Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bedbugs XXI

Bedbugs XXI

Click here for an explanation of how Bedbugs is created.

Click here for last week's Bedbugs.

How many heads’ thoughts are going to get in
our way? A bat with nails in it would only
irritate them. Mumbling bowling pins
separating them from their dreams, downbeat
flatearthers gather wherever they hear there’s
a line they can stand in. Apple brats, several raining
and misty all week is a gibberish excuse. Won't cover
the tattoo on your head that shouts "lonely."
Smiled in the back of the European shop, went out and
watched as the clouds race and the sun set in fast-motion.
He writes in his journal all the thoughts, feelings,
impressions off how many hallways we have to
be found hiding in before we snap out of it
and get life done. At parties traveled best
smile was rented for the occasion, the energy dead
center and now has leaked all over the backseat. Out
of time, confidence, and excuses, in the middle of town.

Next week's seven phrases/groups of words:

-ashes rubbed on the walls
-waiting for all of it to come to him
-tattooed on the inside
-screaming after rehab
-out of turn
-filed their metal plates up North
-speaking better than doing somehow.

-Adam Barnick.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Six Word Theater

Six Word Theater

Inspired by the challenge Hemingway undertook to tell a story
in six words("For Sale: baby shoes. Never worn.”), we attempt
to polish our skills by telling a six-word story or phrase each Wednesday.

If you feel the sentence isn’t final and may lead somewhere,
you are encouraged to follow it up or continue where I "left off"
with your own six words in the comments section.
If someone else has commented, try to continue from their end point.

Today's story:

Lived, loved, created; then woke up.

-Adam Barnick

Anna Berger (Parts 3 & 4)

The amazing actress Anna Berger sat down with The Boutros Boutros Follies' Peter Rinaldi for a four hour interview that has been edited and presented here in 7 short parts (watch part 1 & 2). She has been a working actress on the stage and (big & small) screen for 60 years and she looks back on her life and work with a candor and humor that is touching, insightful and captivating.

Part 3: Getting Married and Hollywood
In this segment, Anna talks about how her husband Bob won her heart and her beginnings in Hollywood

Part 4: The Actors Studio
In this segment Anna talks about the beginnings of the famous acting institution.

Check out her incredible scene in Crimes and Misdemeanors on TCM Saturday March 1 @ 8pm

Monday, February 25, 2008

Better Living Through Absurdity

For an explanation of what this column is all about, go HERE for the first installment, and if you're interested the other entries are available as well. (2) (3) (4) (5)

Today's Topic: Personal Space

I've been doing a lot of thinking about personal space these past couple of weeks. You know, there's actually a system used to measure the various degrees given and required on a country to country basis. It comes as no surprise to me really, that the US is one of the most “hands-off” cultures out there. We not only want a lot of our own personal space, but we tend to give each other a wide berth as well. Or do we? I began thinking about this subject while walking down the street and having no less than 5 people barrel into me on a sidewalk wide enough for 4 people to walk side by side. Now sure, if I'd been walking in the middle of the sidewalk, it would not only be expected but deserved in my opinion. After the 5th time, (and might I add, no one apologized for these collisions,) I halted mid-stride and looked around, taking stock of my surroundings. I was comfortably over to the right side of the walk, not so close as to be hugging the building like a paranoiac or drunk, but close enough to give a wide berth both to people passing by and anyone who might exit a building. I spoke to a doorman asking him if I looked invisible and once he said, “What?!” I thanked him and moved on, satisfied that I could in fact be seen. A bit further down the block there was a coffee shop with an outside patio and even though it was kind of cold out, I opted to sit outside, watching people go by. I wanted to know if I should take this personally.

Sound silly? Sure. It kind of was. But I find it rather ridiculous that not only do people move through life, plowing past others without any regard for their balance, possessions or general safety, they do so generally without any apology, and perhaps most importantly, in violation of the rules of personal space. Daily our bubbles are invaded. Our little spheres of self-importance, self-indulgence, safety, reason and wit, our intangible manifestations of the penguin in the cave or whatever the hell your Jungian/Freudian/Pavlovian/Kraft-Ebbingian archetype might be...they are constantly invaded. Victimized by the brutish disregard of street swaggerers, over-eager salespeople, the ever-uncomfortable close talkers, the random touchers and perhaps most annoyingly of all, those who wish to have a discussion in an incredibly noisy environment, who then press close to you and yell into your ear, violating not only the physical boundary of personal space, but the poor little hairs in your cochleas. With all of this closeness, how can it be said that we're a “hands-off” sort?!

I also shall point out, though I'd rather not have to, the younger set of folks who walk arm in arm, hand in hand, hug constantly, air-kiss, cheek-kiss, high five, shoulder grab, and generally drape themselves all over whoever happens to be available and unoccupied as it were. These are the same flocks of people-parrots who go to the bathroom “en force,” ensuring that there will be enough makeup, hairspray, bad advice, good gossip and “fat commiseration” for the maximum possible occupancy of said restroom.

So what's the deal with personal space then?

I don't think it's a physical thing, so much as a mental thing. In some countries, sure, it's the amount of closeness people are willing to accept from strangers, whether that's the double-cheek kissing so popular in France (and Canada but who's counting), to the firm handshake and stoic backbone that the British have mastered, to say nothing of the the bone-crushing hugs of the Russian and Greek nations, the bowing and soft spoken courtesy of the Asian cultures and the good-natured back-slapping and hearty arm-pumping of the Aussies. Now of course, every culture, country and city has exceptions to the standard rules, but for the most part, we learn at an early age what the generally accepted method of greeting is among “our kind” -and it's curious that we even developed this idea of personal space given that in nature, it is customary for many species to get extremely “close” to each other for scent purposes -it's a sort of identifier. And we as humans can tell a lot about another person by touching them, even if that does go against your fifth grade cooties mentality. A handshake can say a lot about confidence or nervousness, the way someone smells...well that should be self-explanatory, the feel of a body beneath a hug or shoulder embrace can say a lot about comfort -if they stiffen or kind of shrink away, it's obvious that they aren't wanting to be so familiar with you or the environment is bothering them for some reason, or conversely if they lean into you then it might be an invitation or a show of trust. It seems almost as if invading personal space is necessary if we want to figure out what a purely visual observation might not show us. Of course it does seem rather cruel to inflict your bodily presence onto someone that could be uncomfortable but how else are we supposed to learn dammit?!

