-century, after some events we
don't have time for now, when I came to the point that I
could no longer fight the hunger to return to acting, it was
The Guild where I went to satiate that craving.
Just shy of twenty-seven years after I finished my high
school tenure as Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on
the Way to the Forum, I walked onto The Guild stage in
my next role, Johnny Pateen in The Cripple of Inishmaan.
I had gone after the role of the doctor, because it was
smaller, but that role went to Jim Lockwood, may he rest
And that stellar cast embraced me. Then they, and our
excellent director, Greg Smith, demonstrated from the first
rehearsal, that professionalism has nothing to do with the
size, or in this case, even the existence, of a paycheck.
Before too long, I found myself on the board of directors
at The Guild. Now, here I am, about to enter my twentieth
season in the Dayton theatre community, and my nineteenth
season on The Guild board of directors.
Like the rest of you, I feel quite lucky to be a part of
this magnificent theatre community. The Dayton arts community
in general is a lovely, thriving, living entity.
I'm extremely proud of my home theatre and the work we produce.
I know I'm biased, but we hit far, far more than we miss.
I also have great admiration for the fine work produced by
the other Dayton theatres, and I have been privileged to be
a part of some of that fine work.
It would be dishonest to say that it doesn't matter to me
that I have acted on our home-town equity stage, at The
Human Race. Because I take pride in the fact that I have
achieved that ‐‐ and, it's too bad that neither
Emily or Tara are here because I was going to suck up to
them to remind them that I hope to again.
But in terms of the work, I've felt as equally happy with
the so-called non-professional work I've done in so-called
non-professional productions. I assert that the cliched,
Waiting-for-Guffman community theatre is an anomaly
in this theatre community. I don't believe I am kidding
myself when I say that we have been known for our habits of
rising to a professional-quality level of production and
I believe that there are few people in this room who would
ever say, "after all, this is only community theatre."
I believe we're more likely to say, "let's be excellent."
Thank you profoundly for this honor, but thank you more for
the honor of being part of this wonderful theatre community,
one where we do our best to be excellent.
Thank you, I'll see you all at the next curtain up.
On the patio, doing the last work on the acceptance
Sunday afternoon, rehearsing the speech.
Dressed up in my version of "Coctail Formal."
My Family and me at the ceremony
Getting the award, hugging Carol for her awesome
induction speech, and then giving my own speech
these last 3 photos are by Mandy Shannon
AN ALREADY RICH UNIVERSE IS NOW A LITTLE BIT FULLER:
There was something I wanted to do in the
for the universe where both my, very-as-of-yet unfinished
novel manuscript as well the play I am currently working on, off
and on. As is always the case, if I open up any of those story bible
documents I fall into a rabbit hole and end up spending more time
than I had gone in planning on.
The irony is that the periods of time I worked on during this latest
endeavor happen a decade after the play takes place and more than
two decades after the time period of the novel. What can I say? I
could feel like it was a ridiculous diversion from other, more
pressing art stuff, such as the album project, and I could feel like
it was time wasted, but I do not. As the title of this section says,
"An already rich universe is now a little bit fuller,"
and I now have an even stronger feel for, not only my main character,
but other characters as well.
Last night the whole Playwright Race company got together in the
lobby of The Loft Theatre
for a meet-n'greet, as well as orientation. Then lotteries decided
which actors were with which
which team each playwright
was writing their five-minute play for, then, what would the playwrights
be writing: what Dayton locale would be the setting, then what
relationships would be in the play. Each director also brought in
their own PAs
I am on Team 1. Our director is Marya Spring Cordes and our
playwright is Ada W. Wood. Our play takes place on a bike trail
and the relationship a child and a cartoon character.
STILL TRUDGING THE LONG & WINDING ROAD TO RELEASE DATE,
AND OTHER CONSIDERATIONS:
I am still pluggin' along with the
It would seem like getting the different sonic elements in a piece
to good volume balances against each other, then getting the
between each separate piece balanced, would be easy. It would seem
adjusting the EQ
on vocals so they are honed to the spot where the quality is at its
optimum would be a peace of cake. All that probably is a walk in the
park for a seasoned audio engineer, however, despite that there are
some who believe I am such an audio engineer, I am not. I am closer
to a novice, one who knows a few things, but a novice all the same,
and one right now dancing on a sometimes acutely steep learning
Over the weekend I ran into a couple film makers I know and I was
talking about my learning curve at mastering this album, and one of
them suggested I go ahead and spend the money to have the project
professionally mastered. My response was that I could do that, or I
could persist and end up learning a lot through the trials and
tribulations of this DIY approach. Plus, I don't have a budget to
get the thing mastered by a pro service.
