Inspired by my crazy adventures as a performer on the road,
this is the story
of two performance artists who cook up the ultimate performance: to kidnap their
billionaire boss...and turn him into the wildest
performance artist the world's ever seen.
2021 has been a wild ride, and it’s not even halfway done.
Due to Covid, this year hasn’t exactly been rife with in-person performance art opportunities, but Ventura’s 5x5x5 series curated by John M. White marched bravely onward via video, thank God.
So, after workshopping pieces in my backyard with mannequin parts, dirt, ladders, invisible skateboards, and bananas, I finally came up with something crazy from my childhood called 1979 Norwegian Choreography for Skateboard & Banana — check out the pics & video! The piece is simple, but it took 3 bone-jarring days to choreograph and shoot, so by the end, my legs were DESTROYED from all of that faux-skateboard jumping.
I just finished writing THE OCCULTIST, a new streaming/TV series pilot about a failed archeologist who becomes an occult detective — I’m so so so excited about this one, because it combines my eternal love of Indiana Jones and my obsession with the occult that dates back to my childhood — and the script just became a finalist at the 2021 Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival — yesssss!
Plus, DARK SILO, the script I co-wrote with KayDee Kersten, was a finalist in ScreenCraft’s 2021 Action & Adventure contest after winning Best Original Screenplay at the Burbank International Film Festival. Agents & producers: I am so ready for youuu!
My preliminary schoolwork toward my Ph.D. in Parapsychology is finally done. It concluded with a thesis paper called The Liberating Power of Image in the New Thought Movement, which is a feminist take on how the concepts of image and seeing in the metaphysical “mental sciences” (Religious Science, Christian Science, etc.) can liberate one from the raging patriarchy in Western modes of being & seeing.
My doctoral dissertation is up next. I’m still plotting what to research — my list is crazy long and growing: metaphysical healing, shamanic & witchy practices, chaos, E.S.P., ghosts, even aliens…. There are too many topics I’m excited about to choose. Maybe I can incorporate them all? Hm….
I hope you found something fun and fulfilling over the past 6 months to keep you sustained & inspired through this pandemic horror show. For me, it was my wife, dog, friends, and a lot of margaritas, followed by tons of running. I’ve racked up the miles from Los Angeles to Sedona, dropped 10 pounds, ran a half-marathon virtual race, and just started training for my 5th full marathon, with hopes of qualifying for the Boston Marathon this year (assuming my legs ever recover from all that make-believe skateboarding…lolol).
So, if you drive past a pale, bony, dehydrated blonde dude who is tripping through the asphalt streets of Burbank like a loon, please don’t run him over! Wishing you a healthy & beautiful summer!
What a year. Coronavirus. Insane politics. Death of Justice Ruth Ginsburg. And still, in the hardest year in recent memory, so many dreamers continued making art. I’ve never been so exhausted, yet so inspired at the same time. I hope you found moments of inspiration too. Here are a few highlights for me:
Since coronavirus canceled most of my performance art shows, I decided to film all of the crazy ideas that I wanted to perform on stage in 2020. The surreal result is called It’s Almost Over, which one viewer called “David Lynch-esque” — the highest compliment for me, everrr.
Rattle Rattle, the short film I made with KayDee Kersten, made it into 9 film festivals in 2020, and our feature screenplay Dark Silo — which won Best Original Screenplay at the Burbank International Film Festival — moved us one step closer to landing an agent.
My award-winning, clown-comedian friend Natalie Palamides crushed 2020 with her new Amy Poehler-produced Netflix special, NATE. If you didn’t see the live show in Edinburgh, New York, or L.A. (or if you didn’t catch Nat back in her salad days), you’re in luck, because Netflix did an incredible job of capturing NATE’s insane and fearless magic. Don’t miss it!
2020 saw me finish a third of my Ph.D. work in parapsychology and metaphysics, with an emphasis on healing and occult practices. My studies inspired me to write a TV/streaming series pilot about a becoming-magician, with more historical realism than most other occult films or shows I’ve seen. Stay tuned!
Lastly, with my performances canceled, my primary stress release in 2020 was running up into the Verdugo Mountains that ring Burbank. I covered 1,050+ miles, with 120,000+ feet of vertical gain, which is like climbing Mt. Everest 4 times — not bad. I also did some running in the open desert around 29 Palms, where I accidentally stumbled onto a bombing range, and got chased off by a Marine helicopter ‐ see pic below. What an adventure. (P.S., if you’re a runner on Strava, come be my friend!)
Our hour-long Roughhausers show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s Out of the Blue Drill Hall in Scotland was a smash. We arrived from Heathrow lugging our 5 suitcases just in time to throw together our set (which involved 4 hours of cutting and taping together cardboard boxes for the act’s final illusion…my fingers still hurt at the thought of it…UGH), prep our costumes, run the tech, explore Leith a bit, then it was showtime…. Our first night’s show crushed comedically, although it was packed with technical flubs—I dropped coins during the sleight-of-hand act, accidentally revealed part of the final illusion’s secret, and Ridley got trapped in her corset backstage (which was kind of hot)—but the generous Scots were beautifully drunk and game for everything, so the “accidents” actually made the show all the more funny. The second night’s audience was less drunk and more subdued till halfway through, then it was full steam, with no technical problems (maybe we should’ve introduced some…heh). Show video clips coming soon. THANK YOU to the staff and tech team at the Drill Hall—you were supportive, jolly, and tirelessly professional. If anyone’s looking for a venue to mount your show, this would be my pick—it was the Drill Hall’s first year at the Fringe, and it’ll explode in 2012 if this year was any indication.
