Tuesday, September 25, 2012

There is no OFF position...

13. Death
An important ending that initiates great change.

   Insomnia striketh and holdeth its own against the will of the embrace of Morpheus.  I have been up since receiving a "Good night" call at 1:44am after bedding down 'round 8pm.  So, between five and six hours of sleep, leaving me somewhat rested and thus more highly susceptible to the lure of consciousness that is the Awakened Mind.  I have been up and will be up until I'm down again.

   Listening to Hildegard Von Bingen and drinking coffee.  I already ate breakfast, cheddary eggs with scallion, basil, and kale and some turkey bacon on the side.  Joey and I hang out and I leave for work an hour from now. (5:03am Eastern).  

   Beginning work upon a new play written by Edward Elefterion called Alone, adapting a novella/creative journal of that name by August Strindberg.  I will be playing the man himself.  I am excited and feeling very challenged as well.  Always a good sign.  

∞ ♥
"per artem facit Magiam, arte faciendi magick"


Thursday, September 13, 2012

A day for coffee and reflection

Today: The Star.
Reaching enlightenment through development of special talents.
In general: the light at the end of the tunnel.
More directly:  promises of unexpected help, and the realization of hopes and wishes.
The shift from Summer to Fall is upon us, most definitely.  I have been very much enjoying the cooler, drier air that blows now with intermittent autumnal bluster.  I have been keeping insomniac's hours lately, going to sleep at 2:30am, 3:47am, 6:30am...  I read and draw, ponder and write, and thereby do attempt to lure the cool arms of Morpheus to take me down in its embrace for a little.  Attempt.  Like the early days of childhood, all over again.  I also have been disinclined to eat until much later in the day.  Not good, really.  Not great for concentration, as it begins to feel as though I am eating my own head.

   I have been drawing a great deal lately, and in August was engaged to create concept art for a new film project by gotta/enk films, called META/STASIS, (http://www.gottaenkfilms.com/metastasis).  I drew nine chalk pastel/ink drawings, including the following:

design 1
The link for their IndieGoGo fund-raising campaign is here:  http://www.indiegogo.com/metastasis .

I acted in their first feature, The Big Bad (http://thebigbadmovie.com/) for which they have rightfully earned much acclaim.  META/STASIS promises to deliver more of the same.

Good Luck to them!

∞ ♥
"per artem facit Magiam, arte faciendi magick"


Thursday, September 6, 2012

A return to a return...

Sorrow.  In general: something is amiss.
More directly: sorrow, disappointment, tears, delay, 
absence, separation, divorce; disruption of friendship, 
interruption of cherished projects, quarrels.

   Worked late last night and also very early in the same day - split shift chaos.  Home and in bed at 3:47am.  Woke at eleven, fed Joey and gave him his shot, and returned to bed for another hour.  Rose, started coffee, showered, drew a card (3 of Swords), sat with that over coffee, resolved to write, and have been writing and ruminating since.

   It has been AGES since I wrote on this.  I have decidedly mixed feelings about the public diary, but hey, with the advent of social media facebook and especially twitter, the internet is what it always dreamed it would be: an over-sharer's paradise.

   I saw someone once wearing a shirt: with an inscription that made me laugh very hard.  The shirt read "More people have read this shirt THAN YOUR BLOG".

   Which is how I feel about blogging, really.  The fact is, most of the time what I am thinking seems comprehensible to me alone (if that).  The notion of pulling the stream of my consciousness through the filtre of my frontal lobes and expressing it for another's comprehension as succinctly, thoroughly, and clearly as possible is daunting, to say the least.  But that really is the trick with communication, innit?  Onward with the attempt:

   Listening to a mix of Hildegard von Bingen, Kills, White Stripes, Coyote Love, Electric Mess, Dead Weather, Jordi Savall.

   Joey lay on the kitchen floor in full-on wood grain camouflage cat mode.  Or, as Art Wallace would say, in "Action Position Number 3".

Joey Kassan, AKA Mister Mojo Goldencoats, camouflage-cat and Kitchen Familiar par excellence.