As for what's been happening: I did that review that I said I would
do of my recent remastering, and have found many things to adjust,
much of the sort of things that I mentioned in the first paragraph
Also, as I was listening to the jazz instrumental "Cozy Cottage,"
during this review, I decided that title is not an exact fit, so I
have changed the title to "Cozy Anxious Chaos." I believe
that suits the feel of piece much better.
And so, I trudge on, the road may be long and winding, but there
is a destination at the end of the journey.
Certainly I am experiencing a tick up in my impatience to get this
album project out into the wild. It's now a full year behind my
original release-date goal. However, I want it to be worthy of release,
and right now it's not there. It's getting there, but it hasn't arrived.
But my restlessness about finishing it is aggravated by my urge to
start working on new music. I have a few songs that have been started
that I want to get back to. I have some stuff from back, last
century that I'd like to record, which includes some more collaborations
with Rich Hisey that we've been talking about recording together
‐‐ (and how weird is
it that "last century" is not hyperbole?)
There's also the mixing and mastering of a full-length, double
album I recorded in the mid-eighties that I want to get to. I am
sure I have mentioned it before in a blog entry here. That album is
titled Heart Walks. It was recorded at Rich's, in his music
room, using his Moog synthesizers, his Fender Rhodes piano, his
Fostex 4-track cassette recorder, and his equipment. The only
hardware that was mine was my
original Epiphone Embassy Pro Bass.
But my heavy itch is to write some new music. I am fighting that
itch until Virtually Approximate Subterfuge is out in the
world...........to rake in the dozens
of sales it will garner (if I'm lucky). I don't want
to get distracted from the project, that will just delay it even
I also have an album's-worth of ambient music/sound that I could
easily master and market. I put it together a few years back for a
theatre production for which I was the
It may actually be the most marketable material in my canon, yet
not nearly as good, in the end, as anything else in my repertoire.
THE FIVE-MINUTE POP-UP PLAYS AT DAYTON'S 'ART IN THE CITY' FESTIVAL
The five-minute, pop-up plays the
Human Race Theatre Company
put on at the
Dayton Art in the City
festival were a fun event to be a part of. As you know if you read
previous blog posts, the
and we actors, gathered last Friday evening at
The Loft Theatre
to put together the teams of actors, directors, playwrights, and
scenarios (location and relationships of character). Five teams, each
with three actors, were decided by lottery, in terms of all of the
elements. Once the teams and their scenarios were decided, Friday
evening, the playwrights had until 8:30 Saturday morning to write
their five-minute play.
As I wrote Saturday, I was on Team 1. Our director was Marya Spring
Cordes and our playwright was Ada W. Wood. My two castmates were
Terry Clark Linden and Libby Scancarello. Our play took place on a
bike trail and the relationship was a child and a cartoon character.
Ada wrote a play about a little girl, Emily, who falls off her bike
and is admonished by her parents for not wearing her helmet. Emily
then has visions of her mom and dad turning into cartoon characters.
Libby was Emily, Terry was Mom, and I was Dad. It was a really cute
little story where we all got quite physical: running, spinning,
and jumping about. It was fun but pretty exhausting. It didn't
help that it was hot and humid out. I did love the opportunity
to go over the top when I played Cartoon Dad. I confess that I had
to push it a little to match Ms. Linden's physicality when we were
Cartoon Mom & Dad, but, hey, challenge accepted and delivered.
We won't discuss how
my front leg muscles (aka: rectus femoris) are still stiff and sore.
an elderly mother who freaks out her son by getting a date
a man who misses his recently deceased father so much that
he imagines a hat he can wear that allows them to speak to each other
a robot like juke box
an auction where a woman is selling her friendship because
she was somehow betrayed by a friend who is there to try and
purchase back the friendship
I'd attribute who was in each team save for the fact that I don't
know who all the names of all the actors, etc., belong to, and I
don't want to misattribute. But there were a total of about
thirty people involved. Below is a group shot we took after our
three hours of rehearsal Saturday morning and just prior to the lunch
break we had before heading out into the wilds.
The actors were: Andrew Ian Adams, Bryana Bently, Erin Butcher, Saul
Caplan, Jamie Cordes, Gina Handy, Tim Lile, Teri Clark Linden, Rico
Parker, Katie Pees, Fran Pesch, Jason Podplesky, Libby Scancarello,
K.L. Storer, and Marva Williams-Parker.
I don't know all the PAs names but our team's was Aliya Pimenthal,
and Brian Buttrey was PA for Anne Pesch.
Of course, few of us were
‐‐ although some were! ‐‐ so we had
scripts in hand as we played. It was, indeed, a great time.
Everyone had a blast. I would do it again if recruited.
And, Hey! We got paid!!
Above: us Team 1 actors doing our thing
Left: the whole Playwrights Race company.
above photo by Sarah Caplan
left photo: either Kappy Kilburn or
How self-aggrandizing is it for me to say I am getting
impatient to finally have a mixed-master of my album to put
out in the wilds because I am totally enamored with the work
I've created, and I can't wait for people to hear it?
