M i l M a n i a
The Official Newsletter of WWW.ARTISTINSANE.COM
Thanks for reading this issue of Mil Mania! And, remember, this is a work in progress, subject to many and varied changes — all adding up to a new and improved publication...so I hope! Please drop me a line to let me know what you think, including any and all suggestions. Thank you!!!
All Content © Mil Scott www.artistinsane.com
Welcome To The May Issue of Mil Mania!
` Volume 2, Issue 5, May 2006
As noted in the December edition of Mil Mania, I will continue to include news in every issue to keep readers up to date on the latest happenings with the three acts most prominently featured on www.artistinsane.com. In addition, for each issue I will also choose one additional artist — in some cases a new discovery I’ve recently made, in others an individual or group whose work I’ve long appreciated — to make a one-time appearance here. And, of course, as with all aspects of Mil Mania, feel free to offer suggestions.
Phil Vassar — I suspect
For more info, visit www.philvassar.com.
Third Eye Blind played Villanova PA (and a couple of other locales) in April as noted in the previous issue of Mil Mania. Unfortunately, as feared, I was unable to attend this show, so firsthand details from me are absent. However, thanks once again to The Village Churchyard, you can experience the show for yourself almost as though you’d attended, since a kind fan has posted both audio and (selected) video of the entire show! What’s more, Adam (the site’s administrator) recently posted an announcement regarding my 3eb bio, which has now been published to TVCY. And, I plan to begin work on the individual bios of all band members within the next few days, so watch for these as well.
Also, Third Eye Blind has launched a newly revamped page at myspace.com — complete with photos, info and a free download of a previously unreleased song. So — go there now!
Brian Fitzpatrick takes to the stage again for two May appearances — at The Fireside in Denville, NJ on the 20th and The Goldhawk in Hoboken on the 24th. Check out the tour page of his website for additional details.
Michael McDermott recently hit NYC for two consecutive nights, with many more shows constantly being added for other parts of the country — and later this year, the world. Following a successful 2005 tour of England and Ireland, Michael is scheduled to return to that region for a series of as yet undisclosed dates sometime this summer or early fall.
Ravings of a
This column corresponds with the Mad Ravings On section of www.artistinsane.com, and is dedicated to selected reviews of movies, television and books… most of which are unlikely to represent “the latest” in any of these categories, but rather a random selection that represents a new and/or noteworthy discovery to me.
In flipping through the cable TV offerings a few weeks back, I ran across a film I’d loved instantly upon first seeing it on video several years ago , and therefore stopped to give it a second look in the present day — a sometimes uncertain experience since, as Shakespeare reminds us “a man loves the meat in his youth he cannot endure in his age”… In this case, however, I was pleasantly surprised to re-discover all the reasons I’d loved this particular bit of meat — or rather fish — in the first place. Hence, this month’s review of 1991’s The Fisher King...
While The Da Vinci Code, opening this month, presents an imaginative quest for (what I see as, anyway) a ridiculous interpretation of The Holy Grail, this film that predates it by 15 years presents a very different imaginative quest for an equally ridiculous version of that same object. While the first of these is just too much “unreal seriousness” for me to swallow, however, the latter is an intelligent, funny and poignant journey about redemption, and the unexpected help in attaining this one man finds along the way.
New York City shock jock Jack Lucas views his callers as mere fodder for his sense of superiority – taking smug pride in his ability to cut them down via the airwaves as his ratings and marketability soar. But, when a particularly disturbed individual turns to him in desperation, only to be ridiculed by Jack, and sarcastically dismissed, this caller doesn’t merely hang up and cry. He goes into a crowded restaurant with a loaded gun, randomly killing all patrons in his path. Jack’s discovery of this on the TV news suddenly brings into chilling perspective the consequences of his actions, and starts him on an odyssey into a downward spiral of drunkenness and confusion – a state confounded by his chance meeting with Parry, a once contented medieval history professor; now the homeless and haunted widower of one of this killer’s victims.
