thehefner: (Bill the Butcher: Reflective)
I missed seeing two of my favorite comedians from my favorite comedy troupe performing live. One of them in particular is a performer I'd love to have in my own audience, someone with whom I suspect we share a wavelength, and someone I'd dearly enjoy taking out for drinks. At the very least, seeing him live would have been a personal thrill.

I missed and am missing Baltimore Comic Con, where I could have seen a rare, painfully rare panel appearance of my favorite creative team in comics, and subsequently I missed out on finally meeting my favorite among them, a man who happens to be my favorite comic writer. I was ready to finally tell him what I thought of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, a book which he charged me to read when we briefly corresponded in his blog's comments thread. I actually would have had something to talk about with this guy whose work has meant so much to me for almost twenty years. That's not even to mention the fact that I might have been able to finally get a drawing from a man who isn't just one of the finest creative minds at DC Comics, but also those closest thing there is to an official Two-Face artist. Owning a Harvey sketch from him would have been a crowning achievement.

I missed and am missing my favorite Fringe Festival, having made the unprecedented and horrible decision to cancel with just a week's notice. This is a Fringe populated by some of my best friends in the business, one in particular above all others, and the audiences are of the fleeting kind that remind me why I still do this. After a year of frustrating festivals, of disappointments both great (a couple) and small (too many), Indy Fringe would have felt like going back to the well and diving in headfirst. I didn't just want to be there. In some days, I needed it. I still need it.

I know that, if I had done the third, I couldn't have done the first and second favorite things. And yet, here they all are. All at once, these things which are more than diversions but events which are important to me on a personal level of all that drives me as a passionate fan and artist, separated from me only by a little bit of time and a little bit of money. Neither of which I have right now, or at least, neither of which I can spare. So here they are, yes. There they go. And there they've gone.

And yet... and yet again...

Instead of all that, I just spent the last hour with the main (but far from only) cause for why I missed all these things. This same cause ripped me out of my sleep yet again, screamed in my goddamn ears yet again, and puked up upon me yet again. And then I held him. And fed him. And heard his cries recede, his squirms settle down like head on a beer, as he stared up at me with that wide-eyed wonder he has as I read aloud some Harlan Ellison. After I couple pages, I glanced down to check on him, and saw that the pacifier had dropped out of his mouth, because his smile was just too damn big to hold it in.

Goddammit, Universe. You win. Worth it.
thehefner: (Simpsons: Old Gray Mare)
If you're planning to see my show, The Road to Nowhere, at the Capital Fringe Festival, DO NOT READ THE REVIEW BY DC THEATRE SCENE. The reviewer spoiled every single fucking plot point and twist in graphic detail, which, y'know, might not have been so bad if he at least gave me a rave review and a pull-quote or two, or maybe wanted to do a "New Yorker" and wax literary by deeply analyzing every aspect of the show. But no, the spoilers didn't have any bearing on the actual substance of his critique. He just did it anyway, just cuz. Seriously, out of the twelve paragraphs that comprise the review, FIVE are pure spoiler. That's swell. That's fantastic.

I'm making this public purely as a warning to you guys, so hopefully the reviewer himself won't read this, because I still have to figure out a way to politely ask him to alter the review in a way that doesn't piss him off or make him feel like I'm trying to tell him how to do his job. Look, I'm incredibly grateful that he came to see me on my opening night, when I've been completely unable to promote my show due to all the baby-havin'. I want him to know that.

And hell, I really don't care that he didn't love the show. Quite frankly, I can't always be on my A-game due to the fact that I'm tired as all fuck from taking care of a newborn (although those friends of mine who've seen it so far seem to like it a lot either way, so it seems like I'm doing all right), so all I care about right now is having a good time, getting good audiences, and at least breaking even, in that order. But this review could seriously kneecap all three, and I don't even have another show for twelve days, just three shows left in the final weekend of Fringe.

So we are not a very happy, happy Hefner and Henchgirl right about now. Even the Hef!Baby is strangely more upset than usual today. Way to go, Mr. Reviewer, you make my son cry.





Holy shit, I have a son. That's still so weird.
thehefner: (Default)
I think that one of the reasons I became a writer (as if it was an actual choice and not an ingrained compulsion) was due to a lifetime of feeling like I'm unable to communicate with people. Even now, I'm struggling to explain how I've struggled to explain for as long as I can recall. It's like having writer's block in your everyday life.

When you're a kid, you don't have the perspective to really convey how you're terrified by things which seem inconsequential to others. Adults can't read your mind, and others kids are little sociopaths who don't give a shit anyway, so you struggle and fumble and feel utterly impotent to get them to understand what you simply cannot put into words. In some ways, I feel like I haven't grown out of that.

