Saturday, November 28, 2009

Please Help Us Keep the Waldron for Community Arts

Loyal Bloomington Readers, I am asking you to do something for your BloomingtonGirl and for the City of Bloomington.

I want you to write to Mayor Mark Kruzan and to the HT Editor in support of the Bloomington Performing Arts Coalition. We are a group of over 21 members (and quickly growing it seems) who are protesting the enormous rate increases at the Waldron and are concerned that the current management of the Waldron - the BAAC leadership - is not being true to the mandate that the building be used as a Community Arts Center. Community based performing arts groups including Cardinal Stage, Jewish Theatre of Bloomington, Jazz from Bloomington, Oasis Productions/Interaction Theater, Theater of the People, Monroe County Civic Theatre....etc., can no longer afford to rent performance space at the Waldron. And the current management's posture is "take it or leave it". They have not ever reached out to the arts community to engage them in discussion about their decisions. Indeed, they appear to find the very groups they are supposed to be serving as obstacles in their path.

Here is what you must do if you care about the performing arts in our community:

1. Read the Herald Times Article on the BAAC price hikes that ran on Thanksgiving Day.

2. Read the letter below, which is what was sent to the BAAC leadership, the mayor, the city council and the BAAC board a few days ago.

3. Write to Mayor Mark Kruzan and to the HT Editor expressing your support for our cause and your outrage at the current situation. (You should only do this if you believe as I do, and surely you do, Loyal Readers). It does not have to be a long email - we just want lots of them to go out.

4. Email your BloomingtonGirl and let her know you did this so she can be in your debt.

Letter from BPAC to Rob Hanrahan and Ashley Fisher:

November 24, 2009
Ashley Fisher
President, Bloomington Area Arts Council Board of Trustees

Robert J Hanrahan III
Executive Director, Bloomington Area Arts Council

John Waldron Arts Center
122 South Walnut Street
Bloomington, IN 47404

Dear Ashley and Rob:
We the undersigned represent 21 performing arts organizations and concerned individuals in Bloomington who have come together to form the Bloomington Performing Arts Coalition (B-PAC). The primary concern of our organization is the recent increase in the rental rates and fees of the Waldron Arts Center, a building donated to the Bloomington Area Arts Council (BAAC) by the City of Bloomington for use as a “community arts center.”
While we understand the BAAC’s current financial dilemma, we believe that the Bloomington Area Arts Council’s current fiscal and rental policies imperil our member organizations by establishing rental rates and fees that make our access to the Waldron Art Center Auditorium and Rose Firebay (“performance spaces”) unaffordable. Further, we believe that the BAAC’s building management policies have created an environment at the Waldron that is inhospitable for our member organizations. Taken together, these things directly contradict the city’s mandate of the BAAC: to make the Waldron a home for performing (and other) arts organizations.
Since our chief concern is that those community groups that have historically rented this facility will no longer be able to do so, we wanted to remind you of the city’s original intent for the use of this building: Attached for your easy reference, please find Resolution 89-16 (Attachment 1) and Purchase Money Promissory Note dated July 31, 1990 (Attachment 2) in which the BAAC’s mandate is made clear. The city conveyed the building to the BAAC to be used as a “community arts center”. The current policies of the BAAC are not in keeping with this resolution and contract.
B-PAC’s goals are threefold. First, we believe that the Waldron must be restored to its intended use as an Arts Center; specifically, we ask that fair rental rates and service levels for the performance spaces be restored to those that existed prior to the current management’s tenure. Second, we ask that the BAAC reinstitute Stakeholder Relations by meeting regularly with organizations that utilize the space; the current leadership has been in place for nine months and has yet to reach out to stakeholders or the public for input. Third, we suggest that the BAAC must exhibit reasonable transparency with regard to renters and costs; B-PAC members and the public deserve to know who is renting the space (arts organizations versus private events) and also what costs are driving current BAAC policies. We also request that the BAAC work with stakeholders to develop a policy that arts organizations receive priority booking opportunities over non-arts events.
The BAAC’s current rental rates (published on the BAAC website) represent a dramatic overall increase from the 2008-2009 season. In its press release dated November 2, the BAAC announces that it is providing discounts and rehearsal rate breaks and positions the Waldron as “More Accessible and Affordable”. Instead, organizations that are currently negotiating contracts with the BAAC report that the reverse is true. The Waldron is less accessible and not at all affordable for our members. To illustrate this, we have included rate sheets from 2008-2009 (Attachment 3) and 2010-2011 (Attachment 4). A starting point for comparison is a full day Friday rental—in 2008-2009 the auditorium cost an organization $330 to rent. It now costs $1075 or $950 (non-profit) or $712.50 (once the organization has paid a $1000 membership fee). We have also undertaken a comparison of rates paid by representative B-PAC member organizations in 2008-2009 versus what each organization would pay under the current rate structure for the same rental time and space. Two examples are below (rate increases vary because rental structures have changed). A more complete comparison is attached for your review (Attachment 5.)
Company 2008-2009 Current Rates Increase
Jewish Theatre $675 $1381 $724 (110%)
Reefer Madness $740 $2115 $1375 (186%)
It is important to note that the rate comparisons do not take into account the additional fees that have been established for the use of the performance spaces (Attachment 6). The $250 fee for performing arts groups to access risers and chairs in the Auditorium is the most confounding and exemplifies the Waldron’s shift away from its mandate. The one line item that is offered at no or minimal charge is “Tables and Chairs” for non-performance use (i.e. private weddings and receptions).
B-PAC fully supports the Waldron’s need to be fiscally sound. But we must not lose sight of the fact that the building was donated by the City of Bloomington to be used first and foremost as a “community arts center”. We believe that “community arts” must include community-based performing arts organizations as represented by our membership. At the same time, we do not think it appropriate that the performing arts spaces subsidize other BAAC activities. Further, we believe that any pricing model for the Waldron performance spaces should consider the relative commercial values of performance space in Bloomington and other communities (e.g., The Buskirk-Chumley Theater’s Friday rate is $2.16/seat [capacity of 612] while the Waldron Auditorium [capacity of 170] rents at $5.59/seat).
The Bloomington Performing Arts Coalition invites you to contact us early next week to set up a time during the week of November 30 to meet and work on this together. We hope that you will accept our invitation to work jointly to develop a solution; we are, by definition, primary stakeholders and beneficiaries of the agreement between the city of Bloomington and the BAAC.
We look forward to a productive discussion with you on the above issues and trust that you share our commitment to restoring the Waldron performing arts spaces to their original mission and purpose.