At least more people than the few who have heard sneak-preview,
All I can say, is my leaning into a quasi-perfectionism,
which has retarded the progress, won't stop it from eventually
being a finished product. I believe that the "Coming Soon"
promise will SOON be fulfilled.
And, to be less-than humble, I have decided I have a good
repertoire of music in this collection!
There's still the graphics, the copyrights, and other business to
attend to, including the all-important condition of having the
finances for the self-publishing start-up fees for
There won't be any pics from the Mulaney show as it is officially a
"phone-free experience," and all phones, and I assume
other smart devices, will be locked into
for the duration of the show. My personal thought is that this is
less to stop photos from being taken than it is to keep DV movies
of any portion of the show from being shot then uploaded to social
media or video sites. Though lots of performers are not thrilled
with photos being taken by other than the professional photographers
they have commissioned. I'm going to simply leave my phone in my
glovebox, and not even bother to bring it to the
I had to put a hold on this last lap of getting the album to
conclusion. See the next entry for the explanation. It's pretty
easy to see that an August 2022 release date is not to be. September
is the new possibility.
With the show opening tomorrow, (read: five days after we came on
board as designers), it's fortunate that this is not a sound-tech
heavy show. Tonight is
and the first rehearsal with 100% of the sound elements in place.
Of course, there will likely be tweaking of sound levels between
the end of Dress tonight and tomorrow's
opening night performance,
but I anticipate that it'll be minor adjustments.
Monday evening I shot the
then edited and got it out into the wild on Tuesday. It's a fairly
simple, straight-forward DV movie, not the most brilliant thing
I've ever done, but it does its job. I was never able to secure
clearance for dialogue from any of the parties with such authority
so it's royalty-free music over footage with no audio (i.e: no
So a week ago, tonight, I saw stand-up comic
John Mulaney at
the Schuster Center
on his From Scratch tour. His show was opened by stand-up
Seaton Smith, and followed
by Dan Levy.
The opening acts were, themselves, good, but Mulaney was excellent.
As much as I have loved all his stand-up specials, I would rate
last week's show as beating them out. He spends a good portion of
the show sharing about his new found sobriety and the intervention
and rehab that has gotten him to his new-found sober life. His
crowd work was focused and an eleven-year old named Maddy and her
fourteen-year-old brother, whose name is escaping me. He was able
to defuse the rather adult subject matter of a lot of his show by
basically admitting to Maddy and the rest of us that the subject
matter was perhaps a bit racy for a young adolescent.
I'm betting that some shows on the tour will be put on camera and
there will be a special on Netflix or another streamer. I don't
think Thursday was shot, but I would guess some performances have
been or will be. It'll be worth your time to watch when/if the
Believe it or not, and if you know me or have read many of these
blog posts, you'll have no problem believing this, but I have found
tweaks to do. It's my delusion of being a perfectionist. I'm just
trying to get a 100% consistent volume level for each of the ten
tracks on the album. I've also gone in and fixed a few balance
problems in some of the mixes: a bass not loud enough here or too
loud there, bringing the sax in "The Answer" up slightly,
adjustments such as those.
The only business stuff that I have accomplished is I have found
that I will be responsible for seeing to it that my song writing
collaborator on "Memories of the Times Before (pt.1-4),"
Rich Hisey, receives any song writer's revenue from any sales. Any
such money will be deposited to me, then I am to pass his portion
on to him.
Other than that, I've not done anything else, including the copyright
registration for the whole album of recordings or compositions. I
really can't register the album yet since...
...I haven't started the graphics for the CD booklet. I also need
to find out if I can make that available as a pdf for the download
versions of the album. I even am going to slightly alter the
front cover, that which you can see at the bottom of this page
‐‐ at least at the time that this entry is posted.
I'm going to add a little backing color to the album title to make
it pop a little bit more that it does. I also do not have the CD
case back cover. Plus, I have a couple question I need answered
from CD Baby Manufacturing.
Yet still, as delayed as this £|_|¢|<!|\|& project
is, it IS
going to see the light of day!
Again, to be less than modest, I've been listening to the album as
I have curated the song order and I am quite pleased with the overall
feel of the album. It's not the greatest engineered album of all
times, and god knows there's no virtuoso performances on any of the
ten tracks, though my nephew, David, does give me a strong, pleasing
guitar solo on the opening cut. Still, I am most happy with the
material, the actual compositions, and the performances are not at
all hateful or horrible. I am more than pleased by my choice of
song order, it gives the collection a good dynamic. In short, it's
worth a listen or two.
