Archive for March, 2016

From the deep archives: Jeff Daniels

March 24, 2016

I almost never listen to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, the goofy NPR talk-radio game-show, but I happened to catch a replay of the December episode whose celebrity guest was Jeff Daniels. It reminded me what a great talker he is, voluble and hilarious and pretty unfiltered. He’s appearing on Broadway now in David Harrower’s play Blackbird, which he first performed a few years ago at Manhattan Theater Club’s Stage I at City Center, whose aged subscription audiences left something to be desired. Daniels quoted Amy Sedaris as saying about that particular theater, “It sleeps 300.”

jeff daniels CITA 001

I interviewed Daniels in 1985 for Caught in the Act: New York Actors Face to Face, the book I did with photographer Susan Shacter. (That’s her portrait of him above.)  He was one of the liveliest of the 55 men I interviewed for the book. You can read the published interview online here. There’s one story he told me that I didn’t include in the book. He always talks about revering the playwright Lanford Wilson and meeting him on his first day ever in New York City. What he doesn’t always tell people is that when he first met Wilson, the playwright greeted him by immediately sliding his hand down the back of Daniels’ pants, slipping a finger into his butthole for a quick goose, and saying, “Hi!” That’s one way of saying Welcome to New York!

Quote of the day: LIFE

March 24, 2016


Life is not to be taken seriously. Most people are dumb as fuck. If you look at their voting habits and their eating habits, you realize people are stupid. So we could talk about stupid people or we could just stay with smart people who know how to have fun and not even focus on what dumb people do. It’s not worth it. I tell you this as someone who’s a smart motherfucker: Don’t waste your time fooling with dumb people or trying to figure them out or trying to educate them. It doesn’t work. It’s a lose-lose situation.

–RuPaul Charles


Photo diary: Magic House by the Lake, pt. 2 (wildlife)

March 11, 2016

2-14 morning at the magic house

Andy stayed overnight the first night. After that, it was just me, the kitties, the array of woodpeckers drawn to the bird feeder, the migrating ducks and geese and swans on the lake, the dazzling amaryllis blossoms, and the fairy at the bottom of the garden.

2-17 feeding time

2-26 stripey woodpecker

2-26 ducks

2-21 red and white amaryll

2-22 tree fairy

There was this fascinating bit of kinetic artwork:

And on the final morning of my retreat, a little bit of drama. Apparently, a feline cell of ISIS kidnaped — or should I say catnaped? — and beheaded this unsuspecting civilian, clearly trying to teach someone a lesson.

2-27 crime scene

This is all that remained in front of the piano. Who knows where the body went — presumably eaten.

2-27 mouse closeup

Prime suspect: Pharoah the Master Mouser.

2-27 pharoah on the run

Runner-up: Chase. Is that a guilty-pretending-to-be-innocent look in his eyes?

2-21 chase mug shot

Apparently there’s a video circulating on MeowTube but I haven’t found it yet…

2-27 don chase


Quote of the day: ACCENTS

March 8, 2016


I hear you’re a new father to a baby boy. Congratulations. What’s his name?

I guess you can see the river from your office.
It was either Hudson or Window. It didn’t occur to me until recently actually that my son is going to have an American accent. Because I guess in my head that’s never how I’ve heard my child speak, and I think it’ll be odd that I’m going to sound different from him. And he’ll hear me have to change my voice for automated machines. You probably don’t have to do that. On the automated phone lines, all the time — “No. 4.” “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that.” “No. 4.” “I don’t understand that,” and I have to say “No. 4” like a kind of a sedated John Wayne. And it feels like such a defeat. There’s almost a smugness in there: “Ohhh, No. 4.”

–John Oliver, interviewed in New York magazine


Photo diary: the Magic House by the Lake, part 1

March 7, 2016

(click photos to enlarge)

I spent two weeks on a personal writing retreat at a friend’s house in New Jersey in midwinter, watching the lakescape shift with the weather day by day.

2-15 lucky lake2-15 snow blue night2-16 cracked sky2-16 foggy morning2-21 lake iosco sign2-22 half-frozen sunny lake2-22 ice pond blue2-22 melting lake lucky2-27 golden hour on the lake

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