Baby's First Screener

I love mail.  Love it.  And surprises such as this make me love it even more;  behold:

If it looks like a brand-new copy of The Help, mailed courtesy of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, it’s because it is.

One of the many benefits of SAG membership include an onslaught of free movies ‘round this time of year, all in hope of earning my vote.  Makes a girl feel special.


The One-Two Commercial Punch of HELL-to-the-YES!

This evening brought a thrilling two-part televisual surprise: I arrived home to find the TV on, muted, with a rerun of the American version of The Office bumbling along (nothing terribly remarkable about that – but wait! There’s MORE!). TBS then broke for commercials and I was blindsided by the trailer for Rango – the new animated film starring Johnny Depp as a gecko; the very same animated film that features my longtime soul-friend Rick Garcia’s music and singing voice of the mariachi owls.

I damn near burst with pride.

And just when I thought I couldn’t have been more pleased – I noticed that the trailer was directly followed by one of my Yoplait Light yogurt commercials. I don’t do the main VO, mind you, just the tag at the end - “Find Yoplait Light cups on sale this week at your neighborhood Albertsons” (or Jewel-Osco, or Acme, or Cub, or Farm Fresh, or Shaw’s, or Kroger, or Fry’s, or King Soopers, or Smith’s or what have you).

But still! Following the incredible talent of my dearest Rick (and, of course, Johnny Depp – I mean, HELLO!) on national TV was pretty freaking sweet. And made mid-winter Minneapolis just a little bit warmer, starting with my heart.


But seriously, I mean it.

Slings & Arrows

I don’t watch TV. This is not a higher-than-thou artiste assertion; actually quite the opposite. I have deep-seeded slovenly tendencies and the pretty shiny light box nurtures my inner mouthbreather; it’s better to just avoid TV all together. I DO, however, have a TV. To which a DVD player is connected. In which I play movies and quality, commercial-free, scripted television shows recommended by people I trust. If I’m going to drool and stop blinking for thirty minutes at a stretch, it better be for something really, really good. Which brings me to the following public love-letter to the creators/writers of Slings & Arrows, a bitingly accurate and stunningly hilarious Canadian television show following a loose-cannon director, the gritty rehearsal process, and the bureaucratic hell of arts administration. It is brilliance. Having worked for fifteen years as a performer, five years in arts administration, and a year in a granting organization, this show slays every single aspect…from the fights with Development over corporate sponsor logo placement to the angst of the performing apprentices in the wake of some diva’s breakdown. And yes, in case anyone was wondering, it appears that being a stage manager really is as thankless as it looks – those people should be sainted.

Written by Mark McKinney of The Kids in the Hall, playwright Susan Coyne (who coincidentally plays here one of the best understated comedic roles of all time), and a comedian named Bob Martin, it served as a perfect peek backstage for my non-theater-person mate...finally something that accurately demonstrates what I experience during rehearsals; because really, there are no words that do rehearsals justice. Granted, there are plenty of over-the-top ridiculous elements in the script, but for the most part this is spot-on honest in its portrayal of life backstage. Paul Gross nails the role of the director – an incredibly nuanced performance that had me awed into silence and energized simultaneously. THIS is really, really good television.

And here, compliments of the series of tubes known as internets, are the first ten minutes.  Enjoy.