I've gotten better, sure, but I had to go through alternate outlets. Being a withdrawn child who was extroverted only to those interested enough to offer their attention, I think that I pretty much gained the entirety of my socialization through movies, comics, and The Simpsons. I don't think I'm the only one to work this way. Geeks have a hidden language all our own, where we can hold whole conversations with other people's quotes.

Like many geeks, that still meant that I was still socially lopsided with everyone else in the world. That part still hasn't changed. Put me in a room with non-geeks, and I'll still gravitate towards some corner or find a way to vanish entirely, even if it's within myself. I've always identified with the song "Mr. Cellophane" from Chicago, and there are often times when I feel like that's not such a bad thing.

Maybe it just happened out of necessity, but I came to enjoy my solitude. I mean, as long as I had the internet, where I can lurk and hide and then choose to make myself visible on my own terms. But that's been getting harder and harder of late. The geek landscape is changing into something that's as socially alien and unwelcoming to me as any neighborhood block party or distant-family reunion. For months now, I've been trying to explain the sense of loss and detachment I feel from comics and geek communities, how I increasingly don't recognize those who should be my kind, how my safe space has been renovated and redecorated when I wasn't looking, and co-opted by people who are only superficially my peers. Maybe it's always been like this. Maybe I've only noticed it now that I have the courage to reach out and try to mingle, rather than keeping to my own corner of geekdom.

...Damn, that's what I've been doing, isn't it? Keeping to my corner again. Dash it all, I liked my corner! It was safe, it was fun, it was a place to put all my issues (ha-ha, pun)! But I can't go back. I've gotten too big for it.

So I tried to go out and make a new corner, but this one would be in real life (well, theatre life, so only halfway real), and might actually make me money. Fringe Festivals have been amazing experiences which have forced me to interact with people, to summon up the courage to face a machine-gun blast of rejection whenever I hand out fliers for my solo comedy to a group of people lined up for an experimental dance show, with the hope that maybe one person might be interested and then I could afford dinner. It's been great, and I'm dedicated to doing it as long as I can.

But I still haven't quite learned how to turn off the invisibility switch. Four years in, and I'm still struggling to get audiences. It's not because my shows are bad, as I've gotten way more positive than negative reviews. Every festival seems to have another handful of audience members who love my shows and do everything in their power to talk me up to others. So yes, I'm very well-liked... when people actually see me. The problem is getting the interest in the first place. Four years, and I'm still flying under the radar. Lately, I'm just feeling weighed down by the utter lack of interest in anything I have to offer, and I don't know how to market myself better. I've learned so much, and yet it seems like Mr. Cellophane is too ingrained.

But I still perform. I have to. Garrison Keillor said it best: "If you're lucky enough to stay in it for a while, you realize that [storytelling is] a performance art in which the purpose is to gain intimacy with people whom you will never, ever know. To become intimate with strangers." To me, those words felt like an uppercut of truth. Thing is, Keillor meant it for older people like himself, saying that intimacy was "easier" for young bucks like me. God, I hope not. Don't tell me that this gets harder.

And it is hard, harder than I can get anybody to fully understand. Like, I so need to communicate what I've been going through over the past year, to cleanse myself of all these events with words, preferably funny words. But to do so, I'd need a book's worth of words to describe the whole picture. I've been trying for months now to explain how tired I've been, and the exact WAYS I've been tired. Trying and failing. It's not just the pregnancy thing, and even that alone hasn't been your typical experience for impending parenthood. There's the traveling, the RV situation, the moving, the writing, the not-writing, the death of a pet, all these things which most people have some experience, but not ours. Not mine. And if I can't get them to understand, I feel like I have no one to blame but myself.

... Oh, duh. God, I'm so stupid. Of course this is yet another thing that goes back to being the child of an alcoholic and mentally ill parent, isn't it? The inability to get people to understand something in which they have no basis of comparison. The desperate, burning need to communicate with a language that no one speaks. Not unless you've been in the area.

So thank god for Henchgirl. She gets it. She gets it better than I ever thought anyone else could get it. And I mean, all of it, everything from the parental stuff to the geek passion and all the invisible, intangible things that fly under my own radar, but are still there, still present, still represented. She gets it. Regular geeks speak the same language, but Henchgirl and I speak the same dialect.

We're the sole survivors of the same neighborhood in the same city in the same country of the same planet. And over two years, we've experienced the same way, suffered the same way, laughed the same way, complained the same way, been bored the same way, freaked out the same way, gone delightfully BONKERS the same way, and loved the same way. We've carved out our own little corner, but now--against all odds and reason--we're trying/having to make room for a third.

