Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What links to the Muppets Website?

Today I suddenly wondered what was at Kermit.com The answer? It bounces you to Disney's Muppets website. I started trying a few other Muppet names, and it was interesting to see where Disney drew the line on character names that it was worth fighting/paying for the domain names for:

Bounces to the Muppets website:
kermit.com
kermitthefrog.com
misspiggy.com
swedishchef.com
rowlf.com
muppet.com
muppets.com
themuppets.com

Does not:
piggy.com
gonzo.com (porn)
gonzothegreat.com
fozzie.com
fozziebear.com
pepe.com
pepethekingprawn.com
rizzo.com
rizzotherat.com
rowlfthedog.com
themuppet.com
themuppetshow.com (this one was surprising)

Can you find anything that bounces to the Muppets website? Or anything that you think should bounce but doesn't? Let me know and I'll add it to the list.


UPDATE: Angela found that swedishchef.com bounces to the Muppets site. Of all the other characters, that's an interesting one for them to pay for. Thanks for the tip!

UPDATE: Angela found that rowlf.com bounces to the Muppets site.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

West Side Story




BU-DAAAAAAA DUM. badadaaaa. pa-dum, pa-dum, padum padum. pa-dum, pa-dum, padum pa-dum. *snap* - *snap* - *snap*...

Feel free to read that while listening to the first bit of the Prologue to West Side Story, and you will get an idea of what I sound like every time I listen to the album.

I am so excited to announce that I will be playing Tony in West Side Story at Cassidy Theatre in Parma Heights, OH February 27th through March 22nd 15th.

West Side Story remains one of the best known, most loved, and most parodied musicals in American Theater. Everyone knows it, most people love it, and almost everyone can laugh with it in a very respectful way. We laugh at the IDEA of gangs dancing and singing while fighting, but the reality is that somehow, someway, West Side Story more than pulls it off.

The music is simply brilliant. It's the kind that is pretty, yet complicated the first time you hear it. The next few times you listen to it, you are trying to figure it all out. Then finally you get to a place where you are comfortable with it and it just never seems to get old.

The story is classic. A Romeo and Juliet type adventure full of forbidden love, social injustice, gang-imposed segregation, and lessons learned at terrible costs. It's a beautiful story that I recall being very skeptical of when I was young. I remember thinking that Tony and Maria fall in love way too fast. I thought that it was a cool show, but unrealistic. But as I've grown, I've learned how quickly people can connect. I've learned that if the right 2 people happen to be at the right dance in the right gym on the right night, it doesn't matter what the rules say, they will fall for each other. And Tony and Maria fall fast. I learned that the story is not unrealistic, it's simply uncommon. But what common story would be worth telling? I believe, and hope to bring to the character of Tony, that had he and Maria lived to the age of 100, they would still light up when the other walked in the room. That if they had run away to a place where they could be free, they would not have given up at the first sign of trouble. They were in it for the long haul, and somehow, they knew that amazingly quickly.


The choreography is out of control. This is an area that I will be the first to concede I have no right to talk about. Luckily, Tony is not usually required to dance much in the show (phew). All I know is this: Traditionally, this show has crazy sweet choreography and I saw some awesome work from the choreographer and the other auditioners. It's going to be hot and Latin-infused and hot and fun and fresh and hot.


On a personal note... If you had asked me 6 months ago what my top 3 roles that I would want to play that I hadn't yet played were, they would have been as follows:


1)Jamie - The Last Five Years

2)Mark (or Roger or anyone) - Rent

3)Tony - West Side Story


If you had told me 6 months ago that I would get to play 2 of those parts in the next year, I would have laughed at you. The fact that I will be able to check off 2 of those parts plus all the other unexpected parts I've gotten to play in that time is something I can't even put words to. I am so incredibly lucky. Yes, I understand they are community theatre shows. But to that I say, screw you, and have you seen some of the community theatre in NE Ohio? It's not all perfect, but there are some serious gems out there if you invest a little time to look for them. And I feel like I've been lucky enough to be a part of a few of those gems. As I discussed recently with a fellow NE Ohio theatre-maker, It doesn't matter if you have a huge budget, a tiny theatre, a rich community, big names, or a soap box in the back yard. Great theatre comes from a group of great individuals with a bit of talent and lot of heart. I have high hopes that we can deliver just that, come February!
Yours,
Barry

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Last Five Years



I am very excited to say that I will be playing Jamie in The Last Five Years at the Players Guild Theatre in Canton, OH from September 19th to the 28th.