(If you haven’t met me yet, you
First, I just want to say thanks for the questions and comments! I’m so excited to be getting mail from readers — although I have to admit I was a little saddened to learn I’d inadvertently offended one of these with something I said in my prior column. So, let me share what she had to say and address that, and then I’ll move on to my bit of “madvice” for this month…
Honestly, Ms. Mous, I must confess I was a little surprised to receive these words from a hu-woman, as I was under the impression On The Road’s appeal was more likely to the philandering humens Marking Time in Mayhem asked about in the last issue — maybe simply because misery loves company, or maybe so they can put forth the example of a literary classic to explain why their own visit to the vet for neutering should be put off.
Well, Ruffled, that’s a very interesting question, and one that I think may be confusing me with my VERY noisy neighbors...the youngest of whom were actually born in a beautiful, roomy potato flakes container — for which they didn’t have enough respect to keep from chewing it to pieces! Personally, I have a smaller version of just such an object, given me the very first night I moved in with my adoptive mom and dad, and I still have it — perfectly intact, and beautifully stuffed with one of the especially cozy mattresses that came in a bag on Valentine’s Day from my favorite aunt. I swear, these spoiled young moms who know nothing of living out in the wilderness — with no containers of any kind to sleep in — will let their children get away with anything.
(by... Molly, of course!)
Click the bouquet above for a bit of history and other fun info about this very special holiday.
And, click here to visit the page of a particularly special mom.
Comments from Mil Mania readers
In A Nutshell
Events become mere memories,
What is the future,
If not something
We are building
Do we not build
On what has been...
Do we not reshape
What has come before,
And what is now,
To create what is to come?
A song in a darkened room…
Art itself, both
A building block,
And the building.
The past, the future
They are one.
They are you,
They are me,
And they are brought together
By a common language
That spans all time…
Of life itself.
Once more I’m sending the latest issue of this
Writings From The Asylum
The Leap to Limbo (tentative title),
Josh absently flipped though the channels on the remote, passing from one morning TV program to another, each featuring the expected cookie cutter match-ups of perky, perfectly suited and coiffed pairs of warm and fuzzy male and female co-anchors. In his own sleep-deprived, grief-muddled and far from perky state, it passed through his mind just how appropriate the term anchor seemed for all of them…considering how fervently he wished he could push every one over a cliff into pounding surf and watch them sink into oblivion. Switching off the TV, he stood up and began looking around for his keys so abruptly he made Sultan jump from his cozy position on a nearby pillow and look at Josh expectantly.
“Yeah, yeah, I hear you. You want breakfast.”
Noting Sultan wasn’t budging any further until he did so, Josh continued, “You don’t trust me? Go on. I’m coming.”
Josh opened a cabinet door and took out a bag of cat food, filling one of the two bowls by the refrigerator as Sultan looked on, purring with approval. He then removed the water bottle from the fridge and poured some of its contents into the other, taking a long drink for himself before putting both the bottle and bag away, and heading toward the front door. Picking up his keys and wristwatch, he glanced at the time on the latter before reconsidering his departure, and heading back into the living room instead.
Picking up an acoustic guitar leaning against a far wall, he sat down on the couch and started playing a few chords, strumming away with no real tune in mind for a few minutes, before gradually starting to fingerpick the beginnings of a melody, eventually trying out a few variations on the initial sound.
He reached suddenly for a pen on an end table, and grabbed a napkin from last night’s dinner lying under the coffee table on the floor. Starting to scribble down notes on this potential new composition, he found the pen to be out of ink, muttered a curse under his breath, and hurled the offending object across the room, causing a momentary cease in the contented crunching sounds steadily coming from the kitchen.
The phone just above Sultan’s head started ringing as Josh walked to the bedroom and opened the top drawer of a desk. He heard the elongated beep of the answering machine, wondering dully if all home appliances weren’t in fact designed to serve as subtle forms of torture, and Tommy’s voice on the other end of the line asking, “Hey Josh, you there? Pick up if you are. We’ve gotta talk.”
