The Five: Spring Can’t Come Fast Enough

Anthony R. Miller checks in after coming out of his winter doldrums.

Hey you guys, so despite the United States Senate not being able to agree that Scientific Reports of Global Warming actually have merit, everyone seems to be fine with a giant rodent popping out of the ground and telling us when spring is coming. Thankfully , the magic groundhog has determined Springtime is on its way. That’s fabulous news, because this rain was killing me. Not to mention there have been some big events lately and some cool stuff to look forward to. Put it all together and there’s a lot discuss, but today let’s just do five.

Wintertime Really is Friggin Depressing.

BAH GAWD, the sun is shining again! Look, I know we need the rain, and were still in a drought, but I need a break here. Like a lot of you I’m sure, the wintertime can really bum me out. This year winter has been pretty wintery for a change, lots of rain and cold and 5pm sunsets, I can’t handle it anymore. This weekend was honest to god 70 degrees and I nearly pranced around my backyard naked in glee. Between the weather, late thirties ennui and an endless parade of celebrity deaths, I’m ready for some friggin sunshine, the literal and metaphorical kind.

My Bloody Valentine

This Valentine’s Day is going to be a busy day, not because I have a hot date or I have flowers to buy, but because TERROR-RAMA is rolling out a metric butt-ton of information. We’ll be announcing auditions, releasing our poster and other promo materials, and a very special video. So keep an eye on the Awesome Theatre Facebook page and our website at www.awesometheatre.org. It’s gonna be a fun day.

Go See Shotz!

Have you been to Shotz at Pianofight yet? Well it’s time to do something about it. Shotz is a monthly one night only short play festival featuring all sorts of great local writers, actors and directors. This month’s theme is “Some Like it Shotz” and all the plays have some kind of gender-bending theme. Wouldn’t you know it I have a play in this month’s installment. So c’mon out and see my new short play “Countess Walter” the story of a man who believes he’s the Dowenger Countess from Downton Abbey. It’s directed by Colin Johnson (who also wrote a play in the show.) and stars Aeron Macintyre. These are two of my favorite people in the world to work with, and it’s a pretty swell play. So COME TO SHOTZ TOMORROW NIGHT ( February 10) at 7:30 PM at Pianofight!

#Dorkswholikefootball

So last Sunday was the Superbowl, and it was a crappy game, but that never stops my annual Superbowl Party from being a fun time. It’s true that “Superbowl City” in downtown SF was a big pain in the ass and really just highlighted the liberal divide in SF. Because in SF there are Liberal Liberals and Capitalist Liberals, while both sides are generally progressive thinkers socially, one side has no issue whatsoever with making money. So people who don’t like the Superbowl probably felt more imposed upon than usual. But despite that, I had a party anyway, because Superbowl parties are one of my favorite things ever. Now here’s the thing. When a lot of you think of Superbowl parties, you think of a room full of loud bros drinking Budwieser and high fiving. But my crowd is a little different, it for nerdy artist types who despite probably being beat up by a football player in their youth, still really like Football. So instead of high fiving, there was live tweeting. The only moment of hushed silence was when the new Captain America Civil War trailer came on. Which bred a 30 minute discussion on how to properly use Spiderman. The smart ass comments flowed like craft beer and this year I actually remember what happened after the game. My point is this, if there is one thing that drives me artistically it is a kind of “Artistic Populism”, the idea that anyone can create, enjoy and appreciate Art because it is a subjective term. So I try to make theatre not only for people who see theatre, but theatre for people who regularly would not see theatre or thing they would enjoy such a thing. Thus, I try to throw a Superbowl party for people who regularly wouldn’t go to one or think they have a good time. I mean, who doesn’t like Snack food and Beyonce?

Thank You Daniel Bryan

Last night one of my favorite Professional Wrestlers/ Performers retired due to concussions. It caps off an amazing career that changed the industry. Daniel Bryan is not your prototypical champion. He is 5’8, 190 pounds and has a big beard. But the crowd loved him. His fans changed how professional wrestling is booked (Written) because instead of accepting what was given to them, they DICTATED what the product should be; they dictated who they wanted to be their champ and would accept nothing else. It was a great example of the “meta” era that Pro-Wrestling is having. Where we all know that it’s a pre-determined, scripted TV show, but that’s part of the fun. This was the story of an unlikely underdog who rose to prominence because the fans demanded it, because we saw ourselves in him. On and off camera he was the nicest guy ever, he grows his own food, shops locally, and is generally a big hippie. He was easily one of the most exciting, captivating, and talented performers pro-wrestling has ever seen. The storyline he was involved with stood out because it was so easy to become emotionally invested, no one had to tell you to like him, you just did. Seeing 70,000 people all do his signature “Yes” chant is still one of my favorite things ever, to see such a well done, emotionally effective story told so perfectly is lightning in a bottle you just don’t see. Concussions are no joke, and the more we learn, the more we realize just how serious the long term damage can be. So he’s doing the right thing, but I will miss him. There hasn’t been a performer like him before or after and there probably never will be again.