   Work is being done on a renovation below me.  It sounds just like the sound-effects coming from the forest in Monty Python & the Holy Grail when Arthur and is Knights are building the Trojan Rabbit.  The louder songs mange to block out the worst of it, but quieter compositions create hard-hat mashups.  Thank you Jack White...

   Just had food, finally.  Basiled eggs with bacon-sauteed scallions wrapped up with extra-crispy turkey bacon and extra-sharp cheddar in a flour tortilla, pan-browned and served with salsa.  Yum-O.  It is good to be home and able to be focus time and energy here.  Joey is always happy when I am home and spend time with him, and a happy cat can make for a happy witch, they say. (Who says?  I say. "Meow!" says Joey.)
Speaking of working the Broom: I will clean and set the house in order.  Later on, I plan to enter the Midnight Kitchen and make a beef stew, an apple pie, and apple cobbler-bars.  Food always tastes better when you make it yourself.

The fabled basiled eggs.

Over the past few days, I have been working on more material to submit to Dragon / Dungeon, as the autumn submission window opens October 1st.  I have been working on fleshing out five ideas I have for articles on character options.  A little here and there on each of them and I should be ready with all by the beginning of October.
∞ ♥
"per artem facit Magiam, arte faciendi magick"

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Last Week of 45...

I have been a busy fellow, having rehearsed, opened, and am now about to close Trav SD's Universal Rundle at La MaMa this coming weekend, with the final performance occuring smack in the center of my 46th birthday.  The run has been going well performatively and I have enjoyed tremendously the stretch that the role has given me as an actor.  Everyone has been so lovely to work with, and it has been focused and fun throughout.  Good things, all around.

I have also been busy creating content for submission to Wizards of the Coast for freelance publication for their online magazines Dungeon and Dragon, which publishes material for Dungeons & Dragons.   I submitted two articles last week for an "anything goes" kind of writing contest challenging authors to write articles inspired by a sppecific illustration depicting two people atop a solid wooden table that is evidently being supported mid-air by one of the figures, an unarmoured man whose stance and sparkle-infused gesture depicts a kind of supernatural concentration upon the table, while his companion, a dark-haired female archer, trains her arrow at an out of frame target beneath her, the underside of the table itself already punctured with enemy arrows from below.  The contest stated that one could submit any kind of article (including short fiction) so long as the material was inspired by the illustration, and the winning entry or entries would be published and the author paid their standard beginning feelance rate for publication.

I wrote two pieces, one for their "Class Acts" series of articles on features for the various character classes, and the other for their "Bazaar of the Bizarre" article series that feature magical items. 

My "Class Acts" article focused on the Psion character class (a class that I happen to play my first 4th edition character in), and was inspired by the fact that the man in the illustration seemed to be lifting the table through the agency of telekinesis, and the class builds for the Psion character class include "telekinetic", along with "telepathic" and "shaper".  The class builds denote a specific school of study that the Psion focuses upon, and each school bestows specific powers to the Psion studying its disciplines which the Psion attains at the 1st level of play.  I conceived a "Deep Discipline Focus", wherein the Psion would attain further class features at the Paragon (11th) and Epic (21st) levels of play.  The Epic level power for Telekinetic Psions I named Telekinetic Crane, allowing the Psion to do what the illustration depicted: lift vertically and move horizontally a total weight of at least 600 lbs for a sustainable duration of time.  As this power is attained by the Psion at the 21st level of play, I decided to make it powerful (weight limit of 2,000 lbs), but not over-balancingly so (usable Encounter Utility power) that requires concentration (sustainable as the character's primary, or Standard Action in a round of play) to maintain.  The article required a full treatment of my concept, of course, so I conceived of and fleshed out the 11th level features for the Telekinetic (Telekinetic Slash and Telekinetic Suture), as well as two 11th level and one 21st level Discipline Focus features for the Telepathic and Shaper builds as well, resulting in my creating 9 powers for the Psion class, 3 per class build. 