I can honestly say that this role was the highest on my list of wanna-plays. This is a show that has a very close place to my heart. Jamie is a character who, from his good to his bad, I connect with very strongly.

The show is a 2 person musical. It chronicles the relationship of Jamie and Cathy from their first date, to their wedding, and finally to their divorce. The twist is that from scene to scene, Jamie goes forward in time while Cathy goes backward, and the only time we really get to see them in a scene together is at their wedding were they share a beautiful duet.

The Last Five Years is probably not for everyone. Some may call it angsty and long winded. I would suggest that it is a step-by-step analysis of how this particular sort of relationship can fail. It's a relationship where the woman needs the man to define her, and the man needs the woman to worship him, then go away. I think it strikes an especially resounding chord for people who are in the arts and tend to have these seemingly conflicting, but somehow related issues of self-worth and ego. It's no surprise then that few people outside of the musical theatre world have heard of The Last Five Years, while it remains a favorite among angsty and egotistic actors (as I would include myself in this category). The characters are real, flawed, delightful, and stubborn.

And then there is the music.

Jason Robert Brown writes complicated, intentional, haunting music, and The Last Five Years is no exception. The lyrics dance from insightful, to hilarious, to downright heartbreaking at the turn of a verse. I have listened to this music for 4 years and still don't hesitate to put it on my iPod and give it another spin, while I have all but retired most of my albums I've bought just this past year. The orchestra is made up of only strings and a piano. It makes for a unique sound that can be slow and sweet or surprisingly slamming, and takes learned hands to pull it off right which we are lucky to have in the piano masterings of Rob Kovacs. The music is another way this show connects with more than just theatre-geeks. Fans of indie-pop, classical, and piano-rock like Ben Folds fall in love with this music.

So here's my wrap up. If you know me, I'm asking that you come see this show. It has a lot of messages in it that I want to be a part of giving to you through this piece of art. I have never endorsed a show I've been in that way. I might say it's good, come see it if you like. But, in this case, I'm saying that if you want to see a part of me, come see this show. And with the talent I have beside me (Courtney Vignos and Tiffany Stoker) it's going to knock your freaking socks off.

For tickets, contact the Players Guild Theatre:
(330) 453-7617 or
Click Here to order online

For more info on the show, here are a few links:
Wikipedia - The Last Five Years
Jason Robert Brown

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

ATT Blunderings




I spent 2 hours talking to something like 10 different people at ATT to figure out how to sign up for Online Billing on my DSL account. Some of my frustrations were:

-I was told by multiple people that I couldn't sign up for online billing because I have what is called a "Dry Loop", which means I only get DSL (no phone service). Not True

-I was inputting the last 7 digits of my Account Number incorrectly. The person on the phone told me not to use the last number. Oh so when you say use the last 7 digits, you actually mean the last 8 digits, but disregard the last digit. Makes Sense.

-I was bounced around from department to department across the country like a bad case of inter-office herpes.

-I was bounced to a number that is no longer in service. By a telephone company.

-Once I FINALLY got signed up, my account showed that I owed $95 dollars that I had paid a week prior. This payment showed up under previous payments, but my account still said I owed the money.

-When I signed up for DSL, the D-Bag who took my order promised me a $50 gift card to reimburse me for my modem. I never received it, and had to complain before I finally just got a $50 credit on my account. This actually was relatively painless except for the fact that I had to do it at all, and the operator said that the sales person was not allowed to do that. I assume crediting me $50 was easier than taking any action to find out who promised me something that they shouldn't. Or perhaps it's all part of their model because a lot of people just would have let it go. Which is shady to the max.