So back to what I said earlier - I don't really think that “personal space” says anything about the level of closeness, physically speaking, that someone is comfortable with. I think it's referring to the level of mental intimacy that someone is comfortable with. You know that old saying “some things shouldn't be mentioned in polite society” -well, I think we've trained ourselves to believe that some types of conversation or question or concern are not appropriate with certain people. You generally wouldn't ask someone on a first date what they think about making naughty videos (I said generally) or if they'd consider having children with you, you wouldn't walk up to a stranger and ask them what they dream about or how much money they make, you wouldn't ask one parent what they dislike about the other or how many partners they had before meeting their spouse -we have certain ingrained “lines thou shalt not cross” -and barring those exceptions I mentioned earlier, we generally stick to them. I'm not even saying that those are bad questions or shouldn't be asked -but certain things carry a level of intimacy that most don't associate with any but very close friends or family -and sometimes, not even then. Consider the old break-up phrase “I need my space” -the person isn't saying that they need physical space, but rather, that they don't wish to be as close to you as they were -they want less mental intimacy, less invasiveness, less sharing of personal whatever. And yeah, that probably means they aren't going to have sex with you anymore -and I'm sure in some cases it might also mean that they do want personal space as in they want you to never touch them again upon threat of serious pain or injury. But for the most part, they mean, “I can't keep being with you in this capacity so I'm shutting some of the doors and filtering some of the content and taking the cat, the TV and that set of wine glasses your mother gave us at Christmas because you don't drink wine anyways.”

So why have we come to associate this idea of personal space in a physical sense? Well, look at the word “stand-offish.” Used to describe people who aren't necessarily warm or inviting or who tend to keep the cards close to the chest as it were, it's an interesting choice of word given that it's a physical sounding attribute for a mental sort of reserve. Now, I think that we've come to associate a lot of physical behavior or comfort with something that is really more a mental issue. And I think it all goes back to this idea of communication. For example -if you live in a big city and you take any form of public transit, chances are, you've been cheek to cheek with a stranger more times than you'd care to count. The only thing saving you from a tango was lack of music and the fact that everyone else was cheek to cheek with strangers. And yet, that's an accepted sort of daily ritual for those people. You don't get on a train during rush hour expecting it to be empty -if it were, you'd probably assume that some apocalyptic scenario had occurred and rather than being on your way to work, your next stop was DOOM. (Yes being a el rider I do think about these things, especially being underground.) We know from experience that we'll be getting up close and personal with our co-workers, people at a coffee shop or restaurant, people at bars or galleries or theaters or anything you do really that involves the public in any form or fashion. So what keeps us secure during these encounters? Well, it's kind of a two part thing, with conditions.

We tend to maintain our composure as long as strangers do not attempt to engage in conversation with us or get close to us intentionally. (The condition on this is “unless they're very attractive in which case we try to get closer and we find ourselves generally putting up with even the lamest of small talk just to keep them within close physical proximity. Conversely, the more unattractive they are to us, the further away we want them to be -and the more they press themselves upon us, the more logical and appealing homicide becomes.)

Consider all the ways that we declare our unwillingness to mingle with the general population -Ipods, cellphones, newspapers, books...well, scratch that, no one's caught dead reading in public anymore, large, dark sunglasses, menacing looks -and if those all fail you can always count on open sores, uncontrollable twitching or conversations with invisible folk to keep you safe from interaction with the masses. These are all physical signs of a mental issue -our discomfort with communication. We want to choose when and how we converse with someone, we want to be certain that we won't have to answer any personal questions (unless they're part of a drinking game,) from people that we might not know that well (but will know a lot better after a drinking game.) We don't want to feel like someone might try to hold us accountable for our actions. We don't want to talk about how we feel...we want to store it all up, letting the petty childishness fester, letting the irrational form of logic that we've come to adopt as our own keep manifesting in new and more idiotic ways, letting the suspicions about the ex who text messaged you, the time you spend at the gym, or your aunt that doesn't seem to like us no matter how much we suck up, take hold and grow to monstrous proportions -we want to hold this all inside till the time is right to unleash it upon the unsuspecting. We don't want to talk to anyone -then our righteous anger might fade, then we might actually start to feel better about ourselves, or god forbid, we might realize we were WRONG.

So -the lesson here is: The use of the term “personal space” is really a crappy metaphor for the unwillingness to communicate with strangers and to be forthcoming about any sort of personal information, to say nothing of our inability to simply say, “No thanks,” “Not interested,” “Get lost,” “If you keep bothering me I'm going to make you hurt,” or the tried and true method of walking away. All of which guarantees that despite what the creators of LOST might want us to believe, if we're ever stuck in a crisis situation, with a bunch of strangers, in a limited amount of space, no showers, no mirrors, we're undergound so no need for sunglasses, our cellphones don't work, our Ipod batteries have died, our laptops can't get a wireless signal and any reading material we might have possessed has been burned for warmth, we don't know a damn person in the group and
teamwork is going to become absolutely necessary because gee guess what, we're being hunted by: zombies/ vampires/ werewolves/ terrorists/ mists/ fog/ piranhas/ alligators/ mutants/ redneck banjo playing mutants/ snakes/dinosaurs /rabid monkeys /nuclear waste
people/ clowns/ homicidal vegetables/ feral sheep/ bats/ re-animated corpses, not to be confused with zombies/ gargantuan insects/ the others/ small creepy children/ ghosts/ demons/ serial killers/ sociopaths/ the embittered elderly/ a house/ a car/ dogs/ prom queens/ crows/ rats/ sharks/ blobs/ furry things/ large worms or invisible parasites...