A LITTLE CAMPING RECONNAISSANCE:
Shortly after uploading this blog post, I'm heading off to
Stonelick State Park,
close to Pleasant Plain,
a little over an hour's drive, to do a little reconnaissance for a
possible camping trip in a couple weeks. If the photos I've seen and
what I've read are truly representative, it looks like a great park
for camping, hiking, and kayaking.
Today I'm just doing some hiking and exploring. If it looks like a
go I'll come back and camp at the end of the month, right after I
see Lewis Black at the
THERE'S A NEW MUSICAL IN TOWN:
Later tonight I'll attend the late-night performance of the
Dayton-original work, Pizza Bandit The Musical, at
Yellow Cab Tavern.
The book is by local actress, writer, and musician Jenna Gomes (who
has read as a particular character in both the
of my play manuscript). The music and lyrics are by local actor
Brennan Paulin. Local actor and theatre renaissance woman Sarah
Caplan is the director. Music production is by Rich Rueter.
The cast is:
Mr. Pizza, et al.: Mike Beerbower
Big Tasty: Skyler McNeely
Mama Joan: Heather Martin
Pizza Bandit: Jeff Sams
Lil Bandit: Addie Immundo
It's not just New York
It's not just Washington
It's not just Shanksville
It's not just the buildings
It's not just the airplanes
It's not just the field
It's not just the symbols
It's not just the pictures
It's not just the dead
It's not just the heroes
It's not just the hearts
It's not just the sorrow
It's not just the nation
A fresh-out-of-Harvard fact checker for a prominent New York magazine
is assigned to fact-check an essay about the suicide of a teenage
boy. It is written by a talented and established writer, and publishing
his piece can save the struggling magazine from collapse. The two
battle over facts versus truth, with the magazine's editor, who wants
to run the story and who assigned the fact-checker to look it over,
serving as referee.
The Cast of The Lifespan of a Fact
The promotional trailer for The Lifespan of a Fact
My excursion yesterday to scout out
Stonelick State Park
was successful. I plan to take what may be my last camping trip of
the year there in a week or two, either the last weekend of September
or the first weekend of October, depending on when I can reserve a
good camping lot, AND
depending on whether or not the weather forecast starts looking a
little less like rain.
I drove through the camp grounds and scoped out the better lots,
especially looking for the ones that offer decent shade. I also
wouldn't mind a lot that has power, just so that I can recharge
my phone as well as my laptop, which I would likely bring. Of course,
another thing I'd be doing on this camping trip is
for Jack in
The trails that I hiked yesterday were okay, not the best I've been
on but I'd be able to enjoy a day or two hiking there, I think. I
did not explore all the trails, so there may be some there that I'll
give a better grade.
When there I made sure that there would still be kayak rentals on
the weekend I am there. Such rentals will go through the end of
October, so I'm good. This time I'll make sure there is sun screen
on the arches of my feet so I don;lt have the same uncomfortable
week after my trip as I did earlier this summer.
It was a nice day yesterday, though a bit overcast, as you can see
in the several photos of the trip accompanying this entry. As for
the weather forecasts for those tow future weekends: right now
the first weekend seems to have a mean average of 20-25% chance of
rain for most days I'd be there. The next weekend starts out sunny
but ends with even higher chances of rain. Thing is, we're a few
weeks out so those forecasts may be dramatically revised, and with
hope, for the better. Oh, the conundrum!
PIZZA BANDIT FUN:
As planned, last night I attended the 9:30 showing of the
Dayton-original work, Pizza Bandit: the Musical, at
Yellow Cab Tavern.
All I can say is that it was a wacky, fun little home-grown show!
I enjoyed the dickens out of the material and the performances.
It's a pretty short show. They dropped an intermission in, but I
think that was more calculated to accomodate folk heading back to
the bar or to the
Pizza Bandit counter
‐‐ yes, there is an actual pizza business called
"Pizza Bandit," but I digress.
Ms. Gomes and Mr. Paulin could expand the script if they so choose.
What they have is a fun show but they could make it longer by at
least 30 minutes without spoiling the magic. But they have something
really silly and fun as it is. Hats off to both of them. Hats off
to the rest of the production folk. And hats off to the cast. Most
of these folk I have worked with in one fashion or another (both the
cast and the crew of this slice of fun).
Jeff Sams as Pizza Bandit
Skyler McNeely as Big Tasty
Heather Martin as Mama Joan
Addie Immundo as Lil Bandit
Mike Beerbower as Mr. Pizza, et al.
Directed by Sarah Caplan
Book by Jenna Gomes
Music and lyrics by Brennan Paulin
Music production by Rich Rueter
Lighting by Jessy Henning
Media and projection by Tracey Obenour
Sound production by Daniel Simmons & Ryan Keener
Puppets provided by Sarah Gomes
A Level Up Productions production
This evening we begin the
of Broadway Bound
by Neil Simon.