Ignoring the moment of silence that followed, before a mildly confused sounding, “Okay, I’ll call back,” Josh continued his impatient rummaging for another pen, removing a spiral notebook Julie’d used for one of her community college courses in the process. At last finding what he sought, and trying it out on the cover to make sure this one had ink, he then flipped through the notebook and tore out a blank page. About to close the book again, he was stopped by the words he’d left naked on the next one – which appeared to be a poem written in Julie’s hand…
“You say you see me as your own,
Expect a card on Mother’s Day;
But I know in your heart I’m just
Your picture of Dorian Gray…”
Intrigued, Josh stopped reading briefly to flip back to the beginning of the notebook in search of some indication as to what course it had accompanied. Finding the words, “Western Civilization I” on the inside flap, he couldn’t help letting out a quick laugh of derision, given the verse he’d just discovered seemed to cover the subject of the far from civilized aunt’s home in which Julie’d grown up. Was there no end to the hints he’d long been missing regarding the ironies of life? Worse than that, were there an equal number of solutions to Julie’s problems he’d missed as well? Hell, he hadn’t even known she wrote poetry. Maybe he was just beginning to realize how little he’d known her.
“If you could only see
If you saw you through my eyes,
You’d see how it should be...
Suddenly ripping the page out of the notebook, Josh started back to the living room, turning back quickly to grab the pen he’d been seeking in the first place, before he crossed once more to the couch and his guitar. Laying the piece of paper containing Julie’s words before him on the coffee table, he started picking at the melody he’d been playing around with earlier, and singing the last lines he’d just read to form a chorus. Letting out an excited, “Yes, that’s it!” he reached over the guitar to mark a few notes on the page, then put the pen down again, and set to work on the first verse.
Still engrossed in this endeavor when the phone started ringing again, Josh had no idea if mere minutes or hours had passed, but once more allowed the answering machine to deal with Tommy’s follow-up to his earlier call. “Okay, I guess you’re still not there. Call me.”
You can read the rest of the lyrics to the song mentioned in this chapter by clicking here.
As introduced in the first issue of Mil Mania, this column presents the latest chapter in the prose “prequel” to my screenplay, Taking the Fall. While the script picks up four years after the suicide of the main character (Joshua Gray)’s girlfriend, the novel begins with that act itself, and the portion shared here continues to document events taking place in the days after the funeral...
“Thank you so much for the beautiful paintings - [your mom] has a wonderful talent. And, thank you for the story of Josh. You are two remarkably talented ladies.”
“I was so happy to hear that you were highlighting your mother's paintings in your newsletter...Thanks very much.”
“I read your newsletter this morning. REALLY loved the response to Marking Time in Mayhem. Especially the last part about neutering. Hilarious! Also, really enjoyed reading your interview with your mom and thought her paintings are really, really lovely. “
“Thank you for bringing my attention to your mom's beautiful artwork! I love how she captures nature. I can just imagine how stunning her work is in real life.”
The following is a letter I sent actor/director/theater founder Gary Sinise just after seeing his film version of Of Mice and Men (when I was first becoming involved in acting myself). After reading it, you may want to view his response by clicking here.
Dear Mr. Sinise,
To begin I must say that this is the fourth attempt I have made to write to you regarding how deeply I was touched by your moving interpretation of John Steinbeck’s beautiful and heartbreaking tale, Of Mice and Men. I usually have little difficulty in putting my thoughts on paper (not that I frequently send them to filmmakers or other famous persons), but in this particular case it has proven nearly impossible. Perhaps this is attributable to fear that the praise of one unknown moviegoer might pale in significance alongside the countless positive reactions the film has received from the critics – I don’t know. In any case, as to professional criticisms, I have seen only one negative comment – in The New Yorker, and the depth of its scathing disregard for the contributions of nearly every member of the cast, and you in particular, caused me to conclude that either this critic bears a personal grudge against you or is severely lacking in good taste.