This was the first of the two submissions, and I realized after sending it that I may need to tweak it slightly in order for it to fit into the existing game mechanics for the class, and am considering making the Deep Discipline Focus a series of Class Feats for the Psion.  We will see.  The WIzards article detailing the contest and its process discussed the likelihood of the back-and-forth between Wizards and their freelance authors that is a part of the editing process, so I feel that the Feat adjustment regarding the concept might be what they suggest if they are interested in the article at all.

My second submission was for the series of articles that they call "Bazaar of the Bizarre" that feature magic items.  I went for the literal and initially wrote up a Wondrous Item called "Flying Table".  I wrote up the Table using the statistics used for vehicles in the game as a template  I decided to fill out the article by making up magic items that were mundane and utilitarian, but not necessarily intuitive in terms of power to object, ala: the Flying Table.  I also conceived of them as being the posthumously discovered creations of a Mage ("Telempset the Wise")  renowned for his embracement of the Ordinary.  I conceived of the three other items (a "Galloping Chair" that can walk and carry you over most terrain as well as make off with an enemy;  a "Picture Window" that allows remote viewing and teleportation; and a "Magic Carpet" that unrolls to become a watertight raft or a solid walkway up to 200' long), and wrote cryptic quotations relevant to the item in question.

We will see if either submission yields a response.

In the meantime, I am busy creating more material for submission to Wizards, and having a blast doing it!
If they do not bite, then I aim to self-publish the various writings as "being made for play with 4th Edition D&D" and put them up for sale in the inter-tubes...

I am auditioning for the Acting Company on All Fool's Day, and for the Shakespeare Theatre in DC on the Monday after...


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Making Something out of Nothing

I will be working this evening at Playwrights Horizons, re-scheduled from last night, and doing some light work (in terms of hours and effort) tomorrow for a friend, so work is slowly trickling in, and there is much opportunity coming from auditions at Actor's Equity in the coming weeks. I have one on Friday, five next week, and more in the weeks moving into March.

Last night I made steady progress on the Vulgarian character class that I am developing for use with 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. The class started as a joke (and a disgusting one, at that), much as my first full-length play, Le Lycanthrope, started. Hmmm...anyway, just as with the play, the joke gets funnier to me the more seriously I take it by fleshing it out, which is what I have been doing.

Developing the class has been an inside-out exploration of the game mechanics of 4th Edition D&D as they pertain to the specific "roles" of the Adventuring Party (as opposed to the roles that people play as their character in the game), how the class functions as a class (with respect to individual builds, interplay in a combat encounter, concept flavour, et cetera) and what is required as a game designer in terms of its support. For instance, every power a character has in D&D has a power source. Makes sense, right? Power has to come from somewhere. Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards use the Arcane power source that is sourced in a parallel plane called the Feywild (where elves and fey creatures come from), Clerics and Paladins use the Divine power source from the Astral Sea (where most of the gods live), Psions and Ardents use the Psionic power source from the phrenic planes (realms of the mind), et cetera. In April 2011, WOTC is unveiling Heroes of Shadow, their upcoming book on the Shadow power source (from the parallel plane of the Shadowfell). Every power source comes from some different plane of existence.

So I created the Defiling power source for Vulgarian character class, which is sourced from the Far Realm, D&D's version of the "other places" that the denizens of Lovecraft's Cthulu mythos hail from, which are known as "aberrant creatures". As far as I am aware, there is no power source from the Far Realm specifically, as of yet.
Deeper and deeper we go, for just as with the character class, the development of the Defiling power source makes me consider more:
  • What are the other classes (that fulfill different Adventuring Party "roles") that may use it?
  • What kinds of characters are drawn to using it?
  • AND (taking definite cues from Lovecraft): What are the costs and perils of such usage?
What is also funny, is that what I am developing is turning into something that I can send to Wizards of the Coast (publishers of D&D) as a sample of what I am capable of as a freelance writer/artist: a creation that works within the mechanics of their system, while expanding it, that is both original and audacious and plainly presents an offensive thing as inoffensively as possible.
The Vulgarian class will not be the only thing that I present to WOTC, but it will be among the first, if not the first. As I believe I have made clear, I don't expect them to take the Vulgarian character class seriously, or to take the character class at all (i.e. buy it from me). No, I am creating the Vulgarian and its Defiling power source for 3 reasons:
  1. To generate somethng solid for the WOTC people to understand what I could offer them as a freelancer.
  2. To better understand the mechanics of the system of 4E D&D.
  3. To have FUN by making something that is both ridiculous and workable!
Blessed Be