Don't get me wrong, it's fucking scary to bring someone else into our corner just when it seemed like we get everything just the way we wanted it. It's terrifying, and sometimes don't even seem fair. But even corners aren't meant to be static. Even if you try to keep everything as it was, you just end up like Miss Havisham in Great Expectations. Your corners change with you and they change around you. And you can have more than one corner, like I have at least one for comics thanks to [livejournal.com profile] about_faces, and like I shall continue to cultivate at Fringe Festivals for as long as possible. And eventually, you find someone else to share your corner, someone who likes the decor and digs the atmosphere enough to stick around. Then, if you're really lucky (at least I think it's luck), you can create your own corner together.

So that's what we'll do. That's what we're doing. That's the only way I can really describe it without photos, pie charts, PowerPoint, a few hundred thousand words, and probably Smell-O-Vision. So we'll continue to develop our corner and try keeping up with how it develops around us. And in the meantime, I'll keep trying to learn the language of strangers.
thehefner: (Default)
Life these days is a series of situations that are all relatively easy to deal with on their own, or even two at a time, all coming at us at once. I'd post about them more, but I can't help but feel like it'd be a whole lotta complaining about stuff that we're already on top of combined with the stuff that's out of our control. So I'm going to cut this post with images of owls with stupid expressions on their faces, just to make it all go down easier.





For my part, I'm tired. More tired than I've ever been, more tired than I was trying to pick up the pieces after Dad's death. And that tiredness has made dealing with my everyday neuroses just that much harder. And I was never that good at handling them in the first place! But after yet disappointing another Fringe Festival (and like all the disappointing Festivals over the past year, there have been entirely logical reasons WHY they were disappointing, but that doesn't help my emotional state), AND the moving situation, I'm wiped out and not really looking forward to doing CapFringe and IndyFringe this year. I've never been one for regrets, but I do so wish that I could go back a year and plan this all out better.





As for that moving situation, we're currently living at the beach while the Cabin John house... my home... is on the market. It's been repainted and rearranged to the point that it's effectively no longer my home anymore. It looks depressingly like... like a NORMAL person's house! Ew! But we can't stay there, since it's on the market, thus we're in Delaware. This means that we'll have to drive a couple hours to the hospital once she goes into labor, which should be within, what, a week? Two weeks? More? Any day now? We're just waiting, and we have to wait here, because our actual home has to be clean and free of people. Hard for prospective buyers to impose their vision onto a property with a fanboy and a pregnant Henchgirl squatting in the living room.





We're staying at the new house Mom bought in Delaware, which will be our main base of operations once renovations are completed by early next year. We're by Broadkill Beach, near Slaughter Beach. I fucking love that. In reality, it's not so much the site of a boobtacular slasher film as much as the nation's site for Horseshoe Crab Orgies. So, almost as good, right? That almost makes up for the fact that we're going to be living in Delaware.





In truth, living at the regular house in Rehoboth Beach is great, as we adore that place. But unless you all come to see my show at CapFringe in a couple weeks, and bring your friends and family and pets in people costumes so that they can be charged as adults, that beach house will be my sole source of income. Did you know that we're still renting it out? Because we totally are still renting out the house in Rehoboth Beach!





I guess what it all comes down to is the fact that we have a lot to do, all of which costs a LOT of money and causes a lot of stress, onlt some of which might possibly make us some money in the process. What I'm saying is, if you want a piece of Hefner, you have options!

Want to own the house where Hefner lived? Well, you can! Want to just rent a house where Hefner lives? You can do that too! Want to rent Hefner himself for an evening (I mean, as a performer? I mean, as a non-sexual performer? I mean, to talk about himself for an hour with jokes and slides?) Here's your big chance! And if you still want a piece of Hefner's creativity but aren't able to travel, well, I'm finally starting to post the Harvey Dent novel, chapter by chapter. For those who've read it already, I've changed a lot and I'll be changing even more after the acid hits. It's gonna be a whole different story by that point, and with Henchgirl as my editor, I'm going to finally finish this for good.






That's about it for now. Back to life. Mine, hers, and the brand-new little one that's about to arrive. Any day/week/minute now.
thehefner: (Simpsons: Old Gray Mare)
I'm in Orlando for the Fringe, and I am alone. Sans Henchgirl. And it shall be this way until the end of the month. For those who remember the Hamilton Fringe debacle where Henchgirl and I were separated by our own billet, it's like that, but now the billet is GOD. But there's no way she could be here, as was confirmed to me yesterday as I spent three hours in the Orlando sun.

Last night, I won a Feldman Award for best solo show! I should mention that the Feldman Awards are handed out at random, before the festival even started. So between that and my coveted Patron's Pick award from 2009 (which I won by default of being the ONLY show in my venue, and therefore was the best-selling), I'm now the king of meaningless awards at Orlando Fringe! I wonder if I can use either of them in press materials without feeling like a fraud. I don't feel like I'm beloved by the people here enough to pull off something quite that shameless.