Interestingly enough, however, this is the only review I had seen prior to attending the film itself, and the fact that it so mercilessly attacked John Malkovich’s portrayal of Lennie prompted instant skepticism. Mr. Malkovich has for quite some time been a favorite of both my husband and myself for the success he has achieved in bringing to life so completely such diverse characters as the Vicomte de Valmont, Tom Wingfield, and Port Moresby, and it was hardly conceivable that he had failed to do so with Lennie Small.
In regards to your previous accomplishments, however, I was completely unaware of what they had been or from where you had come. Since I am a theater student and a text used in a class I am attending contains several references to Steppenwolf Theater Company (though your name is not specifically mentioned) and its excellence, I now confess this rather meekly – even more so, in fact, having recently learned that you are not only a co-founder of this company but also a Best Actor Tony Award nominee for your role in its production of The Grapes of Wrath.
Anyway, the one positive aspect of this ignorance is that it allowed me to form a totally unbiased opinion of your work, and I will thereby attempt to justify myself only by saying that although I entered the theater not knowing your name, by the time I left, it was certain it would never be forgotten.
It’s been forever impressed upon me as a student that the purpose of a theatrical production (or a film) is not for the actors to merely feel the emotions of the characters but for all aspects of the production to combine in such a way that an effect is achieved on the members of an audience as they are enabled to understand and respond to the characters, their feelings and the situations in which they find themselves. I state this because it is your achievement of this objective that stands out so notably in my mind in appreciating this film.
As I had read Steinbeck’s original work and felt its impact before seeing the film, I very much wanted to analyze various aspects of the acting and directing in an objective manner and take note of what you had added to and subtracted from the original story and dialogue since I knew basically what was going to happen along the way. In so doing, I was immediately impressed with your skill as a director while viewing the opening of the film as shafts of light begin to appear and movement of a train becomes apparent before we are brought to the desolate picture of George seated in the shadows of a boxcar. And, upon taking us from this immediately to George and Lennie’s escape from Weed (and subsequently showing them together in a boxcar) you perfectly justified this opening while providing exposition that helps us to understand the relationship between George and Lennie, along with reasons for George’s nearly perpetual state of wariness and concern, not to mention his rather short temper.
Furthermore, at so many points your skill as an actor combines with this clearsightedness as a director to focus us completely on George’s thoughts at critical moments such as when he turns to glance back at Lennie three times while crossing a space of not more than ten feet to aid, at Slim’s request, in taking the injured Curley to the wagon, and as he comforts Lennie while cleaning up the cuts on his face a moment later (one of my favorite parts of the film for its tenderness and picturesque beauty when the camera pulls away). This combination of talents is further evidenced near the conclusion of the film in the transformation of George’s face as Candy attempts to tell him of his dreadful discovery in the barn, and in the events that follow -- all so appropriate in drawing us into George’s mind, which is clearly on Lennie rather than the dead girl, that I could not help but take especial notice.
I would like to thank you for your dedication to quality in making this film and your regard for those of us who see theatre and films as so much more than mere forms of entertainment. I hope you will continue to use your talents in such a positive way and in so doing continue as well to provide inspiration for novices in the theatrical field like myself. It is my greatest desire to touch people as you have, through Of Mice and Men, touched me and, I am sure, so many others.
In closing, I would like to ask for any advice that you might offer one attempting to get started in stage acting, and in my case, writing as well. I will admit I am most anxious to gain experience as quickly as possible – after all, I would hate to not be considered qualified for major roles until I have reached an age that makes the lead in Driving Miss Daisy the only for which I’m eligible.
That matter aside, however, thank you again for making Of Mice and Men, and for taking the time to read my letter (which seems to have turned into a rather lengthy dissertation – for this I apologize). Perhaps one day I will have the privilege of working with you, and like you, winning the dislike of the critic for The New Yorker. I only hope I might come even half as close as you to being worthy of his insults.
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