Yours in the Arts,

Joni McGary
Spokesperson, B-PAC
jonimcgary@mac.com
812.322.4597

B-PAC Members
University Players
Theatre of the People
Story Theatre - Nell Weatherwax
Stages Bloomington
Peasant Disco
Oasis Productions / InterAction Theatre
National Society of Arts and Letters, Bloomington Chapter
Monroe County Civic Theatre
Martha Jacobs
Kaia
Ken Weitzman, Playwright and Visiting Assistant Professor, Indiana University
Kathy Romy
Jewish Theatre of Bloomington
Jazz in Bloomington
Grateful Divas
Fiddle ‘n’ Feet
Eric Anderson, Jr. Presents
Dynamic Presence Project
Cardinal Stage Company
C. David Higgins, Indiana University Opera Theater
Burnin’ Daylight Productions, Inc.


cc.
Bloomington Area Arts Council Board of Trustees
Sally Walker, Secretary
Marci Widen, Treasurer
Lance Eberle, Finance Committee Chairman
Pam Kinneman, Governance Committee Chairman
Martha Moore
Ron Stanhouse
Jim Whitlatch

Mayor Mark Kruzan, City of Bloomington

Miah Michaelson, Assistant Economic Development Director, City of Bloomington

Bloomington City Council:
Andy Ruff, City Council President and At-Large Representative
Isabel Peidmont-Smith, City Council Vice President and District V Representative
Steven Volan, City Council Parliamentarian and District VI Representative
Timothy Mayer, City Council At-Large Representative
Susan Sandberg, City Council At-Large Representative
Chris Sturbaum, City Council District I Representative
Brad Wisler, City Council District II Representative
Michael Satterfield, City Council District III Representative
Dave Rollo, City Council District IV Representative




Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Save the Date for the Diva Show!

First publicity for the Diva Show! My name in lights. (okay, my name in white capital letters on a black background). A BloomingtonGirl has to start somewhere, right?

Save the date, Local Loyal Readers. January 22 & 23. More to come.d

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Advice for the Day

Best advice I've gotten in ages from one of the wisest people I know:

"Don't stop being who you are. Don't let some passive aggressive masochistic rat fuck deter you."

I cannot tell you how liberating that is for me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Don't Miss This

Cardinal Stage has done it again! Boom is a hit, people. It runs through next weekend, so you still have a chance to enjoy this really funny and thought provoking play.

The acting is excellent, the set is nothing short of spectacular. You can buy your tickets on line at Cardinal Stage. Don't wait too long because the last couple of nights have been full houses and usually Cardinal sells out for closing weekends. The show runs about 90 minutes with no intermission.

I know it might seem that I am biased because I am on the board of this fine organization, but believe me. I know good theatre when I see it and this is good theatre. It is as good as anything I've seen in NY.


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Really?

Your BloomingtonGirl loves fashion and especially loves footwear. I have, in the past, posted pictures of beautiful boots and shoes. Today, however, I am going to post a couple of the latest offerings from very high end designers that cause me to say, What? Really? Maybe, I'm getting frumpy in my middle aged tastes, but I truly think that some of these shoes and boots are absolutely dreadful. As in the Emperor has no clothes dreadful. Who designed these ugly extravaganzas? And who would pay north of $700 for a pair? Not to mention the obvious question: How does one walk in these stilts?









Sunday, November 01, 2009

Kandinsky and My Late Friend Michele

Years ago, my late friend, Michele, and I went into NY to see a Kandinsky exhibition. I think it was at MOMA, but I'm not certain. I enjoyed it quite a bit and always now associate Kandinsky with Michele. We went many months before she got too sick to do things like that. (Our last trip into the city together was some time after that to see Wit. We were curious to see what the stage representation of ovarian cancer would be. Michele had, at that point, had months of chemo and a few surgeries and I had pretty much held her hand through all of it, so we knew that drill quite well. We didn't care much for the show; perhaps it was too close to home. Who knows?)

What brought this to mind is that there is a large exhibition now at the Guggenheim in NY of Kandinsky's work. I hope that my husband, who is in Manhattan this week, will go to see it. I plan on seeing it when I am there in early December. It looks really gorgeous.

Why did I post this? Maybe because it reminds me that life is short; you have no idea how short it might be. It is good for me to be mindful myself of this so that I don't squander my life with silly things. I tend to do that sometimes.

Right now, though, I am just going to go to bed. Sweet dreams. Loyal Ones.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

BloomingtonGirl Gets a Sassy New Skirt


Greetings and Happy Halloween, Loyal Readers. Here is BloomingtonGirl's new skirt. That's all for now.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rejection Number One

Loyal Readers, I have gotten my first rejection for Over the Moon. It came in the form of a very nice email this AM. I am not crushed. A little unhappy, but not crushed. This is the way it will probably go with most if not all of the submissions, but at least I am getting my work out there. I am absolutely determined to keep at it.

I have decided to post whenever I have a rejection for two reasons. First, because writing about it makes it less ouch-y. And second, because I think it is helpful to share this kind of thing with the fellow writers who might be reading this blog.

My husband said all the right things again, Loyal Ones. He's on a perfect husband roll. Well, almost perfect...he did drive me a bit crazy yesterday on his day off, but that's a tale for another time my friends.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sad

Greetings Loyal Readers from a very blue BloomingtonGirl. I am feeling rather down this evening, even though I am just back from a fun gathering of girl friends and Cardinal Stage's excellent production of Boom. (See it, Loyal Readers! Click here for more info: Boom.

It has been a very trying couple of weeks, truth be told. I'll spare you the details, but there have been a few situations that have really sucked up my mental energy. What's been keeping me excited and up beat is submitting my play to various workshops and contests, but I think I have submitted it to just about every place that would consider it. So, it is time to start another play in earnest so that I don't hang too much on Over the Moon. My first rejection - a "soft" rejection, if you will - is coming (or not coming, more accurately) in the next week or so. One workshop (one that I really wanted to get into for some reason) asks for full scripts right about now if they are interested in you. They only take ten pages of your script initially, along with your bio and plea for admission. I check my email every day, multiple times hoping against hope that there will be one from them asking for the script. Doing this kind of work sort of gives one a split personality. There are times when I am completely convinced that my writing is good enough for me to get into these programs. And, in the next breath, I feel absolutely certain that my writing is really stupid. There isn't much middle ground. It's either good or ROTTEN. And, the sad fact of the matter is that most of it is luck. Talent plays into it to be sure, but luck is part of the mix as well.

I hope that my sense of humor returns with the morning. It has flown the coop today in a big way. Some days are simply that way.

Night night. Of to try and try to read Ionesco.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I love my little guy and some great spaghetti

This picture was taken recently at a family wedding. It isn't the best representation of either of us but we sure are happy and what is better than that?

Loyal Readers, your BloomingtonGirl took a nap today and it was delicious. It is something that I don't normally do, but for some reason, I woke up at 5:00 AM, all stressed out and couldn't get back to sleep for way too long. I needed the nap and slept like the dead, though without the all knowing thing that comes with (I hope) being actually dead.

In other news, I am on a media free diet as much as it is possible in this world. I just cannot stomach all the politics and hyping and stupidity that passes for news these days. There is a part of me that feels guilty about not being actively participating as a citizen of the world, but I just can't do it right now. I apologize to my fellow Americans. There.