Opening night is tomorrow, and I'm terrified. The tech rehearsal went a little TOO well. It's a trick, get an axe. For now, I'm just going to market like a motherfucker, handing out fliers and testing to see how much stronger my tolerance for rejection has gotten over the years. Of course, if the world does up and end this Saturday, I either won't have to worry about getting audiences, or it'll just be me with the heathens. Which, of course, is pretty much everybody at the Orlando Fringe Festival. We can start our own self-sufficient community, performing experimental theatre for food! Really, how is that any different from what I'm making now?
thehefner: (Simpsons: Old Gray Mare)
Henchgirl is currently composing a post detailing every step of the fiasco that is our current road trip. It's going to be epic. It'll take you an hour or so to read, but trust me, it'll be worth it.

I never mentioned that we got a Winnebago, a Minnie Winnie to be exact. Before we left DC for Fresno two weeks ago, I'd planned to give the RV a grand introduction right here on LJ, along with a full description of how she's the ideal long-term investment for traveling performers like us. Just think of all the money we'd save on motels and restaurants, and what a perfect way to transport a child and someone else to help with baby and/or show needs! The RV was Mom's idea, as she wants to use it as well, but Henchgirl and I were both totally behind this investment. Everything about it seemed perfect.

Do I really need to cue the maniacal laughter at this point? Insane, desperate cackling was implied by that lead-in, right? Either way, just wait until she's finished the post. We might actually have a new show in the works from this trip alone, but so far, it's not so much a story as much as a series of unfortunate events... and punishing windstorms... and sideways snowstorms... and wanton property damage... and carbon monoxide. Yes, that too. And we're not even halfway through this trip.

To think, I've almost forgotten that my first performance of The Road to Nowhere is tonight! Be sure to check out www.johnhefner.com for local CBS news coverage of the festival, featuring a special cameo appearance of my blue bowler derby. Also, Henchgirl's posted screenshots of my latest interview with Chuck Leonard. I love how she's totally on top of things even now.

I should be rehearsing. Instead, I'm just going to focus on breathing. I never knew that could be a luxury until this trip.

YAY ADVENTURRRRRRRE.
thehefner: (Me: White Background)
This concerns all you DC/MD/VA/otherwise-local-ish friends who have any interest in seeing me perform.

SO... I've been accepted into the Capital Fringe Festival. Hooray! Except... ticket prices are now $17.00. I've never seen a festival charge that much. $17.00 per ticket? For a Fringe show? And yet, bear in mind, this would be my only chance to perform here, short of finding another space to rent out, or trying to get a professional theatre to take on my show.

So what do you guys think? Would you be willing to pay $17.00 for a ticket? Because frankly, I wouldn't, and neither would Henchgirl.

Considering the costs of performing ($575 venue fee, plus $200 insurance fee!), I don't know if I'd even make that back, depending on where they'd stick me. First year, I made a great profit, followed by barely breaking even the next year, and it all had to do with location. And with a baby on the way right before the festival--or possibly during, as I understand that first kids are notoriously late--that's time and money which might be better spent.

Really, what are the benefits of performing The Road to Nowhere at CapFringe? There are three, from where I sit:


1.) The possibility that maybe someone from, say, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company will see the show and want give us a few performances, something I'm not sure will happen since my show is more geeky and romantic rather than political and social and thus not of interest to DC audiences

2.) Performing for friends, especially those who haven't yet seen me perform. You guys comprised about 80% of my audiences for How Hefnerian, after all.

3.) Getting more reviews.


Writing this all out, it kinda feels like I've already made my decision. But I want to know what you guys think. Neither Henchgirl nor I can objectively consider this now, as we're both CRAZY STRESSED over our impending trip to Fresno, among several other HUGE factors in our lives. I think I have a couple more days to accept or decline CapFringe, so let me know.

Alternate possibility: host a performance of the show (at my house or someone else's) and take donations? If I'm just doing it for friends, perhaps that'd be the better way all around.
thehefner: (Me: White Background)
Hey, DC/MD/VA friends! In a mere two weeks, I'll be performing my new show, The Road to Nowhere, at the Wilmington Fringe Festival in Wilmington, Delaware!

It's a two-and-a-bit hour long drive from here, so that's a bit of a trek, but it's my closest performance to this area since 2008! I'll (probably) be shooting for Capital Fringe next year, but I don't know if we'll be doing the original Hefner Monologues (a decidedly different, more refined beast than it was in its 2007 premiere, and hopefully air-conditioned to boot!) or The Road to Nowhere. And that's even IF I get accepted!

Wilimgton's a short weekend festival, so you'll only get three chances to see it, along with several other neato afforable off-beat shows! This will also be our chance to tweak it a bit with what we've learned from our premiere in Indy. Your presence and feedback would be appreciated!