Unless there's a drinking game handy, we're fucked.

Oh and as for the coffee shop observations...I learned it wasn't personal -it happened a hundred more times to dozens of people -at least I didn't end up in a mud puddle or slipping on an icy patch thanks to some cretin's inability to watch where he was going. As I was leaving, I stepped out the door carefully and was promptly slammed into by some guy who was on his cellphone and looking up at another building rather than right in front of him. He made me drop my coffee on his shoes, cursed loudly at me and called me stupid -and stood there expecting me to do something. So I did. I leaned in really close, lightly grabbing the lapels of his coat and said very softly, "I can see that you expect yelling at me to compensate for whatever corporate insecurity led you to wear very expensive leather shoes on a wet slushy day. I can tell that you expect me to apologize for the fact that you are so impolite as to run into me, spilling my coffee which I actually have to budget for and which is now wasted. But I don't apologize to scum. However, in fairness to the fact that it's my coffee on your shoes, I'll help you to clean it off." And then I did something I've never done in my life -I spit...on his shoes.

Now, not much phases Michigan Ave -but that got more than one surprised look -and a bit of applause from a homeless gentleman, which got him a dollar and a wink from me. Because at the end of the day, you can call me whatever names take your fancy, you can huff and puff and bully and bluster -but by all the saints and sinners, you spill my coffee, I will make you regret it.

Next Week's Topic: Travel -Shut up and do it

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Lapsed Catholic

Dear Father Fitzpatrick,

Is it still a sin to think of aborting your child when you're not even pregnant yet?


Mary Wyatt Matters

VANTAGE POINT and OSCAR picks by Frank Palmcoast

When he's not watching, with beads of sweat, his fellow, legally blind, senior citizens parallel park, Frank Palmcoast is catching seven dollar movies at the local multiplex from sunny Pompano Beach, Florida. He's retired, he's angry at the world, he can't spell to save his life, and he hates Hollywood almost as much as Hilary Clinton, but that will not stop our irreverent, dementia fightin', AARP card carrying everyman from giving us a fresh take on all things Hollyweird. Besides, how can he pass up that marvelous senior citizen discount?

This week ... Frank is anything but shy in giving his point of view of Vantage Point.

Vantage Point was a big disadvantage! I am sure glad we had free tickets because this flick should have been made for TV. This could have had an interesting story line but the story became tedious and the 90 minutes became a weak. I memorized the Spanish Mayor,s speech after seeing it repeated a half dozen times. Repeating the same basic scenes over and ever became boring. The cast was OK: Sigorney Weaver as a cool news producer had a VERY short role; John Hurt played a president well and I thought that Trees Whitaker played an American tourist very well and believable. All the main characters repeat their rolls like a bad burrito!. The ending doesn't pay off and it leaves the audience with more unanswered questions than the Warren Commission. Never mind assassinating the president they should have assassinated the movie!

Frank Palmcoast's SELECTED OSCAR picks for 2007

As the senior Movie and Music critic for the Palmaire Gazette I must approach my selections from a PROFESSIONAL view. Having said that I must also note that in my humble opinion, three GREAT and NOT nominated films were omitted for consideration! Namely, Rambo, Wild Hogs and the blockbuster, Witless Protection. Best Actor---will go to DDL for the "There will be Blood or better known as "There will Be Boring'! I believe and enjoyed Johnny Depp and his excellent performance in Sweeney Todd and he proved once again his multi talents. Best Director will go to the Coen's who don't even know how to spell there names. Best Movie will go to "No Country For Old Men and it proved it was no picture for old men because we all walked out totally disappointed with another terrible ending! Best Supporting should go to Josh Brolin because Streisand has been supporting him for years! We saw La Vie En Rose but it was only about an actress who was imitating Judy Garland and her speaking English was terrible and who gives a rats ass for the French! I never go see a Chic flick so that choice is rather difficult for me. As far as best song, there hasn't been a good song since Chariots of Fire and generally I am never impressed with the music worlds feeble attempts at this medium.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Boxpress Music Time Show with Brian Hughes

Show #6: "The Story Songs"

Brian will play and discuss songs that center around a story.

To listen to other Boxpress Music Time Shows, please click the following:

Bedbugs XX

Bedbugs XX

20 is the total number of digits on the human body.

In the former British currency system,
there were twenty shillings in a pound.

The number 20 is used as an index in measuring
visual acuity

Twenty is the
age of majority in Japanese tradition. Someone who is

exactly twenty years old is described as hatachi.

In the roleplaying game
Dungeons and Dragons, twenty-sided dice
play a pivotal role in gameplay, and to "roll a twenty" is significant
to the point that it is sometimes used in other, usually related, contexts,
similar to the use of "doubles" in reference to Monopoly.

Click here for an explanation of how Bedbugs is created.

Click here for last week's Bedbugs.

Something or someone is dragged through the next room.
The oscillating sound in my head resembles Tibetan
singing bowls. Though it may be my canals collapsing.
How we rationalize beauty in danger and decay; after all this
time, minds change. Shutting splintered doors to keep
myself from getting in. It waits until I leave
when I think it is safe but no matter, it's on me
as soon as I think it. No room for you anymore, I
say and it mimics my speech as I do it.
Next morning golden lillies are growing on the
walls- the sound is still there. Uninspired crowds
are waiting in all of the pictures someone left me.
Energy in short supply, everyone in the leaf-strewn
park gathered for a reason taken from them.
Red covers atop every car can't be unstrapped.
Youth is wasted without a proper stopwatch, the
lighted sign flashes repeatedly. Wait outside the old
house until I know it's safe, was the last thing
I ever got to tell her. I wonder if she's safe.
She's wearing glasses and eleven shades of black.
Somewhere, she is smiling. Dead by any measure, if
emotional memory serves me. Daniel doesn't care
if the flowered hills watch me, what I forgot
to tell people whose 'souls for sale' signs stapled
to them was all they needed to say. You won't trick us again.

