Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday Dance Party: Champagne Tastes

I really dislike New Year's Eve, always have. For the reasons why, you can visit the entry I offered the very first year of these pages. Today is the day one is supposed to take stock of one's life, examining the past year and making resolutions for the next one. I don't usually make resolutions (though I did a few years ago, go here if you wanna see; I've just reread the entry, and those resolutions still hold true for this year...what does that tell you?). There is just too much self-disappointment when I don't follow through with vague promises I make to myself. Who wants that?

As for looking back, well, a quick look wouldn't hurt. I had a pretty quiet year, professionally, but whenever I was working, it was on a project I loved (that doesn't always happen). Early in 2010, I spent several months with my beloved Washington Stage Guild in their world premiere production of Lord Arthur Savile's Crime. Artistic Director Bill Largess had adapted a little Oscar Wilde novella, and it worked pretty great onstage. Of course, I did not hesitate to let Bill know, after our closing, how I thought the script could be improved. I'm surprised he's still talking to me.

A little later in the year, I spent a week at Ford's Theatre, workshopping a staged reading of the musical Parade. I was surrounded by the cream of DC's musical crop of actor/singers, plus a couple of topnotch NY folks and director extraordinaire Jeff Calhoun. I was seriously outclassed by the musical talent with whom I shared the stage, but I didn't complain.

I finished the year with a whirlwind shooting of A Modest Suggestion, a low-budget feature film regarding the foolishness of anti-Semitism. My experience on film does not begin to compare with my stage work, as I wrote a couple of years ago, but this project may have some traction. Due to the intricate pre-production work done by the producers and director, and the marvels of the digital world, the film was completed in only a few weeks. And I mean completed, including music and everything. It's currently being shopped to various film festivals, so who knows what further life it may have.

Judging from the trailers which have been posted, this little film actually turned out quiet well. If you want to take a peek, the trailers are only a minute long each:

I really don't know which of these is my favorite. Here is the other one:

On the personal front, I did some traveling this year, including several trips to the North Carolina mountains, and several to Los Angeles. These fun times more than made up for the disappointments of the year. I won't mention the gig I lost because I had food poisoning, nor the gig I lost because I have male genitalia. I wasn't bulldog enough for one gig, and lost yet another when the producers decided they'd rather have a Tony Award winner play the part. But I prefer not to dwell on these disappointments. I can hardly remember them!

OK, I've had it with the looking back, at least on the personal/professional side. Check back to these pages tomorrow or the next day for my annual rundown of all the obits I penned this year. Until then, it's time to celebrate with some champagne and some classy cabaret. Who better to ring in the new year than the late, great Eartha Kitt? She died several years ago, on Christmas day, but why shouldn't she help usher in 2011 anyway? This clip shows Kitt doing the "speak-sing" thing which she used more and more as she aged, but she is still a dynamic, unusual presence onstage. I like her attitude here. I can't think of a better way to wish everybody a Happy New Year Dance Party: