Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hong Kong Phooey Hustle

My obsession with Hong Kong Phooey, that '70s superhero dog that was a kung fu fighting superstar, has resulted in a one-act play. Man, did I have fun writing this play. Here's the dope on it:

"Hong Kong Phooey Hustle" concerns two lost soul Los Angelinos who hit a hipster hotel in Portland, Oregon after a long road trip. As the tired friends argue, they spill a polvo--a Mexican powder used for invocations--in the room. The accident sets off a series of surreal happenstances, including a spiritual possession by the '70s kung fu cartoon dog superhero Hong Kong Phooey and the busting up of an international jewelry heist, all contained within the simple hotel room. It takes an otherwordly visitation by Saint Cupcake to deliver the friends from despair and give them the strength to summon some righteous kung fu chops.

This was the first play that seemed, at times, to write itself. There were writing sessions in which I was so delighted--like when Wilma asks the hotel maid if someone from spa services can perform an exorcism, or when Rosemary insists that Wilma's saint painting of the Virgen de Guadalupe has the virgin holding a vibrator--that I felt I was watching the play unfold.

The play I've just started is not such smooth sailing. I'm trying a lot of new things. It's a musical, tentatively titled "Beatific Beatitudes", inspired by Jenny's old comic strip "The Beats". Meg's gonna help with the jazzy beatnik music, to be performed by a trio onstage. I know this project would be important to Jenny, but I still find myself fighting apathy to write it. For example, I am supposed to be working on it at this moment.

Friday, November 10, 2006

How to Put on a Show for Under $20

Here's a reason to love Portland. The wonderful Brenda of Tour de Crepes gave us her space for an evening show. I built a couple altars, put up a theme exhibit of shrines, and got the flyer-making machine rolling. I feel so very fortunate to have friends such as Meggie (the wild violinist), Jennifer (super crafty concocter of sugar skulls), Steve (on dreams & politics), David (poet), and, of course, The StageSlingers (ShaSha, Ciji, Susan & Me) who rocked the house!

Portland makes things possible. I remember when Jenny put up a show in Oakland, it cost her so much money just to rent the space. And scoring the space was a whole other production. Living here, I realize there's just no need for all that hype and fuss (even though sometimes what I miss most is the hype and fuss).

I got up in front of everyone and spoke, and it was as if I was hearing Jenny. I was always the words behind someone else's voice, but there I was voice and all. It made me miss her, but it made me proud of all she had done, who she was, and where she was going. The month before she had died, she had filled the Climate Theater in SF's SOMA. She had them. The memory burns me because I want what was going to happen next to happen, but it inspires me because there she was, self-actualized.

So I did the show, advertised on a 5-cent pile of cardstock recycled from SCRAP, with special-effect lighting provided by ten dollars worth of saint candles. Half the show's budget went to candles, which may explain why there was a small fire on an altar during the last piece of the show.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


The momentum is on! My new theater group, The StageSlingers, is hosting its inaugural show this Sunday, in honor of Dia de los Muertos. I built an altar for it, and also have a tiny tiny art show in the theater space. Here's the description and information:

Writers, artists, performers, and musicians gather at this Salon de Muertos, spinning surreal tales and fiddling Romanian gypsy dirges in the shadows of a candlelit altar. Join theater troupe The StageSlingers for an evening evoking dreams, death, and the beyond. The program of suspenseful stories, urban legends, fantasies, and folktales celebrates Day of the Dead and Todos Santos.

Sunday, November 5th at 7pm.
Free admission.
Tour de Crepes.
2921 NE Alberta Street.