Next week's seven phrases/groups of words:

-downbeat flatearthers gather
-raining and misty all week
-smiled in the back of the European shop
-how many hallways
-best smile was rented for the occasion
-dead center
-in the middle of town

-Adam Barnick

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Story Slice: Maureen: Part II

by Brian Hughes

Now that Cahil had grown into a fully confident thirty-year old man, free of morose depression, free of misguided and safe internet romances that always seemed to lead to unreal expectations and even more unreal profiles, free of a job that locked him into an office cubicle: why then was he not satisfied to settle down with the girl of his dreams? Why did he need to travel three thousand miles to bed three different girls?

“What the hell is the matter with you?” Cotter, his ol’ friend from his journalism school days, asked. “You have a great gal, low maintenance, self sufficient, and real fun to be around. Not only that, she’s hot as fuck!”
“You’re right on all of those accounts: all of them,” acknowledged Cahil has he stared down at his half eaten buffalo burger. They usually had their big discussions at the Broadway Restaurant at 100th street and Broadway. Cotter liked to dress like an ol’ school journalist, with slick hair and a pair of suspenders and a striped collared shirt, pen and notepad sticking out of the pocket, and a toothpick perpetually sticking out of his mouth. Cahil pulled out a flight itinerary and held it up to Cotter. “You see this?”
“The City Savior is flying me out to Los Angeles to interview the train wreck, hotter than hot, R&B singer Brenda Burgundy, an interview that can really help catapult my career, and all I can think of are Heather’s breasts, Alex's coy and virginal ass, and Colleen’s sexy flirtations; that and how I missed out on those great experiences because of my useless neuroses that I allowed to trap and torture me unnecessarily. I had immense sexual opportunity, and because of the funk I was in, I blew all of these opportunities of fine ass. Chicks dug me and flirted with me, and I know they were disappointed in me. I’d flirt with them, and smile in their direction, and it always led to nowhere, because I was scared. I would not allow myself to fuck, or have fun, or experience life to its fullest. But I feel strong, Cotter, I feel like I have gained something in this relationship that I didn’t have when I was around all those girls. There is unfinished business that is knawing at my insides that I have to settle before I set off on that mysterious, challenging and rewarding life that is marriage and family.”
“But that is just your ego talking, Cahil, can’t you see it? You have all the love, and with due respect – tits and ass, any human being could possibly need. You have all of the things you long for in Janeen.”
Cahil pushed his food aside and drained his coffee.
“I know, I know for Christ’s sake! It just pisses me off that these wonderful girls were dangled like gold right in front of my face and I let it all slip through my fingers.”
“You don’t need it, I tell ya, you don’t need it!” Cotter implored. “Interview Brenda Burgundy, marry Janeen, and become the best rock journalist of your generation.”
Cahil wasn’t listening. “Do you know if Maureen is going to the Alberto St. Croix after party?”

Cahil stood stoically handsome against a faux Roman column at Complex grinning at Maureen as she danced crazy sexy with a few of her friends: her milky skin shining with perspiration under blue lights. Cahil sauntered over, Jack on the rocks in his hand. Maureen was looking him up and dawn as she bit her lip and got down to the music – swaying her head – maroon, curly hair bouncing. When she awoke from her dance reverie, she grabbed Cahil’s Jack, finished it, then she let it fall empty at their feet. Cahil was soon in the middle of Maureen and her friend’s bump and grind factory. Cahil however, only had eyes for Maureen. Maureen was his only East Coast conquest, and he had to fuck her that night.

Maureen was nestled in Cahil’s arms on her hassock. They hadn’t had sex, but were enjoying some fine green tea.
“I’m confused,” Maureen said.
“I don’t know what direction my life is going in. I’m going to be thirty-one and I’m still in school, studying Spanish Literature, and …”
“… and so …?”
“… and what am I? A professional student?”
“You’re smart as hell, funny, beautiful and so much more. So you’re confused – join the club. I want to be a novelist and screenwriter, yet I have to go out to California to interview this crack whore of a singer.”
“What’s up with her anyway? She’s always in the news! I’m so fed up with hearing about her problems. Is she pregnant? Is she mental? Did she OD? Fuuuuuuuck ….”
“Yeah, I know, and I have to pretend I care when I interview her. Look at all the dough she has. And you think you’re confused?”
“I know…”
“There is no reason why you can’t be living a great life: you are college educated and have lots of passion: you should be in a line of work that fulfills you, not just financially, but spiritually as well. What is that thing that is calling you? What is your passion? What motivates you? You may have to make a list and center in on what you really like, because sometimes we have too many choices and it can get very confusing.”
Maureen was smiling. She felt very cozy nestled up against Cahil: his breath puffing out against the back of her ear, his arm firmly around her waist.
“I feel so … you make me feel so warm and safe. You always have. You always have words that make me feel good. A girl could get really addicted to you.”
“You make me feel the same way Maureen.”
Maureen collected Russian Dolls. Cahil was eyeing her collection.
“I have to admit, your Russian dolls give me a bit of the creeps.”
Maureen laughed as she reached out for one on her shelf and handed it to him. “They are called Matryoshka dolls. They are named after a female Russian name Matryona, which is kind of associated with fat, farming women.”
“Very interesting.”
“That set you have there are peasant women: go ahead – undress them, if you will.”
Cahil grinned as he opened up the first peasant woman, all the while eyeing Maureen. He opened up the second and the third after that. Unable to contain themselves any longer, they were soon locked by the mouth with passionate kisses. Lowering themselves to the blue carpet, they bagan removing each other’s clothing when Cahil stopped:
“What’s wrong?” Maureen asked.
“This is … I don’t know … I don’t know if I should do this …” Cahil said, as the thought of what he was doing with Maureen, in essence, placing her on his trophy wrack, started churning guilty feelings inside him.
“You need to do this. You need to do this right now,” Maureen said.
Maureen was quivering with lustful excitement.
“Yes, you’re absolutely right,” Cahil said, as they resumed a fuck that had been several years in the making.