Anthony R. Miller is writer and producer who clearly watches too much tv. Keepo up with everything he does to www.awesometheatre.org

The Five-What Would I Do If I Didn’t Do Theatre

Anthony R. Miller checks in with speculations of his life in an alternate universe.

Like many of us theatre nerds, we all have our “And that’s the day I knew I wanted to do Theatre” story. For me, I was 8 or so, and my mom took me to see West Side Story, and that was it. I was totally dazzled by every aspect and right there decided this was the life for me, But today, let’s speculate on what would have happened if I didn’t see a play that day. There are few possibilities, five to be exact.

Pro-Wrestler

Despite not being the most coordinated person in the world, or having much upper body strength, if it wasn’t for the allure of theatre, It’s entirely possible my childhood of doing elbow drops from the couch and giving DDT’s would have led me down this career path. I would have had a totally sweet name, like, Johnny Pain, black and silver spandex, and “Walk” by Pantera would have been my theme song. It was only later in life that I realized this wasn’t a far cry from the theatre (As I have discussed at length on this blog). Funny story: In the 7th grade there was this little cockbag named Mark who would harass me almost daily, he put dog shit in my backpack, throw my books into the street, and constantly challenge me to fight. So one day I finally fought him and after 3 minutes of sitting on his chest while he screamed at me to get off him so he could kick my ass, I decided to seal the deal with the ‘ol Boston Crab, because on TV it looked painful as fuck. (Spoiler Alert: It isn’t)

Radio DJ

While I acknowledge this is basically a profession on the verge of extinction, at one point, as far as I was concerned, there was no cooler job. This was at a time where DJ’s actually had sway over programming; they picked the songs they’d play. Johnny Fever in WKRP in Cincinnati was one of the coolest things ever in my 12 year old mind. So when I say, I wish I was a radio DJ, more specifically I wish I was a radio DJ in the late 70’s.

Bartender

But not just any bartender, when I say Bartender, I mean Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail. The bottle flippin, poetry reciting, lady lovin badass with big dreams. And while in reality, a career in theatre is no reason to not be a bartender (Often it is WHY one is a Bartender) turns out neither was nearly as glamorous as advertised. I should still learn the bottle flipping thing, if only to be ready for the inevitable stage adaptation.

Record Producer

Rick Rubin is one of my personal heroes, and has been since freshman year of High School. His approach of helping a band find the essence of their sound has resulted in some of the greatest records ever made. He’s worked with everyone; Run DMC, The Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Red Hot Chili Peppers, System of A Down and FUCKIN’ SLAYER! In another world where Anthony didn’t fall in love with theatre, I would have a sweet bushy beard, be super eccentric and be a bona fide hitmaker. And I suppose being a Dramaturg and Theatre Producer is similar, but with way less drugs and women…significantly less.

Stand-Up Comic

To be honest, this is something I actually kind of pursued. I used to perform in front of folks and make them laugh all the time. I’ve been lucky enough to perform for crowds all over the country, being funny. But at a certain point, I started to prefer anonymity. When it’s me in front of people, I am accountable for everything I say. People assume that the person I am on stage is the person I am in real life, which could not have been further from the truth. You never get to be yourself, because when people talk to you and you aren’t exactly who they expect, they walk away muttering to their friend “I heard he’s a total dick in real life”. That actually happened to me, which sucked. It made no sense to me, I wasn’t actually a person to that guy, I was just a dancing bear who this guy basically decided I was obligated to be funny and crazy instead of just getting to be a normal person drinking coffee and reading. The beauty of writing plays is that people don’t necessarily know what I look like, the characters talk for me and can say whatever I want. I enjoy the anonymity. So here I am, a medium-small-time writer and producer with a day job, which isn’t nearly as glamorous as some of these other options, but not so different either.

Anthony R. Miller is a writer, director and producer. Keep up with his projects at www.awesometheatre.org.