Dates/Times:

September 30, 2010
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

October 01, 2010
7:30 pm – 8:30 pm

October 02, 2010
9:00 pm – 10:00 pm


Location: 316 North Market Street, Wilmington


For more info: http://www.fringewilmingtonde.com
thehefner: (Watchmen: Ozy's I DID IT twitter)
Henchgirl wrote an epic summary of the stress, horrors, fears, and triumphs of our adventures in sleep deprivation and the creative process in the week before IndyFringe, and yeah, that about sums it up.

IndyFringe is everything I want a Fringe Festival to be, and I'm so glad to be back. Almost as glad as I am to discover the show doesn't actually suck balls as we feared, but is actually--if audiences are to be believed--kinda pretty darn great. It's a frickin' Christmas miracle, that's what it is.

One of the only downsides is the fact that our last three performance times kinda suck: evening shows on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a 1:30am on Saturday, with no show either in the prime evening slot, or on the final day when word of mouth has fully spread. We're kinda boned in that regard.

But I sure as hell would rather have a great show with poor time slots than a crappy show that got packed houses, because seriously, I was actually having the Actor's Nightmare as of last Wednesday and Thursday. I was ready to be performing my shambling excuse for a show to packed houses, thereby ruining my rep in Indy and earning pity and disregard from my fellow performers, and then my cat killing himself in shame.

Speaking of cats, people following my Facebook know about the starving stray kitty we'd been seeing in the parking lot of the Knights Inn. When she didn't show up yesterday, I thought for sure something had happened to her. I was beside myself. I'm such a fucking sucker for a kitty, I really am. I'm still waiting to hear back from one of the other no-kill shelters, hoping they'll have room to take her.

Otherwise, we either get her checked out by a vet ourselves, or risk any manner of diseases/parasites (along with a very skittish and waste-leaking animal) and drive her back along the 12-hour trip home to DC, where my mother is a pet foster host for Pet Connect Rescue, and try to get her adopted. Even though Henchgirl kinda wants her.

...We've named her Miss Kitka. Because we are dorks. Points for the five of you who get the reference.
thehefner: (Default)
We're heading to Indianapolis to perform our new show, THE ROAD TO NOWHERE, at the IndyFringe Festival! Or at least, we will be tomorrow, or maybe Thursday, depending on a couple factors.

One is if we can find a place (read: a couch to sleep upon, or a floor to put our air-mattresses) to stay Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, until our billet can take us from Sunday onward.

The other depends on how much more rehearsal we can cram in before then. The state we're in, both personally and with the show, invokes some of the bigger clusterfucks from my acting days in college, performing in thesis plays. I say this not to complain, but with exhausted fondness, as well as a reminder that I've survived all those (often with flying colors!), and so we shall with this too.

Now if I can just keep Henchgirl from needing a few weeks to unwind at Arkham Asylum, we'll be golden.

We weren't even able to do an open dress rehearsal with the Rudes, as I'd hoped, because there just wasn't time. This show isn't just a world premiere, it's a human premiere, with no one having seen it other than Henchgirl and myself, so Indy is the place where we're gonna break it in the hard way, warts and tech flubs and missed lines and rushed delivery and hails of locusts and all.

So if you're in the Indy area, or know someone who is, send 'em by with their love and support. We're damn proud of this show, but the only way we're gonna get it to where we want it is by workshopping it out with audiences.

Time for food and a Red Bull run, as we plan to be awake till at least 8pm this morning. Yep, just like college, all over again! :)
thehefner: (Scott and Barda are US SO SCHMOOPY)
We haven't had convenient internet since we left Hamilton for Kansas City, so while this is a week and a day late, let me give you a little visualization of our reaction to leaving Hamilton.

This? This was Hamilton:




And this was Henchgirl:





"GO! GOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" *incoherent terror mingled with maniacal laughter*

As I was typing this, she overheard me checking out a video clip of that ending, and said, "Oh god, you're finally writing it!" (listens) "Hey, now, I wasn't that bad."

"Ohhhh, yes you were."

"No, I wasn't. I really wasn't."

"Okay, fine. So, you wanna go back to Hamilton?"

"NO!!!!"

"Hee hee hee!"

"... You fucker, you said that just so you could have something for the transcription, didn't you?"

"Yup."

"You'd better write that one down too."


Of course, the town that tried to crush us on all Fringe Festivals had one last meathook to hang us upon, and that was it kept us from arriving in time for our next gig, the Kansas City Fringe Festival. The KC people were appraised of this months ago, so it was cool, they made certain I wouldn't have to do any shows until I arrived, and indeed, we got there in time. With the KC Festival already half-over.

So we weren't all that surprised when our first show opened and no one showed up. First time that's happened to me in three years, but eh, not surprising. The festival's well underway, and we have no buzz, we hadn't been promoting, and our venue was ass-hot. Hell, we still weren't surprised when we had just four people the next performance.

But you know what? Those four people were better than all the audience members we had over our six performances in Hamilton combined.

God, between this and Indianapolis Fringe last year, I'm really starting to love Midwestern audiences. Maybe in a couple years, I'll come up with a show more attuned to Canadian sensibilities (the kind of show where their reserved and/or polite silences won't crush our souls throughout the show), but for right now, with THE HEFNER MONOLOGUES, we've learned our lesson. We're touring the fuck outta the Midwest Fringes with this show.

I really wanna brave the insanity that was Winnipeg Fringe, though. That's the only Canadian Fringe I seriously wanna rock, someday. I'm hungry to make it in Winnipeg. I would have done it last year, too, if I hadn't gotten a mediocre review by a Winnipeg reviewer who already saw me perform in Montreal to dead-silent and snobbish audiences (with a few notable exceptions, namely you awesome Montreal peeps right here, who actually get my humor).

Yeah, Montreal was the festival where the main theatre critic essentially called my show the Worst In The Fringe. I don't feel like I'm quite at a point in my career where I can look back on that and hold it up as a badge of honor.

But when one of my audience members at KC Fringe--a rather important and influential figure in the festival, I think--was telling a bunch of people that he'd seen about thirty shows and mine was the best of them all... not to mention getting my first-ever five-star review and having a reviewer call my show, "one of the funniest shows I've ever seen,"...

Yeah. That helps. :)

Well, it helps my ego, anyway. It didn't help our sales. Alas, the damage was already done with us being so late. But hopefully that's enough built-in buzz for next year, because we definitely wanna bring it back to KC and do it right this time. Until then, we put THE HEFNER MONOLOGUES back in its box for a well-deserved rest. Well, unless we get into the Chicago Fringe Festival at the start of September. Still #4 on the waiting list!

But while we dearly want to do nothing more than get wasted, watch movies, and read comics, we're not of the woods just yet. Not only do we still have to get back to DC, but we have two weeks to prepare the new show, THE ROAD TO NOWHERE, for Indy Fringe.

Frankly, I've never been this nervous. It's going to be a clusterfuck, and a goddamn miracle if the shows at Indy will be as good as we'd like them to be, first time out. If I'd have known from the start, I would have skipped Hamilton and KC altogether, and devoted all that time to ROAD, which is exactly where it needed to be.

But this situation is what it is. Over the next couple weeks, we shall be entering nervous-breakdown-mode as we scramble to cobble this Frankenstein's monster together and bring it to life in time for Indy Fringe. It'll be hell, but we'll pull it off. Not just because we want this new show to be great. But because if we don't... then Hamilton wins.

To which Henchgirl says, "If that's the motivation you need, honey."

... Keep driving. I hear chainsaws.
thehefner: (Joker: Ow Ow Ow Ow)
Or maybe you skimmed past the entry, but today, it's worth repeating.





I've always sympathized with Daffy in those cartoons,* particularly in Canadian Fringes (even when you guys like me, which is most of the time, you're still so darn quiet!), but never so drainingly as here in Hamilton. Just one more show tomorrow evening, then I collect my pittance, choke back five Red Bulls, and high-tail it to Kalamazoo.

Up next is Kansas City, MO. Oh thank god: boisterous, loudmouthed, midwest American audiences, how we miss you!




*I was telling Henchgirl how I always used to hate Bugs in those because Daffy worked and sweated and tried, while Bugs was just effortlessly awesome. She replied, "On behalf of Bugs Bunnies everywhere, I'm so sorry."
thehefner: (Batman: Jervis)
$325 later, I have a passport, and am successfully in Hamilton, Ontario, one of the oddest damn towns I've ever seen.

The twisty rolling ribbons of roads in this suburb feel like the streets were designed by Jervis Tetch. There are "Turtle Crossing" signs. LOTS of them. And the downtown streets feel like they were designed by Winchester Mystery House lady. Streets that go nowhere! Parking lots that dead end behind McDonald's! Keep building the city or you'll die! And as if on cue, Lennon's "Mind Games" popped up on the radio.

Unfortunately, I have little hope that such oddness will actually work for our favor ticket-sales-wise. But hell, it's too soon to start thinking that, say, this will be like Boulder all over again. And even if it is, having a Henchgirl along makes all the difference.

Which reminds me: say, I can has an actual www.JohnHefner.com? Why yes. Thanks to Henchgirl, I now can has. SUCK IT, JOHN HEFFNER AND YOUR DESIRE TO OWN JOHNHEFNER.COM SO IT COULD REDIRECT TO YOUR SITE! YOUR DOMAIN NAME HAS LAPSED! I WIN!

