"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the
universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be
replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.
There is another that states that this has already happened."
(Douglas Adams)


Yes, I've been doing it on the road -- with the Firesign boys, no less, in Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, topped off by two days of "Writers' Cramp" on Fox Island working on the next FST DVD/CD, compliments of Phil & Oona Austin and the pups. Our two-act evening of Firesign "theatre" has turned out to be a real crowd-pleaser even for those who never even heard (of) us, which is our intention with this Broadway-bound show. (Thanks two, to Oona, and Melinda Peterson for their invaluable Ms. direction.)

The Oregonian said, "On this night at least, they owned the idea of laughter", and the Seattle Times declared that we should be "registered as a National Comedic Landmark." And the following morning, Bergman claimed to awake with pigeon poop on his head. The Times reviewer, Terry Wood, was so effusive in his praise for our current endeavors that he missed his Friday night deadline! "Their acuity, pacing, recall, rapport, adlibbing and physical maneuvering on stage all suggests good friends many years younger sincerely enjoying their time together."

Now that's acting!

"The internet to me is the death of civilization.
We know far more than we need to know."
(Kevin Kline, People Magazine)


An Actor's Invaluable Guide to Stock, Dinner Theatre, and Beyond...

Your first responsibility as an actor is to find your light. Do not listen to your fellow actors on stage. It will only throw you. Do not look at them either as you may not like what you see. Always be specific -- point to what you're talking about.

Hold for all laughs -- real, expected, or imagined! If you don't get one, face front and repeat the line louder. Failing this, laugh at it yourself. Cultivate an attitude of hostility. Tension gets results, on stage and off. A good performance, like concrete, should be molded quickly and then forever set.

If a line isn't working for you, change it. Stage Managers are NOT actors --ignore them! But help to keep them alert by never arriving on time or signing in. Never be afraid to ad-lib to get attention, especially if you feel the leads aren't very entertaining. When in doubt about an ad-lib, go "whoo!" If you go up on a line, clap twice, look at the audience, and giggle. (Mistakes are never your fault.)

Need a character? Get a costume; and never carry make-up -- someone will always have what you need. Never change anything that is working, no matter how wrong or phony it may seem. Even if a piece of "schtick" doesn't work, keep using it. Always find something to bitch about, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Your fellow actors will respect your professional attention to detail.

Never, never help understudies (they secretly hate you and want your job). Do help your fellow actors by giving them notes whenever you feel necessary. And give the notes immediately before they go on---it will be fresher that way..

If you can't be heard, it's not your fault. Any decent theatre should have body mikes. Speak your lines as if the audience had difficulty understanding the language and keep other performers on their toes by ridiculing their performances and never letting them know what you're going to do next. Finally, play the reality -- always be aware of the audience and whether you think they like the show, then gauge your performance accordingly.(Why knock yourself out for ungrateful assholes?)

*The important thing is for you to have fun and feel good about yourself.*

"Dennis Hopper playing golf is one of the first signs of the apocalypse. It's true -- he's become a Republican."
(Kris Kristofferson, Esquire magazine)


Donald MacDonald from the Isle of Skye went to study at an English university and was living in the hall of residence with all the other students there. After he had been there a month, his mother came to visit him (no doubt carrying reinforcements of tatties, salt herring, oatmeal and whiskey).

"And how do you find the English students, Donald?" she asked. "Mother," he replied, "they're such terrible, noisy people. The one on that side keeps banging his head on the wall and won't stop. The one on the other side screams and screams all night."

"Oh Donald! How do you manage to put up with these awful, noisy English neighbors?"

"Mother, I do nothing. I just ignore them. I just stay here quietly, playing my bagpipes."

"How do you know when it's time to tune your bagpipes?"


Some students said the tragedy at Columbine last April 20 could have been far worse had it not been a "Senior skip day" -- known as "4-20," L.A. police code for a drug bust -- when students around the country drop out to turn on. So, many students chose not to attend school that fatal Tuesday.

