Wednesday, November 30, 2005

the main event

Day late with the post - sorry. Had to get up early this morning.

So on Saturday I went to a "renewal of vows" ceremony - my cousin and his wife have been married ten years, and decided to have a big party (since they eloped, this was kind of like their wedding). It's always high comedy when members of my family get together, because we're a little crazy in group settings. There were lots of pictures and funky dancing and story telling - my dad has 40 or 50 first cousins, and they were always getting into scrapes. They've probably got enough material for a TV series.

One other story I forgot to share...Raf and I flew into Kansas City and drove an hour to get to Topeka on Sunday. On our way into Kansas, we noticed that the sky was turning a funky color. About 20 minutes outside of Topeka, the sky just opened up. Lightning flashes everywhere, sheets and sheets of rain - at one point, it was raining so hard that I couldn't see ANYTHING - not even the lights of the car in front of me. I almost had to stop on the interstate. People were pulling off to the side of the road. Scariest car situation I've had in my life...and I've had a few on those. (Insert cracks about my driving ability here.) Ain't the midwest great?

Phone calls to make. More about Kansas later.

Monday, November 28, 2005


In the midwest at last...boy, is this a different place. It's like suburbia times twelve...I've been here a little more than 24 hours and I've already gotten at least a dozen stares and double-takes. They're not of the rude, boy-i'm-gonna-kill-you-if-you-look-at-my-girl kind, but more of the what-the-hell-is-one-of-your-people-doin'-out-here variety.

Driving here yesterday was an adventure...drove through the hardest rain I've ever seen. At one point I almost stopped the car on the interstate. It rained sheets of rain - I couldn't even see the lights of the car in front of me. And then the hail started. I swear, on this trip Raf and I have seen everything but locusts. (I probably shouldn't have said that, 'cause I think we're in the right location for those.)

I must say, though, that so far, I like Kansas. Not enough to move here, but it's all right. Maybe our plush accomodations have something to do with that.

Got to get ready for the Steelers game tonight, but the post about the rest of my weekend will come t'm'row.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


Writing from my aunt's house in New England, where I'm staying for the Thanksgiving holiday. I always feel a little weird blogging at someone else's house, like I'm sneaking away to look at porn or something. Like typing all these personal thoughts on a different computer is cheating on my "trusty" laptop (which is currently being upgraded by my cousin's "friend").

Stayed up until 4am talking to my parents and brother. Because I've been living in the Sleepy Hamlet, we usually only get together twice a year, which is a real shame, because we're all very close. The way-back machine was really working on overload last night - told stories about old girlfriends, high school musicals, the issues my brother and I had growing up black in suburbia. I miss my family a lot, which is why I think New York will probably win out in the end.

(The "friend" just brought me an omelette...very good. My cousin's gotta keep this guy...)

Another reason we were telling so many HS stories...last night was my ten-year high school reunion. I really wanted to go, but I've got a huge family function this afternoon, and it would have been too much travel. It would have been nice to see some of my old friends, see who got fat, who's still hot, who's making tons of cash, etc. Guess I'll have to wait for the next one...

Must finish this delicious omelette and then see if I fit into my old suit - I'm afraid that with all of the weight I've lost this year, the pants are going to fall right off of me. Details about the family function will be family is crazy, and there's always some incident worth retelling.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

holding pattern

Sitting in a Starbucks in Sacramento, once again paying for internet access. I got to town at 5, which is kind of unfortunate, because my flight doesn't leave until 11. And I have no where to go. My one friend in town has other plans for about another 45 minutes, so I'm desperately trying to hang on until then. All I want to do is lay down and go to sleep, but that's not happening tonight, because I'll be on a red-eye, headed towards New England. That is, if the giant snowstorm doesn't shut down my connection at O'Hare.

Don't you just love the holidays?

Much melancholy for me lately. I dreamed that some people I know made me some art as a thank you for this work I'm doing in the schools, and when I saw it, I sobbed for hours. I never cry. Then a friend invited me over for a "lettuce party". (Sometimes I wish I could be inside my own head.)

I guess I'm sad because it's really hitting me that this phase of my life is over, and I can't ever get it back, no matter what. It's so weird that one minute I'm completely looking forward to my future, and the next I ache so much for the past. Sometimes being an adult sucks.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Turkey Day is coming...

Getting very fired up about Thanksgiving. It's a mandatory holiday in my family...if you don't show up, you're out. I was talking to my brother today and he was telling me that about 20 people are expected for dinner (not counting a couple of my close friends who had to cancel, much to my chagrin), which is huge, even for us. I just hope that there's enough deep-fried turkey to go around.

And speaking of deep-fried turkey, I find it hilarious that, after taking a red-eye across the country and getting very little sleep, I will be expected to supervise people lowering a 20 pound bird into 10 pounds of peanut oil boiling at over 500 degrees. Like I'm even going to be able to stand...