It was 4:38 in the morning when Cahil awoke from an accidental nap. Maureen was in a coma sleep. He stared at her bountiful body, lying there naked on its side. He could not believe he was staring at Maureen naked beside him. He slowly moved off the bed and placed his underwear back on. The heat pipes were making a racket and the room was burning up. Cahil opened her window a smidge and began dressing. After a few minutes a sports car pulled up to the traffic light outside. The sound of Brenda Burgundy’s smash hit was blaring into the night.

California was calling.

For Part I of this story - click here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Anna Berger (Part 2: Early Life)

Part 2 of my interview with actress Anna Berger.
In this segment, Anna talks about growing up on the lower east side of New York City and her early beginnings as a performer.

Learn more about her and watch Part 1.

-Peter Rinaldi

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My body rises when my dream self sleeps

In my dream I am a primitive, grisly being with black-oiled, scraggly hair, chewing on gristle and crouched low at a precipice of rock. I gaze at an animal—sleek and smooth, greasy in movement and intention—circling the burial place of my beloved sister. I tear out my hair in long strands and scream at this sleek intruder ‘til my throat is raw and raspy, but he never entirely leaves. Sometimes he argues just with his eyes—lazy and impassable—dripping easy excuses for his presence which is anathema—since he was her killer.

She was my beauty, my safety, my sound soul, my cultivated culture. She was my laughter and hearth—trusting and proud and ebullient. Now I am all that is left of our generation. I am strong and ugly, coarse and anxious, endlessly hungry, Protector of death. Libation-bearer at liberty yet chained to pain—guarding a corpse most dear—and sacrificing my future in the process.

If I pack up my bones and rags and journey on, he will dig up my beauty and eat it—finishing a murder to its clean conclusion. I am afraid to stay. I feel myself regressing. Yes, even I am capable of regression.

Mary Wyatt Matters

Bedbugs XIX

Bedbugs XIX

Click here for an explanation of how Bedbugs is created.

Click here for last week's Bedbugs.

Your life is an atmosphere I couldn’t breathe in and
no matter how much sunshine
is pumped in the flowerbed,
it’s still artificial. It’s often a coin toss as to
whether your heart will skip a beat but we
drive on relentlessly and turnabout is fair play, it squawked.
Ignore it. Rent a dictionary if life doesn’t make sense.
Metal implants, brown curls twisted in envy on the
machine intended to replace a little girl.
On the roof, six of them; maybe she’ll climb on top.
It’s turning to fall before my very eyes and somehow,
it’s windy, indoors. Killing time by killing thought.
I unplug everything and tell her I’m deemed
a hero, but nothing’s on so happily I
don’t get the message. They forgot me
before I was born. How many sounds of colors
get fractured with the scientist’s best intention? Promised
to be the way it usually is
, but the trick was we
can’t remember that time. I hold the plastic
figure and pretend it cares. It works if you think
hard enough. Locked inside for the rest of it.

Next week's seven phrases/groups of words:

-after all this time, minds change
-no room for you anymore
-energy in short supply
-wait outside the old house until 1
-dead by any measure
-souls for sale
-You won't trick us again


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Boxpress Music Time Show with Brian Hughes

Show #5: "Perfect" Part 3

Brian returns with three more songs which he thinks are perfect in execution.

If you would like to hear other Boxpress Music Time Shows please click these:
1 2 3 4

Monday, February 11, 2008

Better Living Through Absurdity

For an explanation of what this column is all about, go HERE for the first installment, and if you're interested the other entries are available as well. (2) (3) (4)

Today's Topic: 20 Things...That You Don't Want to Hear On a Date

From time to time, in this little bit of absurdity I call a column, I'll present you with lists of 20 things -these will vary from suggestions to warnings, advise a change in perception, point out some potential trouble areas and/or a mix of all of the above. Since Thursday is Valentine's Day (something that you can't have failed to notice as you are bombarded with the miscellaneous paraphernalia everywhere you go- red and pink and white and hearts and cuddly things leering at you, reminding you that you are a dismal failure in the dating community, that you're stuck in a dead-end relationship, that your mother seems to be the only one who sees your finer points, that no matter what you say about choosing to be single, you know that a plant or a pet or even the shiniest Kitchenaid in the world are no substitute for human companionship... cards you will never get, balloons that will never pop on your ceiling, stuffed animals that will never creep you out at night when the light hits those plastic eyes that seem so condemning at 3am, candles that will never grace the edge of your bathtub that's too small to fit one person much less two in an amorous mood, wine that will never lead to the nicer kind of mistakes...all of this is systematically and nauseatingly shoved down your throat each and every year as soon as they've stopped milking Christmas and New Years and before the great travesty known as “No, You're Really NOT Irish on March 17th No Matter How Much Guinness You Drink” happens or even worse, the “Crucifixion Isn't So Bad When You Have Bunnies and Brightly Colored Eggs to Console You!” debacle.

I sound bitter. I'm not. I've been in several long-term relationships where the person had a hard time remembering how my name was spelled, so forget about holidays. For some reason they always liked to hide behind the “But every day is special with you” excuse...which by the way, only works once. When the next day hits and they're back to asking you to wash their highly abused underwear or fix them a sandwich, you know that you were duped and thus begins a new cycle of resentment that will eventually lead to outright loathing. But I digress. I am single this year -and by choice. Not that I necessarily want to be single, but I'd rather be single than date some of the poor excuses for high-school-science-specimen rejects that I kept meeting since I was inducted into the mysteries of “if a boy makes fun of you that means he likes you” -another load of codswallop -that little bastard not only made fun of me but threw rocks at my head, pushed me down a 30-foot icy hill face first, tripped me on the ice skating rink and unceasingly taunted me with some of the nastiest things you can say to a 7-year old girl.


