Hip Shots

September 30, 2011

Eddy & Stambaugh II

By Dawson Fowl

(Click images for larger views.)

The “Hip Shots” series of Doodlemeister.com photographs will feature images that were grabbed “on the fly” with little or no regard for framing and focus. The object of the exercise is to create dynamic pictures, not perfect ones. With this ” shoot-from-the-hip” method, the more frames  exposed the better the chances are that you’ll come up with something interesting — a related series that can be arranged as a post. If you’d like additional tips for using the technique, or to submit your own pictures, drop a question or note in the “Leave a Comment” section, below. Meanwhile, click the “Hip Shots” tag above for many more examples. This feature will appear most Friday’s.

Copyright © 2011 Dawson Fowl.

Kurt Vonnegut On Playwriting

September 28, 2011

Adapted from: It May Not Make History, But That’s Not The Point

By Kurt Vonnegut, The Los Angles Times, October 24, 2004

People ask me in these crazy times if I, like so many others, am writing a play that might influence the course of American history in the coming years, a la “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” I have replied that no work of art can do that nowadays. It would be nice if one could, but forget it.

I wrote my play “Happy Birthday, Wanda June” in the 1960s, when another unpopular war, now generally acknowledged as having been cruelly nonsensical, in Vietnam, was going on. But the timing was purely coincidental. My inspiration wasn’t the My Lai massacre or the bombing of Cambodia or whatever, but my having just read about the homecoming of the hero Odysseus after an absence of many years, as described by Homer so humorlessly in his “Odyssey” nearly 3,000 years ago. Not exactly news of the day.

When my play was first produced in 1970 . . . . the Viet Nam war still going on and making more people than ever die . . . But I did not imagine for as much as a nanosecond that my burlesquing of blustery, blowhard tellers of war stories like Odysseus, or to some extent like Ernest Hemingway, would have the slightest effect on history . . . .  All I wanted then, and all I want now, whenever my play is revived, is that actors and a small audience, about 200 people . . . have a good time for 90 minutes or so.

Wherever I teach creative writing . . . I have never mentioned the possibility of changing the world for the better by means of a work of art. What I have tried to teach instead is sociability: how to be a good date on a blind date; how to show a total stranger a good time; or, if you like, how to run a nice restaurant or whorehouse. The same would have been my main lesson had I been teaching jazz.

What “Happy Birthday, Wanda June” confirms, I hope, is that contrary to Homer’s Odysseus, a war hero or hunter, a killer, is not the most glorious sort of person imaginable. Nor is it right, as Homer and Greeks of his time evidently believed, for a man to regard a woman, save for a witch or a siren, as an obvious inferior, as his God-given servant and property.

Has “Happy Birthday, Wanda June,” written 35 years ago now, become dated? It surely has in this way: One of the leading characters is a vacuum cleaner salesman. There really used to be such people, and they made good money too. Selling Electroluxes was the way my big brother Bernie put himself through MIT, all the way to a PhD. And then he went on to discover that silver iodide particles can make it snow or rain sometimes.

This is one in a series that will post  on Wednesdays. If you’d like to read more about what people like Sam Shepard, Harold Pinter, Joyce Carol Oates and other famous — and not so famous — playwrights have to say about the art and craft of writing and directing plays, type “On Playwriting” into the small sidebar window and tap the “Search” button.


Today’s Gag

September 26, 2011

To purchase reprint and/or other rights for this cartoon, buy a framed print, or have it reproduced on T-shirts, mugs, aprons, etc., visit my archives at the CartoonStock.com website by clicking the sidebar link.

Copyright © 2011 Jim Sizemore.

Hip Shots

September 23, 2011

Flag Change IV

By Jim Sizemore

(Click images for larger views.)

The “Hip Shots” series of Doodlemeister.com photographs will feature images that were grabbed “on the fly” with little or no regard for framing and focus. The object of the exercise is to create dynamic pictures, not perfect ones. With this ” shoot-from-the-hip” method, the more frames  exposed the better the chances are that you’ll come up with something interesting — a related series that can be arranged as a post. If you’d like additional tips for using the technique, or to submit your own pictures, drop a question or note in the “Leave a Comment” section, below. Meanwhile, click the “Hip Shots” tag above for many more examples. This feature will appear most Friday’s.

Copyright © 2011 Jim Sizemore.

Tennessee Williams On Playwriting

September 21, 2011

Adapted from: Playwrights On Playwriting

Edited by Toby Cole, Hill and Wang, New York,  1983

It is amazing and frightening how completely one’s whole being  becomes absorbed in the making of a play. It is almost as if you were frantically constructing another world while the world that you live in dissolves beneath your feet, and that your survival depends on completing this construction as least one second before the old habitation collapses.

At each performance (of Camino Real, 1953) a number of people have stamped out of the auditorium, with little regard for those whom thay have had to crawl over, almost as if the building had caught on fire, and there have been sibilant noises on the way out and demands for money back if the cashier was foolish enough to remain in his box.

I can’t deny that I use a lot of those things called symbols but, being a self-defensive creature, I say that symbols are noting but the natural speech of drama . . . . a symbol in a play has only one legitimate purpose which is to say a thing more directly and simply and beautifully than it could be said in words . . . . symbols, when used respectfully, are the purest language of plays. Sometimes it would take page after tedious page of exposition to put across an idea that can be said with an object or a gesture on the lighted stage.

A cage represents security as well as confinement to a bird that has grown used to being in it; and when a theatrical work kicks over the traces with such apparent insouciance, security seems challenged and, instead of participating in its sense of freedom, one out of a certain number of playgoers will rush back out to the more accustomed implausibility of the street he lives on.

A play in a book is only the shadow of a play and not even a clear shadow of it. Those who did not like Camino Real on the stage will not be likely to form a higher opinion of it in print, for of all the works I have written, this one was meant most for the vulgarity of performance.

The color, the grace and levitation, the structural pattern in motion, the quick interplay of live beings, suspended like fitful lighting in a cloud, these things are the play, not words on paper, nor thought and ideas of an author, those shabby things snatched off basement counters at Gimbel’s.

This is one in a series that will post  on Wednesdays. If you’d like to read more about what people like Sam Shepard, Harold Pinter, Joyce Carol Oates and other famous — and not so famous — playwrights have to say about the art and craft of writing and directing plays, type “On Playwriting” into the small sidebar window and tap the “Search” button.


Today’s Gag

September 19, 2011

To purchase reprint and/or other rights for this cartoon, buy a framed print, or have it reproduced on T-shirts, mugs, aprons, etc., visit my archives at the CartoonStock.com website by clicking the sidebar link.

Copyright © 2011 Jim Sizemore.

Hip Shots

September 16, 2011

Eddy & Stambaugh

By Dawson Fowl

(Click images for larger views.)

The “Hip Shots” series of Doodlemeister.com photographs will feature images that were grabbed “on the fly” with little or no regard for framing and focus. The object of the exercise is to create dynamic pictures, not perfect ones. With this ” shoot-from-the-hip” method, the more frames  exposed the better the chances are that you’ll come up with something interesting — a related series that can be arranged as a post. If you’d like additional tips for using the technique, or to submit your own pictures, drop a question or note in the “Leave a Comment” section, below. Meanwhile, click the “Hip Shots” tag above for many more examples. This feature will appear most Friday’s.

Copyright © 2011 Dawson Fowl