After t'm'row, only two weeks left on the road. More about my upcoming travel itinerary next week...from KANSAS!

Sunday, November 20, 2005


At long last, I'm in a spot with internet access! Perhaps I'll update my blog six times a day now, just because I can.

Spent yesterday in San Francisco. It was good times...went to a cool seafood/jazz spot, and then partied in our hotel room until security was called. Seriously. It was the last time I got to hang with my Sleepy Hamlet peeps, and it was cool. Sort of anti-climatic, if you want to know the truth. I'll see most of them again, I'm sure, but it won't ever be the same. That sucks.

Something that doesn't suck...early last week I got a call from a theater in the midwest, asking me to come do a very famous play. I said yes...I've wanted to do this play for some time now. So two days after Christmas I'm going to be going to a town I'm going to call Steak City for eight weeks to do a very cool show.

I thought about actually printing the name of the play and the city and theater where I'll be working, but, taking a cue from Bright-Eyes' blog, I can tell you much more dirt about the people I'll be meeting if I include as little identifying information as possible.

Time for bed. I'm such an old man...

Friday, November 18, 2005

so little time...

Paying once again for internet access. I promise that there will be better updates once I get back to free computer time...maybe next week.

Currently in the Bay Area...I had forgotten how much fun morning rush hour can be. Which is to say, none at all. Had some amazing kids the other day in San Ramon - smart and fun and brave. Good times.

Seriously, an in-depth update on Monday. I've been taking notes, so I should have some good things to tell all of you, notably the reason why I will soon be blogging from a town I'm lovingly going to call Steak City...

Monday, November 14, 2005


You should really appreciate this post, because it's costing me money. Seriously. I'm at a Starbucks, and I didn't realize until after I had set up my ancient laptop (twice, because apparently my battery life lasts about 10 seconds - as much as I don't want to admit it, it may be time to get a new computer) that I had to pay to get online. So this is a $6 blog entry. You're welcome.

I'm in Fresno, CA, which has all the charm of a sewer. That's a little harsh...there are palm trees, which I like, and attractive women, which I also like, but there are lots and lots of strip malls. And check cashing places. That is not good times.

Raf and I are staying in the guest home of one of the professors of the college we're at for the first part of this week, however, and that is really cool. It's like a rustic log cabin - very cool. We're here until Wednesday night, at which point we drive to the Bay. Civilization at last. And a bunch of my friends are planning a party this weekend in San Francisco. More details as they develop...

Friday, November 11, 2005

Wk 1 recap

End of week one. Record was 1-2-1 - meaning we had 1 really good day (Wed. in Redding), 2 bad ones (Burney and Oroville) and one split down the middle (Tue., where we got snowed out).

Next up is Fresno, for three days. It'll be nice to not deal with middle schoolers for a bit.

In the Sleepy Hamlet for the weekend...feels like I never left. Did a bunch of odds and ends today - I am now officially moved out. And that fact, so far, leaves me unmoved.

Early night of sleep. Maybe some excitement t'm'row...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Tales from the road

Day 3. Setting: the Holiday Inn Express in Redding, CA, population 85,000. This place feels like a metropolis to me right now.

Crazy 36 hours. We woke up Monday and got yelled at by the principal - she thought we were supposed to be there at 8:30; our schedule said 10am. Turns out there was a break in the chain of communication - the contact for us at that school wasn't exactly on top of things.

Some other things that happened to us yesterday (and this morning):

- No cell phone service.

- Didn't have directions to our school for the following day.

- Went to the site for our evening show (also no directions); they only found out about our performance 3 1/2 hours before show time. The space was a wreck - we had to clean it ourselves, with the help of the generous people who worked there.

- Drove 17 miles to our new hotel in Fall River Mills in a driving rainstorm. The rain turned to snow close to the end of the trip, but it wasn't sticking. The guy who checked us in said, "The snow won't stick. Don't worry." Dropped our stuff off and headed back to Burney. Snow started sticking on the way.

- Had to eat dinner at McDonald's. The employees were having a snowball fight on the playground. When we came back to the car after eating (20 minutes) our entire car was covered with snow. Forced to clear off car with ice scraper.

- Did the evening show for 20 people. Were told by the organizer, "I'm a nurse at the hospital in Fall River Mills, and I'm supposed to go to work tonight, and I'm not going - it's too dangerous. And you're not either. We're putting you up in a motel."

- Went to Safeway to get supplies (contacts, food, alcohol) for our second evening in Burney. Paid $6.75 for a contact lens case.

- Went into crappy motel room, with our luggage 17 miles away. Raf and I split a six-pack and laughed about how our day couldn't get worse. Called the office back in the Sleepy Hamlet to get set up for today's performances and classes.

- Transformer blows in Burney just after midnight. Power and phone go out. Day just got worse.

- Wake up at 6:30am. Carefully drive to motel in Fall River Mills. Quickly shower, change, pack up car.

