Sleepy, but I need to get this out.
Thursday I received a voice mail, which said, "This is George calling from NBC's The Weakest Link calling for John. John, we're calling because you signed up on our website that you'd be interested in being on the show. We're holding an open audition for contestants at 10AM June 22 and 23 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Bring 2 forms of ID. Goodbye!"
I was agog. So this morning, I got up at 7 (which, when you read what time this finished, will probably make you wonder a little about me), hopped the train into the city, Union Station to Hyatt by cab. Signed up, took a voluntary bump from the 10AM session to the 11:30, got ushered into the 11:30, when things started to go bad. I began filling out the application as they talked to us. They repeatedly stressed that this was a casting, an audition process. They used the word "personality" often, and mentioned that no matter how smart you are on the test, if you have no personality, you won't be kept on. They mentioned the idea of being cast as a know-it-all villain, if that's a personality I you can make work for you. Since I *AM* a know-it-all villain, I thought this would be perfect. Everyone was given about a minute to stand up, give name and occupation, and try to impress with personality. This is what I said when my time came:
"My name is John Robinson, I'm 23 years old, I'm trained as a PC Technician but I'm not working right now; [slightly surly tone inserted into voice] apparently I wasn't the 'kind' and 'reassuring' [both words said rather derisively[ voice on the other end of the helpdesk line that they wanted. [This received laughs, and at this point the guy running the session said, "Gee, I wonder why", which got more laughs.] I'm taking time now looking for a job, and helping care for my father, who's having health problems."
I was wearing my mean face. I all but said "I WANNA BE A VILLAIN!"
When everyone's talk was up, we took the quiz-20 questions. I got 19 of them correct. The answer to the one I got wrong was "trousseau". I had never heard of it before, nor that it meant "the personal possessions of a bride usually including clothes, accessories, and household linens and wares". I did know what flower family the vanilla bean comes from. I did know what country F. W. DeKlerk was president of. I knew the Latin phrase for "it does not follow". All of these were questions that gave those around me difficulty. (Orchid, South Africa, and non sequitur.) Finally, they took away the quiz/applications, and went off to grade them. When they came back 25 minutes later, they said 21 people were advancing.
I wasn't one of them.
So I trudged out of the Hyatt Regency, wandering around downtown for a while-I got taken for an $8 shoeshine, but I was so pissed off that I let it happen. Train home, eventually, and that was that. They said they'd likely be back…I don't know that I'd go again.
BTW, time is now a grand thing-the days are getting shorter, meaning less of the sun. Woo-hoo!
Finally, a conversation I had tonight on the nature of art…and other things.
Angelo: What's the big fucking deal with "Moulin Rouge"?
HVConstat9: What about it?
Angelo: Everybody keeps talking about how it's the most this, and the best that. I just saw it. I'm unimpressed.
HVConstat9: I loved it visually, didn't buy the love story for a second, and hated hated HATED the editing. The singing was a fun novelty.
Angelo: What was wrong with the editing?
HVConstat9: WAAAAY too choppy for my taste. "Armageddon" and "Pearl Harbor" were edited more smoothly, in my opinion.
Angelo: Saw neither, so the irony is lost on me. Plus, this movie helped me realize yet another reason I don't want to have anything to do with theatre: I don't care how fucking artistically brilliant it is, I don't want to pay money to be depressed. Period.
HVConstat9: You thought it was depressing?
Angelo: Yeah. I'm not big on the whole "love ripped away by death" thing. I find that a downer.
HVConstat9: See, since I didn't believe or care about the love story in the first place, I didn't really get depressed by it.
Angelo: Gotcha. I was pulled in by the editing. (Utterly serious)
HVConstat9: Fair enough. Question: how is your involvement with theatre connected to your distaste for paying to be depressed?
Angelo: Because I'm liking, more and more, fluff. I don't care to watch Hamlet, anymore. I want Shakespeare in Love. I guess I'm just assuming that having a prejudice about scripts which don't leave people happy being too…populist. I guess it's the whole "you have to make the audience sit up and realize the woes of society" bullshit that they tried to drill into me at director school. I just don't care. Let the world fall where it may-give me "While You Were Sleeping".
HVConstat9: The choices aren't woe and woo-hoo--it's not digital. It's analog. I, myself, don't usually acre for fluff because I like thinking.
Angelo: Gotcha. For myself, I just don't feel like feeling depressed. If it's a choice, I'm opting out.
HVConstat9: And THAT's the point--not to highlight the woes of society, but to prompt thought and possibly debate, WHATEVER the subject is.
Angelo: Eh, fuck that. Entertain 'em, send 'em home happy.
HVConstat9: That's not either-or, either-thoughtfulness is not mutually exclusive of entertainment.
HVConstat9: (BTW, this is going into tonight journal entry.)
Angelo: I'll be the first to admit it was entertaining, and one of the best films I've seen in a while in general, but do you really think it made you think? (Please ignore crappy tired-making bad syntax stuff)
HVConstat9: Meaning of beauty. Meaning of friendship. (And that's not counting the filmic thoughts--technical things, stylistic things, etc.)
Angelo: Yes, of course they were there. However, it was trite Disney level stuff. That didn't make anyone think, other than to say, "I think that the end where she became an ogre was too predictable."
Angelo: Wow. I'm cranky. And tired.
HVConstat9: "Traffic" was another one. Even "Crouching Tiger".
Angelo: Didn't see "Traffic", disagree about "CTHD"-the dude dies, the girl offs herself. That's not happy.
It's an incomplete argument, but one worth considering. I would have offerered this point, had "Angelo" not signed off to sleep, then:
Even if "CTHD" wasn't happy. Even if "Traffic" wasn't (and I don't think it was, particularly). In the words of Maximus, from "Gladiator": "Are you not entertained?"
Today's Link Of The Day is Warren Ellis's website. Ellis is the current mad Englishman of comics, etc. He also covers fringe happenings, and his site is well-written, entertaining, and thorough, if not updated as regularly as it could be. It's at http://www.warrenellis.com
6/23/2001 4:15 AM