Your BloomingtonGirl is not one to boast (what?) but she will tonight. Dinner was, if I may say, superb! I made a simple pasta sauce by sauteing (on low) a very small white onion and a carrot in olive oil and then adding frozen tomatoes (from our garden). To that, I added some dried parsley and basil and salt an pepper. I boiled up some whole wheat spaghetti and tossed with a little butter and olive oil and added the sauce. A little grated cheese and we were right in Italy. Or IT-lee as some people say. Delishioso.

In other news, tonight is our switch to flannel sheets. Take that, nature.



Saturday, October 24, 2009

Play Off Euphoria

Good Morning, Loyal Ones. Last night, I was up until well well past my bedtime writing The Love Translator, a brilliant new play, all modesty aside. ( I know, your BloomingtonGirl hasn't much modesty to push aside, but still.)

I had to write a ten minute script that incorporated a baseball bat as a prop, the line "Failure is Not an Option" and has the theme, Lost in Translation. My play is about a completely mismatched couple at a resort who go to a "Love Translation" class. I had one evening to write the play (or all night, but your BloomingtonGirl can't forgo her beauty rest.)

The director and cast have been at it since 7AM and I sat in on their blocking rehearsal at 8:30. The show is already hilarious - this team is doing great work. It was very gratifying to hear them praise the script. (That was how I could tell that they were smart people of excellent taste.)

If you'd like to support my brilliant team, click here and donate some cash in our name. The team is "The McGary Mashers". Or attend a performance. More information on times/dates are here.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Play Offs


Greetings Loyal Readers,
Tonight I am participating in the Bloomington Playwrights Project Play Offs. In a few short hours (I hope), I shall have finished writing a play that will be staged tomorrow evening. I just hope my script doesn't completely embarrass me. In high school drama, our teacher, Mr. Martin, would always get us in a huddle before the curtain and repeat what Tallulah Bankhead prayed before every one of her own performances. Something like "Please God don't let me make a fool of myself out there tonight." (That's the gorgeous Tallulah at left.) I might be doing some similar petitions later on...

I just read some of her other quotes on line and they are fabulous. I'll leave you with one and then I'll update you later after my script is finished.

"I'm as pure as the driven slush." Tallulah Bankhead.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Play Notes

Good Evening, Loyal Readers. Please forgive your BloomingtonGirl for being so quiet these days. She has been very very busy with playwriting. I've finished my first full length script entitled Over the Moon and have been submitting it to every workshop I can find. In about two months, I should start getting crushed by rejection letters. But no matter. I've already begun incubating my new work, working titled Skin Deep in the End Days. It is about a dysfunctional family coming apart at the seams. I figured I would write about something new. Something nobody has written about before. As part of my research, a local physician has agreed to let me watch her inject herself with Botox. The mother in my script will do that very thing and I want it to be authentic. Plus, maybe I can get my husband to write me a different kind of script for Botox and I'll need to know how to do it to myself. Just kidding about the latter thing. ("It's a poison!" my scientist daughter never tires of pointing out.)

In other playwriting news, I have won a spot in the Vortex Theatre's "Womensworx at the Votex" festival that will take place this January in Albuquerque, NM. I was one of eight playwrights selected in a national contest to have a play fully staged for a four week run. The play is a ten minute piece entitled Dance Lessons for Catherine. I'm pretty excited to say the least.

It amazes me that after about a year and a half of being at this, I have three full productions of short plays under my belt and two more coming up in January. One is going to be here in Bloomington in January. It is a benefit show called Practice Makes Perfect: A Diva's Guide to Life. More on that as it gets closer.

I cannot believe my good fortune. Seriously. I cannot believe it just about every day. I get to do what I love to do almost each and every day. I never forget how lucky I am.

I started this post intending to write about marriage and how incredibly fortunate I am in that area of my life, but somehow, I couldn't find the right words without sounding all cliche and smarmy. I'll say briefly for the record, though, that my husband is the finest man I know. Every day, lately, something happens that illuminates that more and more for me. Today was really that way. I had a very unfortunate situation that broke my little heart and my man said all the right things and all the smartest things. I'm keeping him. For ever.

Nighty Night.







Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Help Your BloomingtonGirl Look Good (and raise some money for a good cause at the same time)


I am going to be a "Manager" (playwright) in the upcoming Play Offs at the Bloomington Playwrights Project. The "press conference" is Friday, October 23. At 6:30, Mayor Mark Kruzan will throw out the opening pitch - one theme, one line of dialog and one prop - to nine teams. The teams then have 24 hours to write and produce a ten minute play. The play goes up on Saturday October 24 and also runs on the 25th, 30th and 31st.

I need your help to be the highest fund raiser in the league. All money raised goes to the Bloomington Playwrights Project. Click on the link below to donate on line (securely). In the comment space, write Team McGary or Team Joni or BloomingtonGirl is a Goddess...whatever you like. Just mention ME.

Click HERE to donate.

