What I'm doing and what I'm watching

I had a full and interesting weekend.
Started Saturday with some Karate, and then broke it up by going to the new Seattle international Film Festival office/theater space where i got to participate in a Master Class on Directing Actors. I wasn't there to be a student... I was the guinea pig! My friend, Travis Sterner, had signed up for the class ans he wrote a scene for me and a lovely actress named Luisa to perform. the instructor was an amazing teacher named Judith Wexler. She had us run the scene... which felt flat... It's not surprising that happened. We had just learned it and also we had just met and all of a sudden we were performing this in front of a room full of critical strangers. So Judith asked us how we prepared and Luisa said she had found emotional subtitutes for her beats in the script and I said that I had just memorized it and practiced it from several different angles so I would feel warmed up and flexible and ready to try things. Travis talked about how he tried to direct us toward the emotional states of these people. And then Judith did something interesting... she asked Travis why he wrote this scene... and the question and answer opened up this whole landscape of possibility for the few pages of dialogue... We then improvised the scene from a couple of different angles. It was like swinging on the trapeze without a net. We had no idea where we were going but while we were out there, the sights were glorious. I'd never worked with a teacher like that before, but I had the easy part. Travis had to watch us riffing variations on the words he had sweated over. but I think he learned a great deal about how to build full, realistic characters. all in all, a great way to spend a couple of hours. Then, i went back to the dojo and danced with my sparring partners for a while and then went off to work until 1 in the morning!

So ... what am i watching lately?
News Flash... the best show on television is "Louie" on FX. At first glance it looks like "Seinfeld" with basic cable swearing. But give it a few minutes and you'll be hypnotized by this brutally honest and poignant show. Louis C.K., the writer, director, editor and star, is closer to Chaplin than Seinfeld. His stories don't have big laughs at the end, the joke is often on him, the bad guys often win but just as often wind up sitting down on a stoop with him asking "What the fuck just happened?". The stories are punctuated by beautiful moments of human connection. Simply amazing. 

Then there's "Archer".

Rude, Raunchy, and Hilarious... "Archer" is the funniest thing on Television right now. The hero is the world's greatest secret agent... and a total dickwad . That's not a term i through around lightly, you know. Imagine James Bond crossed with George W. Bush and working in an office staffed by all those people you're glad you don't work with anymore

"Justified" - a great cop show inspired by Elmore Leonard about a federal marshal in the coal country of Kentucky. His ex-wife sums him up as "the angriest man I know", but the show is all about the impulses we give into and the ones we don't and how we live with those choices.

"Sons of Anarchy" -

Great actors telling the story of a Southern California motorcycle club... It started out as a biker riff on Shakespeare... a little Prince Hal, a little Lady Macbeth... but lately it's become it's own thing and right now it's all about the power of the lie. I'm not sure there's one person in the show who's being completely honest with anybody and the resultant tension is exquisite.

And ,of course, "The Good Wife".

What am I not watching?
"American Horror Story"... wow. what a stinker. There are things in that first episode that Iwill never be able to un-see.


  1. Doc Martin is my latest discovery. Good writing - blend of funny stuff and real stuff. In the middle of "how can this guy be so thick?" is a guy coping as best he can - and sometimes he shines.


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