Unless I'm mistaken, this'll be the last time the whole cast is at
rehearsal for a few weeks, at which point is when we will get to
of each act, then full runs of the whole show. There is no scene
where all the characters interact. There is one, which will be
tomorrow night, that has most of the cast, but, again, unless I'm
mistaken ‐‐ which is not impossible ‐‐
is missing one character.
I am not called
for another rehearsal until next Tuesday, when Director Margie will
be blocking my first and third of my three appearances in the show.
practice of using 3"x5" index cards to make flash cards
to memorize and otherwise work on my lines, has, as indicated by
the pics below, officially begun. I got my first scene on the cards;
two to go.
The "flash-card" use of the cards is pretty
self-explanatory as that of helping me memorize my lines by my
being able to run lines, alone, whenever I can squeeze the action
into my schedule. On the white, line-less side of the 3"x5"
index cards, I write, in cursive, the cue line for my line. On the
lined side of the card, I write my line in block printing.
In the case of any longer
by the character cuing me or by my character, I deal with them
for a cuing character, I write the first line or two,
then a series of about ten elipses, then on a separate line I
write, in parentheses, "yadda yadda," followed by about
ten more elipses. Then I write the last couple lines that cue
directly into my line.
if the monologue is mine, I use as many index cards
as are needed, with "(continued)" at the ends and
beginnings as necessary. I still only write my lines on the
lined side of the index card, with the white side of the
additional cards indicating that each is part X of the monologue.
Beyond memory drilling, there are a few other ways these cards are
beneficial to me, and I am more than sure I've touched on some or
all of these points before, but here I go again.
Let's start with the act of writing the lines. I believe several
different things occur during this action. First off, there is a
connection made between me and the words, the scene, by the physical
act of marrying the tactile with the intelectual. For one thing, it
slows my reading down and causes me to better attend to each word;
then, writing the words I've just read reinforces them for me.
Then, as I am more meticulously reading and writing these words
at this slower pace, I can't help but analyze the moments and the
whole scene. I think about what's going on in my character's
head, his heart, his stomach, all those things I am charged to
understand about my character:
what does he feel in the moment?
what does he want in the moment?
what is his overall goal (or goals)?
is he afraid, and if so, of what?
how does he feel and/or what does he think about what's
being said to him?
is he telling the truth or lying? *(often, as in at least
a few cases in this script, the text makes this clear)
what is his demeanor in each moment?
what is his overall demeanor in general?
does he believe in himself?
the list of potential questions can go on and on, and I
usually pose them to myself based on my instincts, but some of
what is above are fundamental questions that I always answer.
Correspondingly, I think about what
or potential readings, seem appropriate for each line. The line
readings, of course, will be contingent to a great degree by what
is given to me by my scene partners and their own line readings.
On stage, it's in the moment. The work I do by myself lays a
matrix down, but, the scene playing out as it does, live, calls for
spontaneous reactions based on what is being lived by the characters
as we perform their moments on the boards. But the actor must walk
onto the stage knowing who the character is, what the character
wants, feels, thinks, etcetera, etcetera; that informs the actor
about what actions are taken and what reactions to have. For me,
the beginning of this understanding starts with the flash cards.
But that's just the beginning.
Last night, in the office area of my apartment,
creating the flash cards with my lines, and the
cue lines for each, for my first scene in the show,
with the album,
Piano Duets by Brahms & Schumann,
by Katerina Zaitseva and Nikita Fitenko, playing on
my Apple music laptop device.
Last night was our first rehearsal of the show, the
proceeded by various production business, mostly conducted by the
producer, Scott Madden. The reading went well. Tonight Director
Marjorie Strader will
the top of Act 2, the scene with the most amount of actors on stage,
actually all but one cast member.
For my part, I am now just in the process of finding Jack's voice,
so at the reading I was not giving what I'd consider a strong
performance of Jack, but such is the norm at the table reading
stage of the game for all actors, really. At this point my axiom
of "Less Acting, More Being" was flipped around to
Much Acting, Little being. It's going to be that way for a
little while and will only gradually change as I try out approaches
to Jack's voice.
In part, I literally mean Jack's "voice." He should not
sound like me, not only in dialect but in tone. We discussed dialect
last night as a cast with Margie. This show is about a Brighten Beach
New York Jewish family in the 1940s, but there was a concern that
if we were to try to delve too far into a Brooklyn dialect from more
than seven decades ago, it might be a distraction. there was general
thought, which I champion that the cadence and the syntax of the text
will serve much of the needs for authenticity.
I pushed a little bit of Brooklyn Jewish dialect, from my less-than
linguistics-expertise position, as a part of my experimentation to
find Jack's voice. Mostly though, I just attempted to let the text
dictate the delivery. As I've already indicated, I think a lot of
my delivery was awkward and inauthentic; I have some work to do,
and that's quite alright at the moment.