If you know anyone in Hamilton or Kansas City, MO, tell 'em to go see THE HEFNER MONOLOGUES over the next couple weeks. Tell 'em to laugh. Because I love you, Canada, I really do. But when I'm on that stage, I need boisterous American laughter, not polite internal appreciation. I like to know when I'm doing well. Also, Henchgirl may blow up Canada if this keeps going on.
thehefner: (Me: White Background)
And yet again, I realize that I haven't posted anything for the past five days. Amazing how I no longer feel a need to devote whole LJ posts to rants and geekery about things to a varied group of individuals who might or might not care when I have a Henchgirl right here.

Really, if it weren't for Fringe Festivals, where mingling is a requirement, I dunno if I'd have any social life at all.

Which reminds me, my summer tour of THE HEFNER MONOLOGUES is finally about to kick off mid-July with back-to-back performances in in the Hamilton Fringe Festival in Hamilton, Ontario and the Kansas City Fringe Festival in Kansas City, Missouri.

Then, at the end of August, we'll be premiering my *brand-new* show, THE ROAD TO NOWHERE, at the Indianapolis Fringe Festival. Henchgirl and I are feeling very proud and very excited about the show's progress. The hardest part is reminding myself that the only way it'll get developed to the point I want it to be is to do it over and over and over again with several audiences to find what works, what doesn't, what the real story is, etc. Maybe we should schedule another open dress rehearsal in the DC area.

After that... well, there's a slim chance that I might get into the Chicago and Wilmington Fringes, but nothing's set in stone. This will be a short season for Hefner and the Henchgirl, but with a lot of insanity crammed into that small period. Hope to see some of you along the way.

And to everyone doing shows at the Capital Fringe Festival, break legs! Let me know what show you're doing, and we'll try to make it out, if we can! Ugh, to think, as we're not performing, we'll actually have to PAY to see shows at Fringe! For a DC boy like me, that's as unthinkable as having to pay for museums!
thehefner: (Scott and Barda are US SO SCHMOOPY)
While at the Rogue Performance Festival 2010 in Fresno, CA, a bunch of us artists braved nature to see the blossoming peach orchards. With my loyal Henchgirl in tow, I responded to the beauty in typical me fashion.

thehefner: (Al Bundy: Shoot Me)
This theatre festival--the Rogue--feels less like a Fringe and more like college, where folks have their shows and things to do, but spend most of their time hanging out and just having a chill time. It's a really nice change of pace from the hectic non-stop promoting between cramming in three or five shows per day, not to mention the exhausting three-hour-process of pre/during/post-performance itself.

Plus, there's none of the clique mentality that we find on the Canadian Fringe circuit. Which is to say, we're actually kinda the cool kids here. I have friends, I have buzz, and while there was no chance that I'd come away from this festival with anything resembling a profit, I'm having a great fucking time.



And yet, all I want to do tomorrow is spend three hours in a coffeehouse, catching up with the last three weeks' worth of LOST. Because seriously, going fucking insane here. Henchgirl thinks I'm insane for sitting outside in below-freezing temperatures, eating ice cream and leeching off a nearby Qdoba's wi-fi to watch LOST.

But come on, it was the episode with Smokey and Sawyer and the cave and shit. Try and tell me that wasn't worth the hypothermia! Just try it!

... seriously, spoil me, and I will cutchoo. Gesundheit, thank you
thehefner: (Propoganda: Drive with HITLER)
This entire trip is shaping up to be a total fiasco. But I have Henchgirl with me, so it's the best kind of fiasco. The one where we actually don't have to wait till years from now to laugh and laugh about it. Thanks to her, I can laugh just as soon as she calms me the fuck down.

The main problem is that I outright did not get into one Festival, and I've been wait-listed in three others, including DC (weep, my local peeps! Weep for your likely lack of Hefner!). The only festival I'm guaranteed acceptance into is Indianapolis, which is thankfully my favorite fest thus far, but that's all the way at the end of August. And if I don't get through the wait lists, that'll be my first (and possibly only!) Fringe this year.

I got the news about DC right after being called a douchebag by a random teen in a pickup truck, who flipped me off as he drove away. I guess he didn't like the red scarf, the bowler derby, or some combination of the two. Amazing how a single random inconsequential jerk can ruin one's whole day!

But Henchgirl has kept me on the ball best as she can. The important thing here to keep in mind is that I'll have the free time to work. To perfect THE ROAD TO NOWHERE and to start developing a new show, not to mention work on one or another of the books I have in mind (and not the Harvey novel either, although god willing, I'll have time for that too).

So now we're in Merkel, Texas (I know, I might as well have said "Shamboozle, Texas"), staying at a motel and enjoying the wonderful luxuries of a shower and bed. Don't get me wrong, there is something very satisfying about hunkering in the back of a Dodge Caravan, especially when curled up against your loved one, but by the next day everyone's just a bit ripe and cranky.