You can also support me by coming out to see the shows. Here's more information on them:


Your BloomingtonGirl thanks you for your support!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

BloomingtonGirl's Husband Bakes Her a Cake for Her 47th (!) Birthday

Loyal Readers, today is your BloomingtonGirl's 47th birthday. I feel so grateful to be on the planet and living such a deluxe life. I am doing exactly what I want to be doing. Lucky, lucky me. My husband was off from work today and took me out to lunch and then came home to bake me a cake. Here are some photos from his kitchen efforts. More as this story develops!




Monday, September 21, 2009

Chris Makes and Cans Three Bean Salad

A brief photo essay. Note the careful attention to the math of cooking.























Monday, September 14, 2009

Ribollita

Loyal and Patient Readers, this is a picture of the Ribollita I am preparing this evening. I had never heard of Ribollita until our daughter, Katelyn, came back from a visit to Florence. She said she'd had it and wanted me to find a recipe and make it. The translation is "Tuscan Bean Soup". I found a simple recipe on the web and whipped up a batch. It was divine and since then, I make several batches a year. This year is rather special because most of the produce in the mix, with the exception of the garlic and cabbage, is from our garden. Zucchini, kale, chard, potatoes, yellow squash, green beans, leeks. I even used my homemade tomato paste, which was, if I may say so, superb. The recipe is deceptively simple. There are no added spices except for salt and pepper and yet, the flavor of the finished soup is complex and satisfying. I think it comes from the slow sweating of the vegetables. It must bring out the hidden magical flavors. Here is the link for the recipe for those interested. La Ribollita It is a cinch to make and is SO good.
Now, here is a picture of my amazing husband. As of September 6, we've been married 12 years. I can honestly say that with every year that passes, he becomes more beloved to me. I know that might sound sickly sweet to some, but it is just the plain truth. He is truly the finest man I know.
Now, here is another photo, taken from the car in north Indy. From the road, the C in CANAL is much less visible than in this photo. I think it is time for them to fix their C. Anal Gardens is not good marketing, people, unless you want to attract a certain type of tenant.

In other news, Oh Loyal Ones, I am trying like hell to finish my full length play entitled, Over the Moon. I have set an end of the month deadline for first draft completion. I will report on this very blog if I've been able to complete it.

In other other news, I must recommend two poets to my loyal readers: Frank Giampietro and Gregory Fraser. They are wonderful, period. Buy their books at Amazon.com.

That's all for now. I know, I know...this has been a boring post.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

BloomingtonGirl Loves Her Shoes & Other Thoughts on This Thursday

Loyal Readers, here is a picture of one of my favorite pairs of shoes. Aren't they completely sassy? This particular photo does not do my ankles justice, if I do say so myself. My calves, clavicles & ankles are bony - perhaps the only parts of my body I don't endlessly fret over. But, as I used to say, I digress.

I love these shoes. I must, Loyal Ones, because I continue to wear them as often as my sartorial choices allow even though they sometimes cause me to be thrown to the ground in a conspiracy with uneven walkways and gravity. The platforms on the shoes are slanted inward making it much too easy to turn the wearer's ankle. This has happened three times so far in my case. Once, in Manhattan, in the middle of the day. Splat! It could happen to anyone, a well meaning passer-by murmured as she helped me to my feet. The second time, in front of a church where I was helping plan a friend's funeral. I left the building to get something in my car and went down. My dress flew up over my head and there I was, in front of God and everyone, lying on the pavement with my underwear showing. Fortunately, they were a very nice pair: one I would not have been ashamed of had I had a car accident and ended up in the ER having to have them cut off by people I might in the future see at a hospital cocktail hour or benefit. The third time was last weekend in Indy, en route from the restaurant to my show. (!!!) I was just thankful I didn't break my wrist. I did break the skin on the heel of my hand. Since we were staying in a hotel without a first aid kit at the ready, I washed out the wound with Hilton Mouthwash. The sting reassured me that I was indeed disinfecting the injury. I am, after all, a doctor's wife and I worry about terrible unlikely infections that just might happen any time, any place.

My relationship with these shoes is like an unhealthy, unrequited love. I just can't give them up no matter how many times they throw me down. Worse, I long for a few more pairs in other colors. Is this a sickness? I think it might be. Sadly, though, I am not interested in the cure.

In other news, I am making tomato jam as I write. I don't know what Tomato Jam is either, but I am making it. The recipe leads me to believe it is simply a concentrated form of fancy Catsup (or is it Ketchup?) But, it used up eight pounds of tomatoes so far, so it is a good thing. Earlier today, I canned several jars of crushed tomatoes. I complain about all this but my deep dark secret is that I get a whole lot of satisfaction from this. It is way too time consuming but having a pantry full of home grown canned goods and a freezer full of vegetables from my husband's garden makes me happy in the off season.