Meanwhile, back on the farm, my creating of flash cards with my
lines and their cues continues. Last night I thought I had
taken out all of my second scene, of my three in the show. However,
right the read-though I discovered I had missed a few lines, earlier
in the scene. Now I will have to add those lines in and re-number
the flash cards for that scene that I'd already done. It's not like
that's a big deal or anything, but, it is something that there is
to report, I guess.
I'd gone to the theatre early and worked on the flash cards at the
counter in the tech booth,
while listening to my so-called finished master of my album over
the theatre's PA. I also dropped off the large-print scripts for
the sound tech
and the light tech.
More flash-card creation, this time in the booth
at the theatre ‐‐ the session where I
missed some lines earlier in the scene.
The first blocking rehearsal
went well last night. There's another tonight but I am not
I'm off until next Tuesday. Well, I'm not "off,"
I'm just not called to be in rehearsal. I will be doing
memory drilling as well as
Plus, I'll be wearing the
hat, at least a little bit, too. But, mostly, between now and
next Tuesday, I'll be working on my lines, as far as focus on the
My line-study flash cards are finished and are about to be put into
vigorous use. I did start the memorization process in bed last night,
but I was using the actual script. That's often how I do it. I begin
the process with the script, then as I am moving through the process,
I switch to the flash cards, often revisiting using the script. The
flash cards are handy because I can have them in my shirt pocket and
can pull them out and do line work whenever the opportunity arises.
I'll also, very likely and very shortly, record all my lines and
their cues, so I can listen, both overnight as I sleep, often
during the day, such as at work at the
I'm, well, working, and at any other oppertune times. I may make that
As for finding Jack: I was a little happier with my
last night than I was at the
on Tuesday. I'm not panicing or anything. It's early, and for this
stage of the game I think I've already got a good handle on the
A for that sound designer's hat: Saturday afternoon after the DTG
board meeting, I'll be loading a few sounds into a
Show Cue Systems
production project for this show, so that we can use some sound
cues early in the rehearsal process. I've also pulled the phone
transformer and cue device from the equipment loft, and a couple
phones that will at least come close to matching the time period,
from the prop area. These are phones that are
and can actually be rung on cue.
I also pulled a small speaker to stick inside our old, floor-model
radio, so that I can run the radio programming sound cues into said
speaker rather than over the theatre PA system. My memory, though,
is that this particular speaker has a problem; either there is an
intermittent short or there is a ground buzz problem. I have a
speaker at the apartment that I may bring in for this production.
Crude publicity shots for social media that I took
at last night's blocking rehearsal, plus one shot
of my script:
My script with blocking notes
Dustin Schwab (Eugene)
Wendi Michael (Kate) & Marjorie Strader
So, now, I am virtually, probably, 99.99999999999999% likely to be
almost 100% positive that quite probably the
of the album is most likely finished.
Full disclosure: I tweaked a portion of the mix/master
for "The Answer" last night.
Now that the so-called probability that the audio is "finished"
for the album, is supposedly settled, I've moved on to working on
artwork. The first thing I've done is slightly modify the album
cover, putting some dark behind the album title to help it pop a bit
better ‐‐ see the quasi-new front cover just below. I've
also dropped that new version into the "coming soon"
Next on the album-art agenda was the back cover, which has the
album repertoire as well as various credits. Then came the actual
CD label, done last night. Next comes the pages for the booklet,
which will consist of lyrics and a little liner-notes essay from me,
the latter which is yet to be composed. I begin to make the lyrics
pages tonight, or at least sometime over the weekend.
On the left, working on the back cover during
lunch at the
on the right, the "finished" product.
The CD label.
MAYBE NOT QUICK BOUNDING, BUT BOUNDING ALL THE SAME:
The plan had been to record my lines and their cues, last evening,
so I could load the scenes on my phone, as help with
I'll also have the audio files on my laptop. I can listen while
doing other things as well has letting the scenes cycle over night
while I'm in bed. The rest of my life got in the way last night so
I have not recorded the audio files yet. That is now part of the
agenda for this evening.
However, I did work on memorizing lines last night, right before I
went to sleep, which I believe is a good time for that work.
As for my liner notes
essay, I also have not started that, yet, but I do have a general
idea of what I'll write, even if the notion is somewhat vague at the
ACT, SOUND, SELF:
I still haven't, as of yet, recorded the audio version of my lines
and their cues to aid me in
but I have been in the process of memorizing my lines, and contemplating
what line reading
to give each. Recording the material may happen later today, depending
on what my day looks like.
Yesterday I did some initial sound design work at
The Guild. I loaded
into Show Cue Systems
the several sound files we were provided by
Samuel French as
part of the performance license for the show. Those files include
several radio broadcasts. I also loaded in an old-style phone
ringing, that from my
I have mounted a small amped speaker inside our tall, vintage radio,
and the radio broadcasts will be ran through that speaker and thus
come from the radio, rather than from the house PA speakers.