The fiasco is underway. But hey, that's just more material for future festivals! Eventually!
thehefner: (Me: White Background)
When Henchgirl's in town, I rarely seem to ever do any LJ updating. Part of that is to do with the fact that anytime I feel the urge to rant or rave or ruminate about anything, she's already here to be on the receiving and responding end.

But even if that doesn't get it out of my system, I have a hard time writing in anything less than a vacuum. I need utter privacy and silence to compose my thoughts, otherwise the slightest distraction feels like being ripped awake after almost falling asleep. It's the kind of stress that gives birth to ulcers, leaving me feeling emotionally constipated, so that I'd rather avoid all writing altogether and drown out the nagging creative drive with booze, movies, and comic geekery.

That said, I have been finding myself using Twitter and Facebook more often for short nuggets of Hefwit and Wisdom, but even that's fallen to the wayside this week. Christmas stuff would be reason enough, but to top it off, Henchgirl's mother passed away. Needless to say, creative stuff has been put on the back burner.

But Henchgirl's ready to press onward, so I'm gonna get back on that horse as soon as I can. The 2010 Fringe Tour is starting to shape up, and she's gonna be with me every step of the way. We're already in the Rogue Festival in Fresno, CA, and the Indianapolis Fringe Festival, plus I've applied to Fringes in Minnesota, Cincinnati, and just yesterday, DC.

If we get into CapFringe, the new show will be called THE ROAD TO NOWHERE, rather than THE HEFNER TRAVELOGUES. It was suggested I go all-out and call it THE HEFNER TRAVELOGUES: THE ROAD TO NOWHERE, but there are two problems with this:

1.) I'm not Werner Herzog, and as such can't get away with titles like THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS

2.) It may confuse a lot of the same people who thought that THE HEFNER MONOLOGUES: HOW HEFNERIAN is the exact same show as the original HEFNER MONOLOGUES. In Orlando, Henchgirl kept hearing, "Oh, I've already seen that show last year!" Over. And. Over. Again. It's a different poster and everything, people, it... dang it, I'm establishing a brand name here, people! Feh, fine, I'm not taking any chances with this new show. At least with DC.

The title itself, THE ROAD TO NOWHERE, came because of one of the route in ROAD TRIP USA, even though I never actually traveled along the real Road to Nowhere. It's not meant to be a Talking Heads reference, although I do plan to use "This Must Be The Place," as my theme. Well, the Miles Fisher cover, anyway. I actually prefer that one. Besides, the Talking Heads' version is too "NPR" at this point.

So yeah, I have high hopes for this new show. I just need to finish writing the damn thing. Soon.
thehefner: (Harvey Dent: Look Up)
So it's official. I didn't get into the Orlando Fringe Festival for next year, which is a real bummer.

I was seriously counting on that one. After two years of Orlando, I was counting on the thought that THIS would be the year I'd hit it big. Or at least, finally make the kind of profit that could sustain me as a working performer (I lost money the first year, made a small profit this year, and in a subpar venue to boot!). But no, it'll have to wait until next year. Or the year after that, depending on luck.

I was spoiled last year for a couple reasons, which essentially spared me the real lottery experience of all the Fringe Festivals I did in 2009. Not so for 2010. I honestly don't know how many festivals I'm going to (be able to) do, which means I honestly don't know how much money I'm going to make, and that's a bothersome thing for one who craves security as I do. Especially now, after two years of doing this. I know I can't be impatient, I can't expect to be there yet, wherever there is. I have to just keep going. It's tough when the effort doesn't always seem worth the reward.

But on the plus side, I now have Henchgirl. For the first time in my life, I've found a true partner (and in more than one sense), someone with whom I can weather the bad times and savor the good in equal measure. And for that fact alone, I truly have reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving.
thehefner: (hey baby wanna kill all humans?)
Our first date lasted three days, when I visited her on my road trip. Our first movie experience together was a marathon trilogy to test my theory that LAST OF THE MOHICANS, GANGS OF NEW YORK, and THERE WILL BE BLOOD are all one soul, reincarnated and twisted over the years.* Meeting this girl who I met online was the last stop on my epic road trip, passing through Tuscaloosa on my way back to DC. That was late January.

Our second date lasted two weeks, as she and her best friend tagged along with me to help promote my second show, THE HEFNER MONOLOGUES: HOW HEFNERIAN, at the Orlando Fringe Festival this past May.

Our third date took me about a month and a half--two whole Fringe festivals and a whole lotta road trippin' together--to realize that, wow, these actually have been our first, second, and third dates together. And god damn, with two months and counting before she has to leave by the start of November, this is the longest third date ever. Of course, she's known that all along, and was patient enough to wait for me to wise up.

So, yeah. The Henchgirl is now the Henchgirlfriend. In her own words, "It's about God damn time."





*It's been suggested that THE CRUCIBLE might work as well, perhaps even as a replacement for MOHICANS.

September 2012

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