Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Summer, Unattended

It's now after Labor Day, so summer, at least unofficially, is over. Personally, I can't detect any difference between yesterday and today; the weather is exactly the same, and I don't see anybody yanking out their autumn sweaters due to the chill in the air. I have never lived in a place where the Autumn Chill happened much before mid-October.

But I digress. I attended a Labor Day BBQ out in the hinterlands of Maryland, to celebrate the ending of the season, so in that spirit, even though I am still sweating when I spend time outside, I will consider the Summer of 2008 over.

I think I missed it.

Many, many things happened this summer. I watched most of them from afar.

Of course, the Olympics dominated the season. I resisted watching the games on TV, though I did succumb to curiosity enough to catch an event or two online, after the fact. I watched Michael Phelps, the world's most unlikely sex symbol, win his record breaking medal, and I also watched that event he won by a .01 margin. But I only tuned in after I had heard all about it. I watched it in retrospect.

I did not watch the Opening Ceremonies, but enjoyed the later revelations that the Chinese had jazzed up the proceedings electronically for the TV audience. I felt bad for the little Chinese girl who was deemed too homely to present to the world, and was replaced by a more photogenic model. When that story hit, you'd have thought there was proof that the moon landing was faked. I had to chuckle. Americans would NEVER have done such a thing as replace an ugly girl with a cuter one, would they? No, Americans would have chosen a cute kid in the first place, and worried about the way she sounded later...

...remember they hired Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Wood, and Deborah Kerr before hiring Marni Nixon...

But I watched these and other Olympic moments from afar, usually by reading about them in the newspaper. As I said, I did not watch a single event live on television. What's up with that?

Missed the conventions, too. We're currently in the midst of the GOP wankfest, all of which I decline to view. I doubt I'll watch any presidential debate, either. I have a hunch, however, that I may enjoy the VICE-presidential debate...hehehe...

Yes, I know I was supposed to watch the Democratic convention, which was reportedly inspiring and uplifting and healing and all that. I'm really not sure why I didn't. It was an historic moment, after all. What the hell was wrong with me this season?

The summer of '08 began for me in the middle of June, the day after I finished my Spring Fling with Shear Madness. I had no future productions lined up, which is not that unusual in my life, and I was not overly concerned. I had a day's work on a film, which I did the week following my departure from The Madness. And I continued to be involved with the ongoing series of staged readings sponsored by the Washington Stage Guild.

Those readings took on added significance with the unexpected death of WSG's founding artistic director, John MacDonald. I cannot claim to have been one of John's intimates, but he welcomed me into the Stage Guild's fold over a year ago when I appeared in Opus. John, together with his wife Ann, had the ability to make you immediately feel like a member of the family. His loss cast a long shadow over the summer for me. It continues to do so.

For me, part of the usual fun of summer is Summer Stock. I was not invited to participate in any Summer Stock this year, but I did have a bit of fun seeing two shows at Totem Pole Playhouse, cheering on several friends, including Ray Ficca, who will be taking over the place in September. But somehow (through my own fault, I know), I missed both shows at Wayside Theatre this summer. I had two grand friends, Thomasin Savaiano and Larry Dahlke, in Always Patsy Cline, the show which reopened Wayside's theatre, and I had a strong curiosity about Moonlight and Magnolias, which Wayside produced at Shenandoah University. I am disturbed with myself that I let both these shows slip away without my seeing them, as I always have a ball seeing Wayside productions, wherever they are.

I also missed the entire four show season at Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre, a stock company to which I have grown attached over the years. I worked with both Robin Higginbotham and Carl Danielson last season in Bye Bye Birdie; this year they appeared together in the SSMT season opener, Singing in the Rain:

I heard that the lovely and talented Rick Wesley, with whom I have not worked but would give my left gonad to do so, was superb in the SSMT closer, The Producers:

I had planned to see both those shows. I saw neither.

It's all part of this feeling I have, that I was not really present this summer.

I did take a bit of action toward, you know, life, when I enjoyed a visit to my father in North Carolina. While there, I attended an audition at the up-and-coming North Carolina Stage Company. As I plan to spend much more time with Dear Ol' Dad in the near future, I have hopes that some work may pop up with NCSC. They are a theatre to watch.

My best friends Scott and Drew celebrated their 25th year together by getting legally married in Los Angeles this summer. I've been honored to be a part of their lives together from the beginning, when we shared a shoddy apartment in Panorama City in the early 80s, and I could not have been happier that they became legal this summer.

But again, I watched from afar.

So, regarding the Summer of 2008, I did much more observing than participating. Can't really explain it, but I know it's not a good thing. Perhaps I'll feel more motivated once the temperatures drop. I usually feel much more energized with a nip in the air.

I wonder where I can buy some firewood...