I'd also had a plan to use a
phone for the one incoming phone call in the show, but, none of the
practical phones we have on hand fit the time period. A couple come
close, but are still ten-to-fifteen years too new. We are going
with one that fits the period but would be very problematic to get
to ring on its own. So, I'm going to stick another amped speaker
behind the wall where it sets on stage (don't worry, the wall will
be quite thin) and we will play the phone
through that speaker. That'll be another amped speaker that is yet
to be purchased, but should be purchased soon.
I have added two channels to accomodate these two speakers,
channel 5 for the radio and channel 6 for the phone. And I must
tell you that the chances of me running the
through the radio (channel 5), not the house PA speakers, are pretty
good, like 100% probable.
Quite some time ago I embraced the idea that actors (well, all
performers/artists) should cultivate the practice of self-promotion,
hence this whole website as an example. One thing I got from one of
my professional acting classes, and I don't readily remember which
one, was the postcard to promote one's appearance in a show. I
make up 4" x 6" postcards; some people go with the 5" x 7," but I
opt for the lower cost approach, especially since I always mail them
out in envelopes and the 4x6 envelopes cost less, as does the printing
for the 4x6 postcards. Below you'll see my self-promotional postcard
for this show. I haven't printed it or done a mailing yet, but I
have already placed the image on the
"promotions" page here at
All of the different hardware on the counter
before I eliminated some methods of
The amp-powered speaker mounted inside the
The extra channels (5 & 6), added to
accommodate the radio and the telephone
I'm currently still working on the design for the eight-page CD
booklet (8, including front & back). The front of the booklet
is done, unless I find that the front needs to serve as the album
cover, which might be the case. I haven't gotten a definitive
answer yet from
CD Baby Manufacturing.
I am assuming, however, that I do not need to use the front of the
booklet as the front of the jewel case; I'm going to guess that is
an optional choice.
I've got the lyrics on their pages, but I need to add photos from
the recording sessions to those pages. The
also still need written, plus I have gathered together information
for what I guess could be called a "further information page"
that will either be page 7 of the booklet or page 8 (the back). The
"further information page" will have text about how the
album was recorded and what instruments and equipment was used,
things like that. Plus I'll list this website URL as well those for
my social media accounts.
I THINK MAYBE THE ALBUM RELEASE IS FINALLY ACTUALLY GETTING CLOSE!!!!
The probable front cover of the CD booklet.
The original, color version of the photo
used for the booklet's front cover. In the
photo, I was recording, I believe, the organ
part for "Burning Bridge," which
was at that time titled "Embracing the
A lyric page from the booklet without photos.
ALL SORTS OF AUDIO ACTION:
Last night I finally managed to set time aside to record all my
lines as Jack, accompanied by the cue lines for each. As of yet I
haven't processed the recordings into usefulness, but that will
come today, during lunch at the rent-payer.
For those who don't know this ‐‐ that's potentially
everyone reading this ‐‐ when I make these recordings
of my lines I use little to no
of any sort. I speak it all quite deadpan, with no emotional or intelectual
inflection. There are two main reasons to this. The first reason
is that it's just about what the words are that my character is to
speak. The second reason is that by listening to such neutral delivery
of my lines, it frees me up to think in terms of
without that being fogged up by a particular line reading that is
on the recording. I speak the other characters cue lines in a neutral
tone, too, and with some sort of altered voice to distinguish them
from my character's lines.
Anyway, soon the recordings of the three scenes will be in my
Music App on my laptop and the one on my phone, so I can listen
whenever the opportunity arrises. This doesn't take the place of
line drilling with the flash cards or with the script in hand; it's
in addition to those practices.
Tonight I'm at rehearsal and we
my other two scenes, the scene with Kate (Wendi Michael) and the
one with Ben (Saul Caplan). Then I am not
again until Wednesday, the 28th.
As sound designer for the show, and as the unofficial, default
technical director or supervisor for The Guild
(which is a case of a barely-qualified, if that, person in the
quasi-position), I have ordered a new small amped speaker, as well
as a couple sound cords and a few sound cord couplers (which connect
two cords together). As I wrote in the last blog post, this show
needs two speakers on the set and the theatre only has one at the
moment. I ordered the exact same model speaker that we already have,
a Behringer Eurolive B205D 150W 5.25 inch Powered Monitor Speaker.
My hope is that I have it by Saturday so I can place it on set then.
Recording Jack's (aka: my) Broadway Bound
lines, last night.
The CD booklet is reasonably close to finished. I still have some
graphics to work out, I don't have the back page designed at all,
for one thing. But I have finished three of the four lyric pages
and will likely finished the last one today at lunch.