For your amusement/edification, I have put together a list of 20 Things You Never Want to Hear on a Date...but I did.

1. Guy: So, look ah,'s Tiffany right?

Me: No, it's...

Guy: Whatever. Look, I was thinking I'd swing by my buddy's house -he's got some coke for me and I figured we could do a few lines and then go have some fun -whaddya say?

Me: Um...

Guy: Say, do you like oreos?

2. Guy: Do you have anything that smells like almonds? (I didn't but he persisted until I said that the only thing I had that was almond related was almond essence for cooking. He insisted I get it though I warned him that it didn't smell like almonds till it was heated in the oven. He proceeded to dump it all over me and then rub my skin really hard till I smelled like a toasted nut. I won't say what followed, but I almost burned those sheets and I couldn't smell an almond for years without getting the creeps.)

3. Guy: (Out of nowhere) So I made out with a guy once. No big deal. I mean, like I'm not gay, but whatever.

Me: Well there's nothing wrong with experimenting.

Guy: So, you'd like to watch me make out with a guy?

4. Guy: I hope you didn't bring a toothbrush because I don't think I want you to stay the night.

5. Guy: Yeah my ex-girlfriend was a psycho. She's still bitching about the time I knocked a couple of her teeth loose -that was like, YEARS ago!

6. Guy: So, you always look like this?

7. Guy: Yeah I was in jail for a bit.

Me: Oh? What for?

Guy: Well they said assault, but hey I was defending myself. It's not my fault I brought a hammer -just shows I was smarter than he was.

8. Guy: Hey look at that girl -wow, she's hot. Seriously smokin'. She looks just like my sister.

9. Guy: So, like do you have any single female friends?

Me: Mmmm a couple -why, one of your buddies looking for a girlfriend?

Guy: Nah, I was just thinking it would be nice if, you know, you and I and a couple of other girls all went out, you know, like as a group. I mean, I'd like you best and all...

10. Guy: Sorry I'm late -my wife started in on me while I was trying to leave and then she woke the baby up.

Me: Oh, um...sorry?

Guy: Ah that's okay -she's just all moody because she's pregnant.

11. Guy: I think tattoos on a girl are tacky -I mean, seriously, they make her look like a whore.

Me: *stares down at tattoos*

Guy: What?

12. Guy: Nah I don't read much -who needs books when there's television?

13. Guy: I think I should go -my mom gets upset if she can't tuck me in.

14. Guy: So you're a student -that's great! What are you getting your degree in -and please don't say it's one of those artsy fartsy degrees like film or something. Those people bore me.

15. Guy: You know, I've been really depressed lately. Sometimes I think I should just kill myself.

Me: Um, well...

Guy: Oh don't worry -I'll wait till I take you home.

16. Guy: Do you mind if we take the train? I've got 4 DUI's and a Hit and Run so they took my license. But hey, at least I'm not contributing to global warming anymore!

17. Guy: I hate animals. People's pets just creep me out. Cats are the worst. They're disgusting. I used to play kitty baseball all the time.

Me: *chokes on drink, leaves table*

Guy: What? What, you don't HAVE cats do you? Do you?!

18. Guy: You remind me so much of my mother. She's dead you know.

19. Guy: So are you cool with like, roleplaying?

Me: Oh, well, I suppose sometimes it's alright...

Guy: Great! Oh that's awesome! I'll send you a website where you can customize your own Star Wars outfit -they've got some hot stuff for chicks. We're going to get along so well, I can just feel it!

20. Guy: But if you were a whore, I'd pay you!

And there you have it -things you should never say on a date and that you pray you'll never hear. It's amazing I still believe in true love and romance and all that crap.

What?! I do!

For all of you suckers with your ball-and chain counterparts, remember that every day SHOULD be special. And always wash your own underwear. Believe me, it saves a lot of resentment from building up.

Next Week's Topic: It's a Mystery!

Anna Berger (Part 1: Absolutely Anna)

Anna Berger had been a working actor on Broadway, television and in films for 60 years. She has turned the act of stealing a scene into an art in episodes of Law and Order, Everybody Loves Raymond and The Sopranos and in movies like The Taking of Pelham, One, Two, Three; Ghost World and Crimes and Misdemeanors, where, as Aunt May, she single-handedly turned a great Woody Allen film into one of his best.

But before she even got to Hollywood, she spent over 30 years on the Broadway stages and in tours with legends like Mae West and John Garfield as well as in the earliest days of live television.

Three years ago she embarked upon turning her memories into a one-woman show called Absolutely Anna. Shorty after it was finished, I met Anna when I recorded her performing it for the Jewish Braille Institute.

Since then she has been traveling the country, with her husband Bob as technical director, delighting and mesmerizing audiences with stories of growing up on the Lower East Side, seeing her first boyfriend (Walter Matthau!) off to war and transcending her less than actorly looks with a love of performing and turning it into a life long career filled with larger than life characters and moving experiences.

On February 10, 2008 she sat down with me in her home in New York City. The result is a 7 part interview that will be presented exclusively here at The Boutros Boutos Follies.

-Peter Rinaldi

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The First Recording of Vitali Patoshik

In this rare, behind-the-scenes moment from the set of "Oh! Be Joyful!", as the camera was ascending to it's overhead position on the tripod and Tyler Evans, Jonathan Roumie and Timmy Cassese await the next shot, Cassese improvises Vitali Patoshik at a Martin St. Louis press conference. Evans answers as St. Louis.

Cassese's podcast version of the scene, in which he does all the voices, can be heard here

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Journey To Published (5)

This video blog will chart the progress Brian Hughes will be making to get his novel The Boxpress Manifesto published.

Here's Part 5 of the journey...

If you would like to look at other videos in this series please click here:
1  2  3  4

Bedbugs Live

Bedbugs XVIII

Bedbugs XVIII

Click here for an explanation of how Bedbugs is created.

here for last week's Bedbugs.