The fact that it was also the date of what would have been Hitler's 100th birthday -- and the celebration of the dedication of the new Reichstag in re-united Germany, returning the seat of government to Berlin, did not escape our attention either. Ach, du lieber! It's enough to want to make you get stoned.

Meanwhile, according to the L.A. Times, Goth rocker Marilyn Manson left a Cedar Rapids concert stage in a snit in last week after finding that a fan "had stuck a large yellow smiley face on a stage prop."

"Women should be obscene and not heard."
(Groucho Marx)

[Go to next column to continue reading]


Planet Master Richard Arnold forwarded this to me from his baby sister:

"The following are five commercials that were actually aired during The Lewinsky/Walters Interview" (check your tapes and get back to me) --

5.   "Victoria's Secret" lingerie.
4.   Burger King - featuring the song "It's My Party, and I'll Cry if I Want To."
3.   Oral-B Deluxe.
2.   A promo for the TV movie "Cleopatra," with the voice-over: "When she was only twenty, she seduced the most powerful leader in the world."
1.   Maytag's Neptune washing machine - "It actually has the power to remove stains!"

"I tended to place my wife under a pedestal."
(Woody Allen)


You may or may not be aware that Anheuser-Busch (a famous male alliance) has created a first-ever ad depicting two men holding hands with the slogan, "Be yourself and make it a Bud Light" -- a very welcome message to some, from a very major advertiser. If you approve of this free-thinking blitz, CALL BUD at 1-877-233-7725 to automatically register your approval. A machine picks up and a female voice says "Thanks." Its easy and takes about 5 seconds.

Ray and Hal thank you, too!

"In order to keep a true perspective of one's importance,
everyone should have a dog that will worship him
and a cat that will ignore him."
(Derek Bruce)


I love my master;
thus I perfume myself with
this long-rotten squirrel.

I lie belly-up
In the sunshine, happier
than you ever will be.

Today I sniffed many
dog butts - I celebrate
by kissing your face.

I sound the alarm!
Paperboy - come to kill us all!
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I lift my leg and
Wiz on each bush. Hello,
Spot - sniff this and weep

My human is home!
I am so ecstatic I
have made a puddle.

I hate my choke chain.
Look, world, as they strangle me!
Ack Ack Ack Ack Ack!

Sleeping here, my chin
on your foot - no greater bliss.
Maybe catching cats.

Look in my eyes and
deny it -- no human could
love you as much I do.

"Of all God's creatures there is only one that
cannot be made the slave of the leash. That one is the cat.
If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man,
but it would deteriorate the cat."
(Mark Twain)


A 176-pound Spanish pig named Trufo, that had been raised as a dog, went into a depression when its owners left for France and it was forced to live with other pigs, Madrid's Daily El Mundo reported. It was only upon the arrival of a pretty female porker that he cheered up, "But he still expects to be kissed goodnight" the paper said.

The Red Planet is actually the Yellow-Brown Planet according to scientists who know about these things. It's been suggested we start calling it the Ochre Planet, or the Goldenrod Planet, or -- my fave -- the Butterscotch Planet!

The good news: a firefighter in Martin County, Florida discovered that the super-absorbent polymers found in disposable baby diapers act like tiny sponges that can hold off a fire for up to thirty hours and even put them out! The bad news? They have to be dirty diapers!

"Am reading a very interesting book about antigravity;
I just can't put it down."
(Patty Paul)


We lost Shel Silverstein this week, but then he'd been in hiding for a long time. Creator of children's books, songs like "A Boy Named Sue," and memorable racy Playboy cartoons, he had a houseboat in Saucelito, a pad in the Village and a home in Key West.

Quoted in his obit in the L.A. Times, he once said, "I am free to leave...go wherever I please, do whatever I want. I believe everyone should live like that. Don't be dependent on anyone else -- man, woman, child or dog. I want to go everywhere, look at and listen to everything. You can go crazy with some of the wonderful stuff there is in life."

And bravos to actor Oliver Reed, who met his maker as he lived -- in a pub surrounded by beautiful women.



(C) 1999 by Phil Proctor

Published 5/13/99