After a little more exploring and catching the incredible Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage musical, we migrated to Paris for some sorely needed recovery time, then drove to Madrid with crazy adventures and stops along the way—you can read about them all on our blog here.
Tickets for THE ROUGHHAUSERS in Scotland are going fast…if you’re at the Edinburgh Fringe next week, come see our old timey sideshow at the Drill Hall in Leith Aug 26+27 at 8PM. Comedy, mentalism, limb skewering, sleight of hand, pickpocketing, burlesque, aerial, my boobs, and more as we close out the festival! Only £10! Anddddd: you can catch all the action from afar in our travelogues, which will be posted here as we go: roughhausers.blogspot.com.
NEWSFLASH! The Roughhausers were just confirmed at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland! We’ll be at the OUT OF THE BLUE DRILL HALL venue Friday Aug. 26 and Saturday Aug. 27 at 8PM! Tickets are only $10…in dollars? Pounds? I have no idea. We’ll also be announcing kick-ass popup shows in the streets all week long with performance art, dada acts, close-up magic, freak acts, and much, much more! Tune in to our Twitter feed if you’re going to be there! OH MY GOD THIS SHOW’S GONNA ROCK!
Come laugh your ass off at the Comedy Store Saturday April 9 at 8PM! I’ll be doing a new bit about plastic bags and Quentin Tarantino, and I still have a few discounted tickets left…. And check back here in May, when I should have dates up for the Laugh Factory, where I was just passed into their regular rotation of comics. If you stick around after the show, who knows, you might even get to touch Kevin Nealon (see below…).
I’m also prepping for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the fall, where I’ll be performing the week of August 25 (date and venue TBD) with L.A. burlesque hottie Ridley Barlow as The Roughhausers in a madcap Victorian era sideshow with bizarre magic, vanishing clothes, Dada stunts, comedy, and more. It turns out Ridley is a direct descendant of King Robert I, so maybe they’ll let us stay in a castle while we’re there…or not…so far this week I’ve been told to fuck off three times by Scots…I’m starting to think it’s their way of saying hello…. To drum up an audience, we’ll be doing a street act during the week that includes performance art (a brand new piece I’m calling “Songs with a Brick”), stunts, sleight of hand, and maybe a little pickpocketing. If you’re coming to the Fringe, let me know!
One 17′ U-Haul truck, 6 hired movers, 10 hours of driving in 90 degree weather, and a hundred unpacked boxes later, we made it to West Hollywood. Welcome to comedy central! The Comedy Store is only 2 miles away; and god, the Laugh Factory is just down the street. The weather has been in the high 70s with very little smog. Locals have been incredibly supportive and sweet (except for a handful of hipster douches in Silverlake…put down your cigarettes and stop looking so emo-ironic for just one second, PLEASE).
I did a short set at Elderberries, a lively mic run by Rebecca O’Brien (Jimmy Kimmel, NYPD Blue) and the crowd was great. The opening musical guitar act was a woman who looked familiar—then suddenly I realized it was Heather Stewart, a classmate from my old high school. I should add that my high school is 215 miles away—what are the odds? Apparently quite good.
Also caught über-talented Rick Shapiro at Vlad the Retailer on Melrose. Vlad’s is a bizarre storefront of arty objects that might be for sale — I’m still not sure — with a small comedy/performance/smoking room in back. Rick lasted 2 hours and 45 minutes. My ass was hurting by the end, but his riffs, stream-of-consciousness, and performance artesque moments were worth it. The guy knows how to blend crowd work and written material, and he’s a dynamo on the stage (or at Vlad’s, the 6×6′ slab of wood). Highly recommended. But bring plenty to drink. My Colt-45 was empty 15 minutes in. Oh, and people smoke (and by “people”, I mean EVERYONE), so if you’re asthmatic, wear a mask.
The cellphone photo above is from our balcony—you can see the Santa Monicas (that’s Runyon Canyon in the background). Click on it to zoom. I’ve heard celebs go up there to hike and sweat. I can’t WAIT to run them over with my bicycle!
From today’s Science Daily: “…sex workers studied in Nairobi, Kenya, appear resistant to HIV infection…evidence suggests that certain biological factors in their vaginal fluid may play a role in resistance…“
Gay guys wanting innoculation are going, “Uh-uh, hell no, I ain’t drinkin THAT!” Pucker up to the hairy snare, pretty boys! The first fluffer to send me a fabulous foto of him drinking a refreshing glass of Snatch(TM) wins a free t-shirt with the nipples cut out!!!
This past weekend I traveled to Bodie, California’s only Gold Rush ghost town. Nestled in a grassy meadow in the high Sierras about 75 miles from Lake Tahoe, the town stands frozen in a state of arrested decay with clapboard buildings spitting nails under a blisting sun.
1800s gold miners braved isolation, fires, disease, -40 Farenheit winters with 20-foot snows, dynamite accidents, gunfights, and stabbings to work their claims worth $35 to $100 million in total, depending on whom you ask. The clothes, hats, boots, beds, blankets, dry goods, cans, bottles, dishes, games, toys, false teeth, glass eyes, tools, horse-drawn carriages, art, books, magazines, and other belongings of the miners and their families lie right where they left them as they fled violence and firestorms…or died.
The town is still. The leaning houses & outhouses, church, town bank, hotel, bar, general store, cemetary, morgue where you can see tiny coffins lined up for babies, and Chinatown where murdering gunslingers smoked opium, gambled, and screwed hookers stand in eerie quiet. All you hear is wind in the grass and your boots in the gravel. Several times I peered through a dusty window and could swear I saw movement—a shadow, maybe, or a face darting from view. I loved it though it smelled of death.