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Listening to Vivaldi's Four Seasons: Winter. Going to work at Playwrights later on today for the first time in a long while. There are a great many auditions coming up at Equity as tis the time of year when companies cast for the upcoming Season. I am happy about all of the opportunity coming up for Work, and am grateful for that it is a week until those auditions start in earnest, which allows for plenty of time to prepare.

Summer now. If only. Actually, I quite enjoy this time of year, despite the cold and blizzarding. Winter weather during wintertime grants me a measure of comfort that things are happening in accordance with the rhythms of Nature: it is supposed to be cold right now in this part of the World.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Taking actions, letting go of results...

Times have been hard, economically speaking, very very hard indeed. The interesting thing about the way thngs have gone with respect to work (there is none) and money (there is precious little of it coming in), is that I am finding an increased self-sufficiency and a sharpened impetus to action.
I am walking more often when I travel within Brooklyn and in some cases into the city from home, as well, mainly depending on timing. My cooking craft has increased in terms of what I cook and how often I cook. I am happy to say that making soups and stews is becoming second nature.

I have been finding interesting creative implements in my path as I make my various ways to and from, namely pens, pencils, and even a paintbrush! I take this to mean something about making things, about creating, and about finding my way using creativity as a vessel.

I created an original piece of artwork entitled Traveler's Vessel: Destination 1805 (above), a pastel drawing for the Pernod Absinthe "Creator Of.." Art Contest. I missed their deadline last year, ecoming aware of the contest only after it had passed. This year I was on FB and saw that it was going on again, but this time I had 5 days to the January 31st deadline. I decided to enter, since there is nothing to lose by doing it. I did it in 3 sessions, beginning late Thursday night, again late Sunday night, and spent the morning of Monday the 31st finishing it up and electronically submitting it around 3pm, well before the Midnight deadline. HOORAY!

After finding the paintbrush on Tuesday, I arrived home and made up 60 cinnamon spice sugar cookies. I have baked pies, but had never before made cookies from scratch on my own. Yes, I have "helped" my Mother and Grandmother make up batches of baked goods while growing up, but the kind of assistance that was required of me in those instances was of the "lick the spoon" variety.

How did they turn out? Well, the cookies were eaten too quickly to be photographed, I'm afraid, falling prey to the appetites of the blonde and myself within a 24 hour period. YUM.

The week prior to this I was priveleged to work with a talented crew of actors (Gyda Arber, Steve Burns, Lex Friedman, Gavin Starr Kendall, Jeff Lewonczyk, Douglas Mackrell, Megan McGowan, Ben VandenBoom, Stephanie Willing, Morgan Anne Zipf) under the able and delighful direction of Hope Cartelli as part of "Team B" for "Piper McKenzie's Dainty Cadaver". There were 3 teams ("A", "B", & "C") each enacting an original play constructed Exquisite Corpse style by 6 different authors per team (18 in total), each of whom were responsible for 10 minutes of stage time after only having read the prior author's 10 minutes, and nothing before that. The results were CRAZY PANTS and excellently performed and directed. The culture surrounding the event was highly enjoyable, and palpably RICH in spirit, in joy, and in creativity. That's the kind of wealth that grants nourishment that sticks to your ribs. A "slice" of nice!

Also this week I began rehearsals for The Universal Rundle, one of 4 one-acts in Trav S.D.'s Tent Show Tetragrammaton. I am REALLY excited about this, and our initial meetings are pregnant with possibility...research deepens into Voudoun, cajun dialects, and the Blues...

∞ ♥

"per artem facit Magiam, arte faciendi magick"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Nina: I want to be perfect.
Thomas: Perfection is not just about control. It's also about letting go. Surprise yourself so you can surprise the audience. Transcendence! Very few have it in them.
Nina: I think I do have it in me.