Well, my Darling Loyal Ones, I am off to finish my jam and to watch an episode of Mad Men.




Monday, August 24, 2009

Hooray for A Good Review!!!

A Good Review !!

Hooray. The showcase was really good, Loyal Readers. Each play was funny and well acted. It is well worth taking a trip up to see this and other Fringe Stuff. The atmosphere is exciting and fun.

I was so proud to be associated with this production! Saw it Friday night in an almost full house and it was wonderful.

Hats off to everyone involved!



Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bounty & Other Things on my Mind

Greetings, Loyal Readers. It is Wednesday at about 5PM. Jack has some art project going at the kitchen table and is humming away - he loves to hum - and I am simmering ten pounds of tomatoes on the stove. Here they were before they got thrown in the pot. The tomatoes are going full force and I have to say that I don't mind a bit. They are spectacular this year. Tomatoes, like peaches, are made so special by the fact that they only taste really good in season. I am sure that there are other fruits and vegetables in that category but those are the two that come to mind. With the current food production and distribution system, we are accustomed to having whatever we want at any time of year. I like that with tomatoes, you can only get good ones in the summer. Some things shouldn't be available all the time. Many things, in fact. Like the Charlie Brown Christmas Special and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Remember how special they were before the VCR and the DVD? Ain't the same no more, people.

I've spent much of my week so far doing theatre stuff. I did some office work for Cardinal Stage and also had lunch with the Managing Director/Interim Artistic Director of the Bloomington Playwrights Project, (BPP) where I have recently been invited to join their Ensemble of Artists (!). How lucky am I to live in a town where there is so many resources for an aspiring playwright? The BPP is putting up a selection of plays from the past several years of their Sex/Death Showcases and mine was one of the ones they chose. You can see my play 100% Distracted at the Indianapolis Fringe Festival next weekend and the weekend following and mine is one of the plays they chose to produce. Here's the link to the schedule for my show: Sex/Death at the Indy Fringe. Go, Loyal Readers, Go and shout Author! Author! at the end of it. My play leads off the line up.

In other news, I've posted a new recipe to my recipe blog, Really Great Recipes. It is for a delicious cobbler that isn't even that bad for you.

Tomorrow, you will be glad to know that I plan on doing hours of actual playwriting. Stay tuned.



Friday, August 14, 2009



What a difference a day makes, Loyal Readers. This is Jack on his second day of school. No hair gel, just straight bed head. He rarely grins for the camera because he is self conscious about his front tooth, which came in a half inch higher than it was supposed to and is longer than normal. He will actually be getting limited braces later this year to fix it. Then, he will realize his dream of being a ladies' man.



This photo shows what is left of the masterpiece I prepared earlier today. A delicious strawberry rhubarb cobbler. It was incredibly good, all modesty aside. I never have any modesty anyway, so who am I kidding? It was excellent. I shall post the recipe on my other blog later this week. Check it out: Really Great Recipes.



In other news, I cleaned like a maniac today, fueled by an avoidance of writing I have not known in some time. At least I am productive as a result. Either my house will be immaculate by the end of next week or I will have moved my characters along in some kind of meaningful way. Stay tuned, Loyal Ones, because I know you are indeed on the edges of your seats.

In other other news, I had dinner with one of my very best friends, Jenny, this evening. We went to Samira and had their usual delicious Afghani fare and a bottle of wine. Jenny recently had a shocking pink streak put into her hair. I am surprised to report that I am now inspired to do the same. My husband has put in his vote - a nay - but I might just go ahead and get one anyway. I'll put it in the back or back to one side and see if he notices it. Given how short my hair is as of late, it won't be there more than a month, so even if he hates it, he won't have to hate it for long. Remember that this is the man who suffered through my Billy Idol stage when I dyed my hair platinum. I haven't had the urge to dye any or all of my hair in ages but somehow, seeing the crazy color in my friends hair made me want some for myself. Mid life crisis? You make the call.

Well, I am off to bed to read one of my Sewanee Conference books, The End of California by Steve Yarbrough. I am quite taken in by the book, even though there is, by my not so reliable standards, a good amount of football in it. Steve Yarbrough did a moving reading from the book at Sewanee so I bought it. Glad I did. It is a keeper.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

BloomingtonGirl Gets Kissed by a Complete Stranger

This morning I was at the Y, doing a weight workout. I was on the free weight leg press machine doing my first set when I heard "You must be a very strong lady to be able to lift all that." I finished my reps and turned around. There, standing behind me was an elderly man, neatly dressed in shorts and a golf shirt and a baseball cap that said "World War II Veteran" and had several pins on it. I swung my legs around and faced him. I told him I wasn't all that strong...etc. and then asked him if he was indeed a WWII vet. He said he was and we talked briefly about where he had been stationed. Very briefly. Then he asked, "What's your name?" I told him and he introduced himself with his first, middle and last name, formal and proud as can be. He said, "It's nice to know you." Then, before I knew what was happening, Mr. First, Middle and Last Name WWII Veteran leaned in, put his arms around me and gave me a big fat kiss.

