If you pause today to remember the horrible events of nine years ago, I certainly hope that you are able to keep your thoughts away from the political and insidious gamesmanship that is currently going on around the anniversary. Over 3000 people lost their lives that day because others decided to kill them using their religion as a shield, a weapon, and a justification. Many others have since in response to those events. The perpetrators not only took innocent lives, but forever wounded their own religion with scars that will always be apparent in a world that is all too slowly and incrementally inching closer, albeit in fits and starts, from acknowledging its differences and its sameness. That day can't come soon enough. But that day nine years ago brought not only immediate tragedy, but a boiling to the surface of the baser and selfish instincts that our species is capable of. We're seeing that on brilliant display this year. In that sense the bad guys won.
It's tough to watch the circuses surrounding this year's anniversary of 9/11 because the actions and emotions of so many just reminds me how fragile the balance of humanity and what we call civilization really is, and how easy it is to tip it.
The acts of the murderers on that day can never be defended in any fashion, but then in my view neither can the actions of those who currently prey on the wounds still very raw from that day. The only solace I can take in any of this is to keep in mind that while many suffered horrible tragedy that day, others heard the call of the better side of our nature and responded with heroism and sacrifice that proved we are capable of rising while others seek to make us fall through their own ascendancy.
I'm not familiar with David Shrigley, (a fact that is about to change), but based on this video for the campaign in Britain to Save the Arts from large cuts, I love his sense of humor. It's no secret the arts are suffering here in the US as well in these insane economic times, and it would certainly be great if our lobbying efforts here in the states approached the issue with Shrigley's sense of humor.
But then, it probably strikes to close to home for too many in this country to be taken as humor or even irony.
I've refrained from blogging about Pastor Terry Jones and his Koran burning desires on September 11, simply because I felt the effort didn't need any more recognition than the other gazillion nut cases efforts to grab attention in the world on any given day did.
But now that he's become the number one news item everywhere, I guess that's beside the point. Every time I see a picture of Mr. Jones, I'm reminded of John Brown, especially some of the images of him clean shaven. Of course that's probably because I spent so much time researching and writing about Brown years ago. I'm not comparing the causes here because they can't be compared, but I'm looking at the personalities and the drive. Both supposed "men of God" seem(ed) hell bent on proving their point regardless of the outcome. Both stories prove just how much extremism can carry us into dangerous corners once we loose the bonds of reason.
While John Brown's actions and what they meant are certainly debatable from legal, political, and moral standpoints, I can't see where Jones has much credence beyond his probably somewhat unintentional success in becoming a world wide media circus. He's inflaming an already tense set of passions to the point where someone will get hurt. This guy has created a dance with the devil that we're all going to be witness to one way or the other. Whether or not any Koran gets burned, he's already achieved his aim to a large extent, and we'll have to live with that as well. Let's just hope that witnessing the insanity this has already become and continues to threaten will be the worst any of us is exposed to. Somehow, I doubt it.
Give this a watch, and you can get a taste of what Striking 12 at Wayside Theatre is all about. You really need to see this to fully "get it." We've got performances until September 25, so come on down for some rock and roll fun.
My wife, Thomasin, and I have enjoyed celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary this weekend. We didn't plan on it being a weekend celebration, but life sometimes intervenes and well, we just partied with the flow. We spent the evening of our anniversary watching our wedding, reception, and honeymoon videos. We laughed a lot and cringed a lot as we would notice folks and realized that this couple and that couple weren't together anymore, how much so and so had changed, and there was the occasional, who the hell is that.
We also got very emotional when we realized that tagged onto the end of our honeymoon video that there were two clips of Thomasin showing our wedding photos to her two grandmothers, both of whom have since passed a way. Rare and wonderful memories that we'd forgotten we had.
Then yesterday was one of those confluences of our wacky lives that seem to happen quite frequently in our life at Wayside Theatre. We had two performances of Striking 12 ready to go, and folks from several different walks of our lives just sort of miraculously decided to attend one or the other. Former colleagues and former friends all headed to Middletown to check out the show, and to spend some time together. The most far flung journey goes to Scott Sandoe, a choreographer, and now writer who has been living in LA since before we moved to Virginia.
Scooter knew and worked with Thomasin before I knew her. Scooter was a part of a team that I worked with more times than I can count in Chicago, mostly at New Tuners Theatre. Scooter was the choreographer, Judy Myers was the musical director, and I was the director as we tackled new musicals in workshop form mostly, and occasionally in full productions. Scooter could always make anyone laugh and he was as creative with choreography and comedy as anyone I've ever worked with. Still is I imagine. He and I had some crazy insane experiences together both in work and in life. (Ask him about the time I helped him get home after a bout of bar hopping and we went to his old apartment by mistake.)
We kept peripherally in touch over the years (Facebook helped that when it came along) and I've tried to hire Scooter to come and work here several times to no avail. He's had an incredible journey through life, battling (and for the moment) beating cancer, and battling the system as he's been making his way through the jungles of Hollywood. He's one of those people that you just want to be with, and he proved that again yesterday, as well as proving that this world is really a small one, even though he seems to know everyone in it, well enough to make it a very large circus tent.
While here, Scooter's unbridled response to Striking 12 gave everyone associated with the show a big boost of energy. The stories he unashamedly told us all, some about our past, some about his life, were an entertainment that we could have sold tickets to. (Damn, wish I'd thought of that sooner.) He connected me up with a friend of his who is a playwright I was vaguely aware of. He and another of our friends who showed up yesterday, Jim Fleming, seem to have become good new friends, as Scooter invited himself to a new play reading Jim was on his way to in Washington. Scooter just kind of invites you into his life that way, and it's your loss if you don't accept the invitation or go along for the ride.
Thomasin and I haven't laughed so much in a long time. The hugs and kisses as the night came to an end were bittersweet and contained a few tears. But like I said, life is messy sometimes. But as Scooter proved yesterday, all that mess gives you a lot to laugh about, if you're able to open your eyes and heart to the human comedy of it all, and take a moment or two to remind yourself of the laughs and fun you've had along the way.
My lovely wife Thomasin and I are celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary today. As usual we're running to and fro, with a full day of work, and of course there is a performance of Striking 12 at the theatre tonight, although I think, since she's not in this show, we'll beg off and spend some time together. Our life over these last 10 years has been completely wrapped up in Wayside Theatre. Everything about what we do is somehow geared to the ins and outs, ups and downs of what it takes to mount shows and keep the theatre open and moving forward. These days that's harder than it used to be, that's for sure.
But even though that's the case, Thomasin keeps us both going somehow. And I mean keeps us both going. One of these years we need to break away for more than a few moments and actually celebrate this anniversary, but in many ways that would be so out of character for the both of us. Although of late, I think we're both feeling different about that. Even so, I cherish the life we have together.
When we got married on September 3, 2000, it was a hot and steamy day. Everyone remembers it as a wonderful wedding, some say the most amazing and fun wedding they ever attended. Even if we were all drenched in sweat. I remember it as the best day of my life. We were surrounded by friends and family and everyone had a blast. We're blessed that our life in the theatre always sees us surrounded by amazing creative people, and we take strength and find great joy in that. We also feel it keenly when those friends move on or drift away. Since that day, we've been through quite a bit together, but the key is we've been through it all together. There's been lots of laughter, some tears, and even some drama now and then. But we're still plugging at it.
So, as we head into the day today, I'm pausing to say Happy 10th Anniversary to my wife and partner, and I'm grateful for what we've shared these last 10 years and look forward to sharing even more in the years to come. Love you babe.