My picks out of the nominations:

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King's Speech
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Best Supporting Actor: Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech
Best Picture: Black Swan, Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver, & Scott Franklin
Best Short: Wish 143, Ian Barnes & Samantha Waite
Best Documentary Feature: Gasland, Josh Fox & Trish Adlesic
Best Documentary Short: Warriors of Qiugang, Rachel Yang & Thomas Lennon
Best Animated Picture: The Illusionist, Sylvain Chomet
Best Animated Short: Day & Night, Teddy Newton
Best Foreign Feature: Mexico: Biutiful
Best Director: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Best Cinematographer: Roger Deakins, True Grit
Best Editor: Andrew Weisblum, Black Swan
Best Screenplay: David Seidler, The King's Speech
Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Best Original Score: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, The Social Network
Best Song: Randy Newman, "We Belong Together", Toy Story 3
Best Sound Editing: Gwendolyn Yates Whittle & Addison Teague, Tron: Legacy
Best Sound Mixing: Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, & Mark Weingarten, The Social Network
Best Art Direction: Eve Stewart - Production Design, Judy Farr - Set Decoration, The King's Speech
Best Costumes: Jenny Beavan, The King's Speech
Best Make-up: Rick Baker & Dave Elsey, The Wolf-man
Best Visual Effects: Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright, Daniel Sudlick, Iron Man 2

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

28 Months Later...

It was September 18th when I wrote my last Blog post, twenty-eight months ago to the day.

My last post was written just after I had learned that I was cast as Varney the Vampire in Bryan Enk & Matt Gray's Penny Dreadful. In the time since, I have performed in Penny Dreadful (#7: The Peril of Penny - a Damsel Lost in Time, #10: The Science and The Seance, #11: The House Where Bad Things Happen, #12: The Last Century) for Third Lows, Adventure Quest and A Brief History of Murder (Detectives & Victims) for Sneaky Snake, Suspicious Package Rx for Gyda Arber, George Bataille's Bathrobe, The Wedding of Berit Johnson and Ian W. Hill, and The Devils for Gemini CollisionWorks, Rudolf II for Untitled Theatre Company, Kinderspiel and Quantum Poetics for Stolen Chair Theatre Company , Bethlehem or Bust! for Piper McKenzie, STARBOAT for Nosedive Productions at Vampire Cowboys Saturday Night Saloon, and in Bryan Enk and Jessi Gotta's feature-length horror film, The Big Bad (which I hear is close to a screening date).

In the past 28 months, I have had the great gift and pleasure of working with the following slew of talented Artists and Artistic Companies, none of whom I had worked with before:
Mischa Auzins, Olivia Basemen, Ben Beckley, Adam Belvo, David Bengali, Lynn Berg, Alexis Black, Eric Bland, Pete Boisvert, Bob Brader, Sal Brienik, Becky Byers, Anne Carlisle, Hope Cartelli, Lindsey Carter, Josephine Cashman, Chris Chappelle, James Comtois, Rebecca Comtois, Joshua Conkle, Stephanie Cox-Williams, Audrey Crabtree, Kimberly Craven, Michael Criscuolo, Adri Disman, Liz Eckert, Bryan Enk, Saara Falk, Dorothy Fortenberry, Joe Gately, Dina Rose Gray, Matthew Gray, Liza Wade Green, Dave Gochfeld, Romo Hallahan, Mike Hill, Jon Hoche, James Isaac, Ishah Janssen-Faith, Sheila Joon, Michael Karp, Gavin Starr Kendall, Jeremiah Kipp, Julianne Kroboth, Daryl Lathon, Candace Lawrence, Kathryn Lawson, Jeff Lewonczyk, Miriam Lipner, Rich Lovejoy, Doug MacKrell, Jessica McVea, Chelsea Manifold, Justin Maruri, Samantha Mason, Rocio Mendez, Aviva Meyer, Patrice Miller, Mateo Moreno, Brian Morvant, Steve Munoz, Kevn Myers, Eric Oleson, Emily Otto, Robert Pinnock, Kiran Rikhye, Jane Rose, Trav S.D., Jessica Savage,Jack Schaub, Alley Scott, Parker Scott, Vanessa Shealey-Younger, Patrick Shearer, Noah Shultz, Dominick Sivilli, Jon Stancato, Anna Stromberg, Sara Thigpen, Christian Toth, Eve Udesky, Michael Vaccaro, Ben VandenBoom, Darlene Violette, Viet Vo, Art Wallace, David Watson, Jesse Paul Wilson, Mike Yahn, Christopher Yustin, Morgan Anne Zipf
Nosedive Productions, Piper McKenzie, Sneaky Snake, Stolen Chair Theatre Company, and Third Lows.