There are only five ways we can uncover

shining through to the skin as metal palettes are known
to be broken patch of interest as well as opinions
split and shattered amongst ourselves.
I come home to
scare me again, outside and collapse.
One hundred sixteen of the ones
sick of the loop inside

my head and heart that’s played since torrid
teenage to turn it off? In the top lands
of the city, it is discovered it’s
worse when it’s
your fault, she says
; that is the surgery you can bring
a friend to
, Collapsed memories, I’d beg to return
or to have back, stuck in the same state.

Next week’s seven phrases/groups of words:

-it’s often a coin toss
-turnabout is fair play, it squawked
-brown curls twisted in envy
-maybe she’ll climb on top

-killing time by killing thought

-promised to be the way it usually is
-locked inside for the rest of it


The Throes (Part 3)

poster by: Adee

Read The Throes (Part 1) & (Part 2)

The Throes
Part 3

John is ringing a buzzer at the front door of an apartment building.
Voice Over Intercom/ Yes?
John/Beth, it’s me, John. Can I come up?
Beth(over intercom)/John? Why didn’t you call, I got company.
J/I called like seven times.
Beth(over intercom)/Go away. You can’t just show up.
J/Beth, please, it’s not what you think.

John is at her apartment door. She opens the door slightly, sticks her head out.
Beth/(trying to be quiet) My grandparents are here. You can’t come in.
John/Why’d you let me in then?
B/Why are you here?
J/The cops are looking for me. I just need to lay low till I figure out what’s going-
Beth’s Grandfather, Hank, pops his head out.
Hank/Who is it out here?
J/Hey! Mr. Davis, how are you?
H/Who are you?
B/Poppa, This is my friend John, he-
H/I’m her boyfriend, John.
B/Ah, fuck you, John.
John sticks out his hand for him to shake.
Hank didn’t hear her; he was too busy making a fuss.
H/Boyfriend! Oh, come on in, John. Beth, let the boy in. What are you doing? Aren’t you a little too old to be hiding your boyfriends? (He turns back in to the apartment) Sue, Beth’s boyfriend is here!
Sue’s Voice/Boyfriend!
John smiles at Beth. Beth doesn’t return it.

Sue, Beth’s Grandmother, is laying down silverware in front of John at the table. Hank is beaming next to him. Beth, the only one who seems not to be having a good time, is washing dishes, punctuating the small talk that the others are engaged in with slammed bowls and cups.
Hank/Well we can certainly understand where your affection for her comes from. She is our favorite granddaughter.
Sue/That’s unofficial, John, of course.
John releases a well disguised fake laugh.
John/Of course.
H/What did you say it is that you do?
J/I’m a physician.
Beth slams a dish hard into the sink.
S/Oh my. What type?
J/I’m a Gynecologist, actually.
Beth turns and throws daggers at John. He is unphased.
J/That’s where I met Beth.
B/All right, all right. John’s not going to stay to eat. He’s got things to do, isn’t that right John?
John sneaks a quick peek at his phone. No messages.
He looks Beth right in the eyes. He smiles slyly.
J/Nope. I can eat.
He instantaneously removes his smile from this face. There is something vengeful going on between the two of them.
Beth looks like she going to kill him.
S/That’ a Boy. Whatever it is, it can wait.
J/That’s right.
Beth turns back to the dishes.
H/You are in for a treat, young man. My wife can cook the hell out of food.
John smiles at Hanks turn of phrase.
J/Well it must’ve trickled down to Beth. I am telling you, if I let another man get grab a hold of his one, I’ll be missing out on some fine eatin’, I am tellin’you.
Beth stops the sink. She lefts her head up. She doesn’t care anymore.
B/I don’t cook, dickhead. I DON’T COOK!
Sue and Hank are confused. But they try not to let the awkwardness linger.
S/Food is important. It’s a major part of our lives.
H/You said it.
J/Oh yes. It’s the way to a man’s heart, they say.
There is a long, silent pause.
J/That’s why when I marry your Granddaughter, I intend-
John is punched, hard, right in the eye, by Beth. He didn’t even see it coming. It nearly knocks him off the chair.
Sue’s high pitched yell is over and there is stunned silence again. But not for long.
S/Get the fuck out of my apartment, you fucking asshole!
John’s shock is subsiding as the pain comes. He holds his face.
John gives her a look. It says “I was joking. You didn’t get it” and it makes her even more mad. She lunges at him. This time John moves. Hank Grabs her.
B/If you don’t get out of here I will fucking kill you!!!!!!
She is completely flipping out now. Hank can hardly hold her. Any appearance she was trying to keep for her Grandparents is forgotten. John is scared. He slips his jacket on as he reaches for the door. He attempts a visual goodbye toward Sue and Hank, but aborts it. He slides out.

On the street, John is examining his bruise in a car mirror. ‘It’s gonna be some shiner,’ he thinks. Two texts come in, one right after the other. He looks at his phone. First one is from Kira.
‘Kira?’ John didn’t even know she had his number.
It reads, “John, I need to talk to you. It’s serious. Can I come over?”
The second one is from Sammy.
“Mustard is back. She was drugged. Call me”
Suddenly John's face doesn't hurt that much.

to be continued

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Teddie Dikiekens’ “Super” Sports Bonanza

Teddie with some follow up on the amazing Superbowl as well as other top sports stories that are breaking by the minutes…. Take a ride with him down Sports Town Road…

Listen to Teddie's Past Bonanzas (1) (2) (3) (4)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


When he's not watching, with beads of sweat, his fellow, legally blind, senior citizens parallel park, Frank Palmcoast is catching seven dollar movies at the local multiplex from sunny Pompano Beach, Florida. He's retired, he's angry at the world, he can't spell to save his life, and he hates Hollywood almost as much as Hilary Clinton, but that will not stop our irreverent, dementia fightin', AARP card carrying everyman from giving us a fresh take on all things Hollyweird. Besides, how can he pass up that marvelous senior citizen discount?

