i spent the weekend back in gainesville florida, home of the 'inferno period:' the formitive years of my life, a time of unmatched intensity. before florida, i had never really known meanings to the words love, hate, cruelty, happiness, betrayal, elation - basically every extreme: went through it.
so it was a touch bittersweet to return. i hadn't been back since i sped away 6 years ago in my uhaul truck, back tires squealing towards new york (a day later i drove that uhaul off an icy bridge in pennsylvania - yay for new beginnings!).
i guess the maxim for existence is that "everything changes, and everything stays the same." it was so strange to see these old streets, my old apartment complex, the strip malls, the bars that had been the set decoration for a wholly disinteresting, melodramatic film starring an overwrought joe larue.
in any case, despite the bittersweet aspects, the trip was an overall wonderful experience, and a joy to see neal's play up on stage. i enjoyed meeting the current graduate students, and empathizing deeply with their struggles.
it was while watching neal's play that i had my first twinge of real regret about leaving. i had done a lot of work on this show, and here it was, poised to make the next big step, and i had essentialy abandoned it - and my theatre company.
there's a difference between regret and doubt. i still do not doubt that i made the best, healthiest choice i could have. but i do regret that i wasn't able to make more happen for the show while i was still in new york.
but all of this has emboldened my quest to get a movie version of 'second' made.
on monday david invited me to a google 'hollywood party' in which they redressed their santa monica headquarters as an upscale hollywood club, and invited 4 distinguished writer/directors to speak about their creative process and the impact technology has had on their art.
the speakers were craig brewer (HUSTLE AND FLOW, BLACK SNAKE MOAN), lauren greenfield (THIN, GIRL CULTURE), ted griffin (MATCHSTICK MEN, OCEANS 11) and jim uhls (FIGHT CLUB, SEMPER FI).
it was kind of a staggering event - open bar, amazing passed around hors deurves, shuttle buses from the office to the movie theatre where the talk was, multicamera setup with a crane over the audience (presumably to broadcast the panel on the google cable channel) incredible gourmet desserts served at the theatre, gift bags with cool tshirts..
of course it's nothing compared to the party david's been at this week - the next day the entire west coast office was flown out for two days of skiing and unimaginably huge parties. i asked him 'so do you have to go to meetings or conferences too?' his reply: 'nope!' google is amazing. they truly cultivate a work hard/play hard atmosphere.
tuesday night i went to a david mamet book reading and signing for his new book 'bambi vs. godzilla: on the nature, purpose, and practice of the movie business.
' he read a chapter from the book, then took questions for an hour.
i realized that i've never actually seen mamet speak. i've read all of his theoretical books, nearly all his plays, and yet i've had no real idea of what his literal voice sounds like. it sounds like a chicago taxi driver. it makes a lot of sense that his early plays revolve around capital G guys, because he is so clearly a capital G, 'scuse me toots' kinda guy. reading 'true and false,' i picture an academic - but the reality is that mamet himself is an absolute no-nonsense guy. his acting technique is called 'practical aesthetics,' because that's exactly what he is: practical. he wants to get it done. quickly, efficiently, and with no bullshit.
he's also hilarious. he railed against 'sense memory' as a relic of freudian-derived misinterpretation compounded with communist-era hype, and thus passed on incorrectly through the ages and trickled down into every bad acting class in history. the crowd cheered. he signed my book and i told him 'true and false changed my life.' i don't think he really actually heard me. he was on to the next book. ah well. i'll meet him again, for real one day.
so i just signed up to take a master class with william h. macy, through the atlantic theatre school's LA program. it's next tuesday. the man, with mamet, invented practical aesthetics. cannot wait.