I was also happy to work again with these people:
Henry Akona, Gyda Arber, Fred Backus, Aaron Baker, Danny Bowes, Katherine Boynton, Maggie Cino, Ivanna Cullinan, Edward Einhorn, Sarah Malinda Engelke, Karen Flood, Carla Gant, Jessi Gotta, Stephen Heskett, Ian W. Hill, Justin R.G. Holcomb, Berit Johnson, Bob Laine, Roger Nasser, Karen Ott, Shelley Ray, Phoebe Silva, Bill Weeden, and Sandy York.

I designed settings and props for Penny Dreadful (#7: The Peril of Penny- a Damsel lost in Time, #9: The Terrible Tale of the Black Dragon, #11: The House Where Bad Things Happen,#12: The Last Century), settings for Caitlin and the Swan for The Management, props for Adventure Quest, and a murderous crucifix (The CRUCIFILER) for Roger Nasser's short horror film Leviticus 26.

In other areas of my life during the last 28, my maternal grandmother, Lucille Curry McCown, passed away in the Summer of 2009, and I went down to be there for my mother. It was my first funeral. I stayed for a week and helped my Mom get things settled. Surreal and natural.

Moved into Bushwick from the Burg, getting much more space for much less money. (The rent is still too damn high) The goal has been to create a rehearsal/performance space out of the new homestead. With the help of Abariss Culjak and Danny Pudelek, I built a big loft, which is 90% complete (is construction/home improvement ever finished?). Building well is its own reward.

I will say that the past 28 months has seen:
  • The development of my design/builder skill set -
  • An increased trust in my intuition, and the development of that trust into a practice -
  • A clearing away of obstacles - both deliberate and happenstantially
  • The broadening and deepening of my artistic community -
  • A return to visual art as a practice -

I went to the Actor's Equity Audition Center today to audition for Pennsylvania Shakespeare, but arrived far too late to be seen (#141 on the alternate list). I have been lucky at the last few auditions that I have been to at the AEA Center, strolling in at 10 or 11am and getting an appointment. Not so today: the first person on line today got there at 5:30am, The call opened at 8am, and they were out of appointments by 8:30am.
Rumour has it that they will have another date in February (here's hoping), and - lesson learned - I will be up early for the next call and all hereafter.
The venture was not without reward, however, as I was fortunate to see a few friends at Equity - Alexis Black, Amy Liszka, Josh Silverman, and Sheila Joon to name a few - which is always nice, but I also had a bit of a breakthrough concerning the piece I had chosen for today's audition while working through it as I waited. I look forward to doing it soon! More auditions are coming up on the 27th (The Bridge Project's Richard III) and on February 28th there is Hudson Valley Shakespeare, with more Summer Stock opportunities posting every day, so we shall see.

I will be performing in The Universal Rundle, one of 4 one-acts that comprise Trav S.D.'s Tent Show Tetragrammaton running at La Mama E.T.C. from March 17th - April 3rd (my Birthday!)

Blue-beard Part I: The Angel - in process
Blue-beard Part II: The Devil - in process

A 3-part Dungeons & Dragons adventure to be hopefully sold freelance to WOTC - all in process:
I: The Rooted Court
II: The Shardstones of the PhaseQueen's Horde
III: The Mage of the Silver Tower

As above so below,


∞ ♥
"per artem facit Magiam, arte faciendi magick"