This week the veteran movie reviewer of The Palm Aire Gazette spills some "blood" in this ever opinionated review of Daniel Day Lewis and Diane Lane's new films.


There will be blood should have been titled "There will be boring"!. Let me begin by saying, "A great actor does not make a great movie"! Daniel Day Lewis is terrific and compelling and for me he redid some of the roll he captured in "Gangs Of New York" Paul Dano was also good playing the duel rolls of Eli and Paul. Now I completely understand why the music was not up for an academy award---it sucked and I now no why his son loss his hearing--he listened to the sound track of the movie! Half way through this movie(that's around 4 hours) I asked my wife for a divorce because she recommended this awful picture. The title of this boring, over rated flick promised us blood, I just didn't realize it was from the people in the audience slitting their wrists. If you like political conventions your going to love this picture because it too has no substance, plenty of oil tycoons and holly rollers. I thought I was in New Mexico with all the dirt and dust. This is another example of a movie for critics, movie makers and Hollyweird but not for us foke, the audience. Half the movie going people left and the rest wanted their money back because the critics, AGAIN were terribly wrong. Lately when I leave a movie I utter the same review words, : What the Hell Was That""
Simply stated, this was a movie of an oil man who was an alcoholic that wanted to control the world, does that sound like our President or not! I and The main character did have something in common, by the end of the movie I hated everyone! What a waste of the three hours at this movie and at my age I can't afford to waste too many hours. On a scale of 1 to 100, I would give this a 10. It had no story, no music, no point and no entertainment value and I would have been better off at the city garbage dump watching it putrefy and it would stink less. This movie was slower than my 100 year old Grandmother and shes been dead for 10 years! I couldn't wait for the credits to roll and the best thing about the ending IS IT ENDED! This film about oil wells was more of a dry hole than a gusher!


Untraceable is a serial killer mystery and at times I wish it was UNTRACEABLE! Diane Lane and Colin Hanks are really good as FBI employees who investigate and prosecute criminals on the Internet. The serial killer is a computer genius who shows graphically all his murders on his web site and the victims fate is left in the hands of the public computer users. Not bad thriller with suspense and I guess this film is a Silence of the Lambs of the Internet age. The detective played by Billy Burke was not convincing in his role and Joseph Cross who had a great opportunity playing the serial killer did not take advantage of this gift--I would have preferred Colin Hanks to play that part. The actual killings are pretty original, quite intense. The film had a terrible ending like so many other movies I've recently scene and believe the Soprano's originated. At times I felt that I should have stayed home and sorted my sock drawer but Diane Lane did sound cute with her newly acquired geek speaking. I would wait until it comes out on cable and don't waste your money on a DVD rental!

Underground, Above and Beyond: The Casually Edited True Life Subway Adventures of Hershey Browne

Super Monday

“Vote Obama, Vote for Change!” she shouted and then turned to me, “are you a registered democrat and are you ready for change?”
“Well I’m not but I am.”
“I’m not a registered democrat but…”
“Oh. Ok.”
“Ok? That’s it? You’re giving up on me?” This was yesterday morning, the day between Super Tuesday and Super Bowl Sunday. I was standing on the platform at Jay Street/Borough Hall between the F train and the A train. The day was young, the week had just begun and already I was feeling like I was in between a lot of things.
“There’s a lot people here and if you’re not a registered democrat I need to move on – there’s a lot of people to talk to between now and tomorrow.”
“Yes, but I’m ready for change.”
“Are some sort of smart ass?” “Vote Obama, Vote for Change!” This was a pretty girl. Very pretty and probably out of my league. Maybe it was wrong to take advantage of the situation but maybe she was as well. What is she getting out of supporting a presidential candidate?
“No, I would really like to hear what you have to say about Barack Obama.”
“Look, you think I have time to…” and then I stopped paying attention to her words as I saw a beauty walk by with a nice big Hillary ’08 pin on her coat. I followed her with my eyes until she stopped only a few feet away from us.
“…are you even listening to me?”
“Yes yes, of course I am. Go on,” I said as I tried hard to pay attention but I couldn’t. The Hillary girl was prettier. She looked sweet. I wasn’t getting anywhere with the Obama girl but she kept talking to me.
“…and you can check his voting record if you don’t believe me.”
“I will. Thanks. Excuse me.” The Obama girl rolled her eyes and forgot about me instantly.
“Vote Obama, Vote for Change!” The A train rolled in. The Hillary girl got on. So did I.
“Hi! I’m Hershey.” She looked at me.
“Uhm, well you see, I was just talking to a woman on the platform over there about Barack Obama…”
“Yes, I noticed.”
“Oh, you did? Did ya? Great then, that’s great.”
“And well, I just wanted to sort of get your take on the Democratic candidates.” She looked very hesitant and wary of talking to me.
“Are you undecided?”
“No, I’m pretty sure I like you?” She smiled. I broke her. I wasn’t sure if I won her but I knew I now had her time.
“Do you even care about any of this or are you just using it as an excuse to hit on girls?”
“Can it be both? I mean, a guy can both be interested in his country’s future and what a girl might want for breakfast, right?
“Did you just ask me to breakfast?”
“Did you just say yes?”
“No… I mean, I didn’t say yes…”
“But you didn’t say no.”
“Is this what you do? Do you just go around confusing girls on the train until they agree to have breakfast with you?”
“It wouldn’t even need to be traditional breakfast food. I mean we can get something weird like tacos or gyros if the whole breakfast thing is confusing you.”
“You’re fuckin crazy, aren’t you?”
“Nah. Well, maybe just a little. So…breakfast?”
“Well I just can’t miss work for breakfast.”
“Call in late.”
“Will you vote for Hillary tomorrow?”
“What if I told you I’m not a registered democrat.”
“Depends. Are you a registered republican?”
“Registered voter?’
“And if you were a democrat?”
“I’d stuff the ballot box for Hillary.”
“OK, Let’s get some breakfast.”