The liner-notes essay has not been started, yet, but as I wrote
before, I have a pretty good idea what I'm going to say, or, at
least a general idea.
It's getting close to time to start looking at my finances to see
when I can spend the money to get the album out, and to get all the
copyrights properly registered with the
U.S. Copyright Office.
Three of the lyric pages from the booklet. I'm not
going to give bigger images 'cause I kind of feel
even this may be too much of a spoiler.
WORDS ‐ CHARACTER ‐ SOUND:
Nov 4-20, 2022
Usually when I'm doing a show I don't have another creative venture
vying for my attention, for my time and energy. This time I have
the album artwork for Virtually Approximate Subterfuge, as
well as the rest of the project polishing before release, which
I am trying to get finished all of in a timely manner. In reality
it feels like more of an obstacle to my push toward getting
for the play than it actually is. Honestly, it's not an obstacle.
I believe it's the amateur perfectionist in me who perceives it as
getting in the way. I had somehow assumed I'd be farther along in
memorization process by now than I am. I'm not behind, but part of
me wants to feel as if I am, like I'm an eight-grader who hasn't
done all my homework. But, as the text in the
facebook screenshot above
intimates, I always find some reason to panic about getting off-book.
It's not as if I have been ignoring
I have not. I have been doing some drilling, though I admit I've
dedicated more time and energy to listening to the recordings simply
because of my schedule. I've been able to listen all day long on
my phone at the
rent-payer and I've
ran the recordings over night while I'm in bed. In both cases I
created playlists with staggered repeats of each scene, such as the
list for the playlist on my laptop (each named after the
character(s) I interact with):
The order of the playlist repeats on my phone is not exactly the
same but is pretty similar. Yesterday, while at work, I compromised
between the two loves currently vying for my attention: I listened
alternately to the playlist of the Jack lines and the master
recordings of the album.
And, I have been using the flash cards as well as working
directly with the actor's edition script, just not as heavily, but
that is about to change.
Meanwhile, I am still playing with Jack's voice, with his persona.
At the blocking rehearsal
this past Tuesday, when we blocked the "Kate" and the
"Ben" scenes, I tried different approaches in each, just
to see what felt more comfortable or more right. With the Kate
scene I delivered Jack a little closer to what I've been doing,
what I did during the
In the Ben scene I pulled back and delivered something a little
closer to me. I am not sold on either approach. I haven't found
Jack yet, maybe a little bit of him, but the whole Jack has not
made his presence known at all.
The Behringer Eurolive B205D 150W 5.25 inch Powered Monitor Speaker,
just ordered by me on behalf of DTG
from Sweetwater, arrived
yesterday at the rent-payer (where I usually have things I order
on-line sent), along with some accoutrement. This is good. I can
install the speaker on stage tomorrow as planned. Fortunately, part
of that accoutrement are two 20-foot instrument cables, which I
need to have the length I need to get from the mixing board in the
to the spot up stage
where the speaker goes.
In sum, both the actor and the
have been reporting for work.
Listening to Jack's lines on my iPhone while at the
rent-payer and then while doing dishes in the ol'
The "Jack's lines playlist"
playing on my laptop at bedtime, Wednesday
Line study with the flash cards.
The Behringer Eurolive B205D, two 20-foot
instrument sound cables, and three
female quarter-inch cable couplers,
displayed in my cubicle at the rent-payer.
GROUNDED AT THE RACE:
Last night I saw the
one-person show (aka: "OPS")Grounded,
by George Brant,
at the Human Race Theatre Company,
Maggie Lou Rader in
the role of Pilot. All I can say is it's a great script that was
brought to life by a most excellent performance by Ms. Rader. To
put a fine point on it, she owned the room the whole time with a
powerful and moving performance that made me, quite frankly, a little
jealous. And congratulations to director Emily Wells (also the HRTC
artistic director) for a fine directorial debut at The Race.
This show runs through Sunday, so if you have the ability tro get
to it, pease do.
Tonight I see comedian Lewis Black
for the second time. The last time was almost seven years ago, in
October of 2015, when he did a special fund-raiser show for the
Human Race Theatre Company,
and somehow I had remembered it as somewhere just before Covid hit.
And I certainly did not remember that it happened before my
heart attack, which was Sunday, December 27, 2015, eleven weeks
after the previous Lewis Black show.
I had a VIP ticket to the Black show that time, so I got to meet him
briefly and get an autograph and a photo with him *(see to the right).
Actually, I had met him briefly once before when he had come to see
Lauren Ashley Carter,
in the play
Miracle on South Division Street
at HRTC in September of 2014. I was at the same performance, so after
the show I very briefly approached him, shook his hand, and told him
I how much I love his work. And he was very gracious in his reply.
This time, I'm not likely to meet him, but boy would that be great
if I did?
*see audition information for upcoming Dayton Theatre Guild
productions at the top of the Promotions