Friday, May 31, 2002

This week's Time Out New York has 21 Dog Years mentioned in an article on Urinetown as another show that has risen from the New York International Fringe Festival. I've seen Urinetown and enjoyed it immensely--if you are in New York you really can't miss it, as I think it is poised to revitalize Broadway, or at least show that some alternative to pasteurized, homogenized crap is possible. It's fun, infections, subversive and I loved it...if you love musicals, you may not be as amused, or you may enjoy it even more as it artfully lampoons the form.

Sadly this article is not online, nor an additional article which is a roundup of 25 up and coming theater artists, in which 21 Dog Years' scenic designer Louisa Thompson is featured, as well as yours truly, which is great for the show's publicity and, since we are not eligible for Tonys, says some very nice things about the show. It's nice to get a mention like this when there are thousands of actors and hundreds of productions at any one time--it makes me feel really good about being here, and the work that we're doing with the show.

On a smaller, but no less important note: someone brought me flowers! You may think this happens to actors all the time, but other than the opening when I was drowning in flowers, this hasn't happened. Even cooler, they were magnificent yellow tulips from the charming Amy Fusselman, who's book is indeed haunting and strangely unnerving. Thankfully Fusselman is neither of these things, and when she came to the show on Wednesday she came with flowers.

Also on Wednesday I received a package from This is notable since I have not received one since my employment, as I no longer shop at Amazon...I miss it, but I was worried that if I shopped there I would get embroiled in some sort of political stance, like I would be reviled for "selling out to The Man," even though I've never really railed against ordering from Amazon, ever.

At any rate, since I never order from them people were freaked out when a package came to my manager addressed to me from Amazon. I was pretty certain it was innocuous, but others were convinced that some sort of Geek Armageddon was nigh.

They were right, sort of--it was Geek, but no Armageddon. It was this, sent as a gift by the long lost Rob O'Bannon.

Rob was a tech guy and occasional acting member of the sketch comedy group UP IN YOUR GRILL which I founded with Cory Nealy in Seattle. Rob was an early assistant and very vital to keeping things running--when we were doing a new show every week, Rob was vital to keeping it all flowing.

Then, one day, Rob freaked. He ran away, didn't call or write, and when people ran into him he told them that we should just consider him dead...and then he moved to Japan to teach English.

Well, a lot of people took this hard. It is difficult--you know that sometimes people need to reinvent themselves, but nobody likes being told, "Oh, consider me dead." It pisses people off.

Over time, Rob contacted everybody from Japan and made peace with each person in turn...except me. I refused to answer his emails. I was pissy and silent. I think I was in the right, but I certainly didn't show any generosity of spirit by not writing--and embarrassingly, the biggest reason was StarCraft.

You see, Rob had borrowed this game from me right before he went AWOL, so I never got it back. And I used that as an excuse to remain silent--I wanted my damn game, but not enough apparently to ask for it. Noooooo...I had to simply complain to others and delete his messages as they came in.

Finally, about three weeks ago, I got another message from Rob and wrote him back. It was nice, to finally write...and I mentioned that he still had my StarCraft game. He writes back, apologizes...and now the game has returned, in better than new form.

As geeky and dorky as this story is, the point is that I never actually missed my game that much--as you can see, it's pretty cheap to replace. I think I was hurt by his departure and his silence, and it took me a year and a half to figure that out, but I am terribly thankful that I did, because, as they keep telling us whippersnappers, life is short.

My only other Rob O'Bannon story: one night after a show, we were driving away from the theater when another car pulled up alongside us and a girl flashed her breasts at us. Then that car squealed off, and Rob gunned his engine and started chasing them. We were alarmed--he was driving really aggressively. Tynes told Rob, "Calm down, why are you chasing them?" to which Rob immediately and maniacally replied, "I'VE EARNED THIS!"

He did in fact catch up to the car, and the woman in question did indeed show her breasts again, which could be used as an object lesson in perseverance or traffic safety, depending on how you see the situation.