I did my next two sets, a bit flummoxed as you can imagine. He stood behind me the whole time, commenting. It became clear that he was not going to be leaving me any time soon. I didn't want to insult him, but neither did I want a suitor for my workout. Especially one who was clearly heading into some sort of dementia, albeit benign and rather sweet. I got off the machine and Mr. First, Middle Last Name WWII announced that if I could lift that much weight then, "by golly" so could he. I quickly began to remove the weights and suggested that he try it first without weights to get the hang of it. He tried to remove one of the plates but couldn't make it budge. Now, there were a few guys in the fairly empty gym who were starting to stare at us. I got the weights removed and Mr. FMLN WWII sat down and started to try out the machine. I didn't want him to get hurt and I didn't want to have to take care of him, so I suggested that he enlist a professional for help and set out in search of a Y employee to take this man off of my hands.

I found one, but Mr. FMLN WWII had wandered off and had begun to shoot some baskets. Phew.

I resumed my workout without further interruption.

In other news, I wrote and wrote and wrote today but moved my play forward only a little. It was discouraging but I am going to be at it again first thing tomorrow. I WILL finish this play and by the end of September. There. It is written in the book of BloomingtonGirl, never to be erased. A workable draft by the end of September. Come what may.

In other other news, I was thinking today about how when we love people in our lives - really love them - we love them not for their perfection but for their foibles and flaws. I didn't really get this when it was first suggested to me, but the more I think about it and the longer I live, I see it more and more clearly. It is our cracked up humanity that binds us together. We are lucky for this.

Off to exfoliate my tired skin and apply a firming, wrinkle reducing mask whose manufacturers promise will make me appear younger and refreshed. My vanity is one of my very own foibles, Loyal Readers. Don't you just love me for it?

Jack Primps for School

For those of you Loyal Readers who are not on Facebook, I post these for your viewing pleasure. Jack started third grade on August 12 (cRaZy early). He asked me for some hair gel so he could "spiff up" his hair for the first day. As he applied the gel, he explained that he wanted to add "some zest" to the day. The result was a very proud and happy Jack - a little bit Alfalfa, a little bit Surfer Dude.





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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Happy

Loyal Readers, I write from the wonderful outdoor IU pool.  I am comfortably ensconced in the shade and can even feel that rarest of summer day wonders in Indiana, a gentle breeze that isn't hot.  Jack and two friends are playing contentedly - at least for now.  There is nobody here I know, so you have me all to yourselves, Loyal Ones, until I turn my attention to my script.  

It is moments like these when I feel a surge of happiness, when I feel the generosity of the universe smiling on me.  I could attribute this surge to some kind of spiritual experience but it more likely has sprung from the simple elation over having some mental space to myself after spending the day with my son who happens to be very VERY talkative;  who has a rather extreme case of motor mouth today.  I imagine that it is similar to being around me when I am in that mode.  How has my husband borne it all these years?  Do you think that he might have secret earplugs?  If I were he, I might.

Well, that's all for now, folks.  Time to buckle down and do some non-blog writing.  More later on this BloomingtonGirl station.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Proof, Loyal Readers

...that your BloomingtonGirl was indeed a Cheerleader for Pop Warner football. Yeah, that's me down in the right corner, doing the pretty crummy split. Obviously, I was not cheerleader material. I believe that this photo is of me on my second year on the "B" team. I made the "A" team in eighth grade but probably only because my friend Chrissy's mother was one of the judges. Chrissy, of course, made the "A" team when she was in seventh grade. Ah, nepotism.

In any event, I gave up on cheer leading after it became clear that it wouldn't make me gorgeous or thin or popular; I gave into reality and went where I had more talent. Marching band. I'll see if I can dig out a photo of that endeavor for your viewing pleasure.

As I write, I am cooking fresh peppers from our garden, steaming fresh beet greens from our garden and marinating fresh tomatoes from our garden, broiling fresh eggplant from our garden....are you getting the picture yet?

Dinner tonight was pizza again. One with thinly sliced tomatoes, mozz & basil and the other with eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes, feta, mozz and basil. They were excellent. And look! The tomato pizza is almost round! Go BloomingtonGirl, Go!




We might even have pizza again tomorrow night. I know, it's pretty wild here in Bloomington. Could be a whole pizza week. What's next? Orgies? Opium dens? Who knows? Clearly, anything goes.