- Carefully drive to Fall River HS. Get out of car, notice that the parking lot is empty. A maintenance man yells out to us, "No school today!" The school contact tried to get in touch with us, but couldn't, because our motel phone had no power, and our cell phones got no signal.

- Looked for Raf's cell phone at both motels (finally found it in our car). Got the car stuck in the snow several times. Realize I don't have my cell phone charger.

- Drove to Redding. Finally, something good happened here. We checked into our hotel early, and we had lunch at In-N-Out Burger. Good times.

Now I'm tired, and I'm hoping that I have the most uneventful evening ever.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

On the road again

Day 1 of tour. My tour partner Raf and I are currently sitting in a postage-stamp-sized motel room in scenic Burney, CA. It's one of those places where, just to get into town, you have to drive for an hour on a two-lane road...and you don't see ANY lights. At one point both of us thought that we were driving to the end of the world. Raf's got a digital camera, so hopefully he'll take some pictures and maybe I'll post one or two, especially if we get a shot of something fun.

I'm getting hungry, but I'm a little afraid to venture out. The manager mentioned that she had some menus...maybe I'll see if I can find something safe. Or I could just roll to the Safeway across the street...

The end...and the beginning

So here it is. In about twelve hours I leave the Sleepy Hamlet for good. Five weeks on the road, and then I head back to my Big City.

It's kind of surreal. Tonight I met some friends at our local watering hole (across the street from work) and we just kind of chilled for a while. All of us are leaving town this week - some for a vacation or work; a couple of us aren't coming back. Most of us are going to meet up for a birthday in the Bay in a couple of weeks, so it wasn't a good-bye, which was good, because I don't know how I would have handled that. And I'm not an emotional guy at all.

I've had a real love/hate relationship with this town. There have been so many moments where I've literally wanted to bang my head against the wall because I'm so frustrated - too small, not enough to do, too many people all up in my business. But I've also had a lot of fun here the past three years, and I'll never be able to think of this place without those positive memories flooding back.

And I've really learned to appreciate the beauty of this place, especially in the past year. I remember walking to work and looking at the fog hovering over the mountains and just being in awe. I took walks up into the hills and looked at the big houses overlooking the valley, and I drove all over the area, and I explored the wonderful park that's here (built by the same guy who built Central Park). Perhaps I couldn't leave this place until I had fully embraced it.

So now I leave. This blog will have to change. It will continue, of course - it's part of me, just like this Sleepy Hamlet is - but the focus will have to shift. It will be about my excellent adventures on the road for the next five weeks, and then I guess it will focus on my triumphant return to New York. You can go home again, I guess. I'm gonna try. We'll see what happens. I hope you'll join me.

I'm exhausted from packing, and I've still got some stuff to do before I finally leave this apartment sometime t'm'row afternoon. But I just wanted to take this moment to say...

Ashland, OR...thanks for the memories. I'll see you around.

Friday, November 04, 2005


(It's still technically Friday, at least out here on the West Coast...)

The answer to the question I asked a couple of weeks ago is:

New York.

At least for two months, at which time I will return to the West Coast for a gig in Cowtown. So, December 10, I return to my roots. Good times.

The big announcement that I was alluding to earlier in the week is that I actually leave my Sleepy Hamlet on Sunday. Starting next week, this blog will be coming to you from various and sundry locations in different parts of the country, as I take Shakespeare to the masses. And you'll be with me every step of the way. Aren't you excited?

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Conversation from last night, in the parking lot of a discount store:

CRAZY LADY IN BLACK SCARF: (as she uncovers her face, which was completely covered by the scarf) They don't sell any of those diversity stickers anywhere in this town, do they?

ME: (disbelief) Um, no...

CRAZY LADY: (laughing) Well, just look at this town! Not much here, is there?

ME: (dumbfounded) Um...yeah...

Rather than comment on yet another white person making another totally unnecessary quip to me (not a racist comment, but still...come on!), I think I'll just dwell on the fact that I'm apparently like catnip to crazy people. They love talking to me. Doesn't matter where I am or what I'm doing. If they're three fries short of a Happy Meal, they want to have a discussion with me.

I'll try to get the announcement up t'm'row before I leave for work...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

It's Over

The gang is splitting up. The Foursome is down to three - my friend Matt left today. We stood around outside a pizza place last night and stared at each other...nothing to say. How do you sum up three years in five minutes? It's impossible.

I hate good-byes, and it's even worse when you are saying it to a bunch of people. Every day someone else is taking off, and I have no idea when I will see them again. And the worst thing about it is that I know - we all know - that nothing will ever be the same again. We can write, call, visit, but we'll never be able to get back to that time where all of us lived within three blocks of each other. It's like leaving college, but worse.

I am really, really sad. I'm still excited for my future, and the opportunities ahead of me, but right now I just want my friends back.

Major announcement coming on Friday. Stay tuned.