In other news, Oh Loyal Ones, I took Jack and his very very quiet friend out to lunch and to an arcade today. I requested two tables at lunch, acting as if the little guys just LOVED acting all grown up and having their own table. But we know the truth, don't we? I just wanted to have lunch by myself and work on my play. That's the kind of mother I am. A 1950's mother. Well, not entirely. I didn't order a martini after all.

In other other news, I am working away on my play, determined to finish it before the end of September. Broadway is standing by, after all.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Pizza, Appaloosa & Puffy Face

Okay, so it isn't round and the picture isn't that great. BUT, this pizza was a huge milestone for your BloomingtonGirl. I finally (finally!) was able to make a pizza that had a crisp and chewy crust that was not soggy. The tomatoes and basil are from my husband's garden. Alas, he did not grow the wheat in the crust. Give it a couple of years, though, and he'll probably start doing that as well. Last week he started talking about keeping bees, much to my discomfort. What's next? Goats? Cows? Isn't there some kind of zoning that would save me from too much farm life?

Anyway, we finished watching the movie Appaloosa tonight and I have to say that it was one of the better movies I've seen in a good long while. Ed Harris, Viggo Mourtensen & Jeremy Irons. I'd pay to watch them read the phone book. The only downside was Renee Zellweger. What is wrong with her face? It is so puffy. It looks as puffy as mine would look in the morning if I were to eat an entire bag of chips (preferably the kettle cooked kind, salt and black pepper flavor) and drink a few beers (a very hoppy pale ale) the night before. Of course, I would never do such a thing, Loyal Readers, but you get the idea.

Well, I'm off to bed with a book of Edward Albee plays and my husband. Stay tuned for more in the thrilling life of BloomingtonGirl.

I'm Back, Loyal Readers

Loyal Readers, this is a recent picture of me and Chris in midtown Manhattan on our last visit there. It has been a long time since I've written and as you can see, we've aged quite a bit. We're wealthy and well dressed, though, so it isn't terrible. We look a little put out because we were having a very difficult time hailing a cab.

I know you have all been wondering - every day most likely - where your beloved BloomingtonGirl has been. I'll keep you in the dark no further: I have been busy becoming a celebrated and famous playwright.

Obviously, I have not completed that endeavor as of this writing. But still, one can dream.

It occurred to me to post a synopsis of all that has happened in my life since last December, but that wouldn't be fun to write or all that interesting. Suffice it to say that we are all happy and healthy and the garden is in full swing again this year. Greens are this year's feature vegetable; peppers were last year's, you may recall. Kale, Mustard Greens, Beet Greens, Swiss Chard, Rainbow Chard, Collard Greens. I fear I may die of a vitamin K overdose. Anyone know the symptoms? If the symptoms include blemishes on one's chin, the kind that are relentless and coincide with the unfortunate formation of more and more wrinkles and tiny spider veins, I might indeed be in danger.

In this time when I've not been blogging, I've been busy with many important endeavors. Namely, losing and gaining the same five pounds, fretting about my complexion, trying to invent a quick way to pick up a thousand Pokemon cards from the floor, trying not to succumb to the siren call of Botox...etc.

But mostly what I've been doing is spending my writing time writing plays. I decided to commit myself seriously to the craft over the past year and I have to say that it has been deeply enjoyable and somewhat fruitful. I had two short short plays produced at the Bloomington Playwright's Project (where I was recently invited to be in their Ensemble of Artists (!).) One of those two plays will be performed at this year's Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival. Specifics on the showcase with my play 100% Distracted can be found here. This festival will make me officially a professional playwright. I am getting paid $20 for it. That's right, you read that correctly. Twenty Smackers. And, I'm not gonna lie, Loyal Readers. Those twenty smackers are more satisfying than my largest bonus from my pre-kid career. Of course, it would be entirely different if I had to make a living doing this. Then, it might not be quite as satisfying.

I was incredibly fortunate this summer to get into two amazing writing conferences. I attended The Sewanee Writers' Conference in July and the Stony Brook Southampton Playwriting Conference right after that one. I worked on my play Over The Moon at both and am not in the process of both finishing it and rewriting the portions that are already done. It is a comedy about an upper class, waspy middle aged woman, a classical cellist, falling for a twenty-one year old white Jewish kid who is a famous rapper named "Big Black Cock Daddy". It is, as you can tell, a comedy. At least, I hope it is funny. I've had a great time writing it. More on that in a future post.

I know that this is a relatively insipid first post back, but I am just home from all my travels and can't think of anything funny to report. Plus, I need to go and reapply my acne medication before the zit on my chin takes over my entire head.

Stay tuned if you want to hear about that and other compelling stories from your BloomingtonGirl's Daily Existence.