Sometimes companies get too big and merge-y for their own good, and they really need to call their own customer service and try to solve a real-life problem.

You my be interested in reading this article which inspired my post.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An open letter to Jesus



Hey it's me. This will be brief. Did you hear about Alison Carroll? Yeah, she's the new Lara Croft. Oh you knew? Well, anyways, I know I screw up sometimes, and, like, drink a lot, and swear sometimes, and like, space out in church once in a while, and generally act inappropriately. No excuses here, I do that stuff sometimes. But I was wondering if you could throw me a bone on this one, so to speak. Like, maybe put my name into Alison’s mind and have her inexplicably look me up via the World Wide Web. I guess you could just put my phone number in her head, right? Well, you can work out the details, I don’t want to tell you how to do your job. I just thought that, ya know, maybe she could fly me out to her flat – she’s English right? Yeah, I thought so. So, like, if she could fly me out to her flat and for some reason think I was the sexiest thing she’s ever seen, that would be really great. I’m not asking for a commitment here, Jesus. I mean, if she just wants to have a romantic weekend, that would be fine with me. Maybe even preferable. Now I know you want us to bring even the small stuff to you, and that’s why I thought I’d slip this minor one in. And considering the whole Angelina thing, you really kinda owe this one to me, right? Well, it’s debatable at least. Well, kick it around, and I’ll get back with you this afternoon. Thanks dude. Oo, are these mints? Oh, they’re wax? Gross. Ok, laters.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Michael McShortson

Is it me, or is Michael McDonald...





looking more and more like a cross between Brian Wilson...




and Martin Short as Jack Frost?






Thursday, May 08, 2008

Soundtrack Better Then/Than HD Space Footage?




As my readers know, I am by no means a wordsmith. I tend to type like I speak. I am, however one of those people that makes grammatical mistakes once in a while, but can't stand it when they find other people's grammatical mistakes. it may be a flaw of mine, but then again, I don't get paid for my blog. In this article by Loretta Hidalgo about an HD space documentary, the last sentence includes some sketchy English. The following is my email to wired.com


"I was a little shocked to read Loretta Hidalgo's misuse of the word "then" when she meant "than" in the last sentence of this article. Also, she highly recommends watching and HD documentary on space travel because of the soundtrack? hmm."

Friday, April 18, 2008

I'll Fiiiiiind Yoooou


So there is a new helper on the market at your local grocery store and pharmacy. A computer that tells you exactly which isle and on which shelf certain items that you're looking for reside. This seems like a great idea. I have often wondered why there wasn't a more efficient way of finding things at the grocery store. Scanning through 20 signs with vague descriptions while walking across the entire store is no way to find things, and anyone that doesn't frequent grocery stores will probably agree with me.

I DO, however, have a problem with the character they chose to saddle right above the search screen. Is that really the best they could come up with? That cold, dead stare watching me type is not an appealing thought. I don't go to that guy for finding things in a store. If I want to be molested, I go to that guy. If I want a painting for my wall to poke out the eyes and watch my dinner guests, I look that guy up. If I want my soul sucked out via my eyeballs, he's my guy. I just think that they should have maybe run him through a few test shoppers first, and when they had a few cleanups on isle 9 from people dumping themselves, they'd work on a new character.

P.S. Read this article, his name is Evincii. Looks a lot like Evil to me...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Online Wordprocessing and Future Web Apps

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/01/AR2008040102198.html

I tend to be very interested in the goings on of Google and particularly their applications like Google Docs that replace costly Microsoft products at no cost to me. So when I was reading this article by the Washington Post, I was struck by a statement that the author made in regards to Google Docs becoming a threat to Microsoft's productivity software dominance.
"Current fans of Google Docs will surely appreciate this new feature, but I still have a hard time seeing how a Web-based application could ever replace traditional word processing software for serious business computing."
Really? Ever? I imagine a journalist 60 some years ago saying,
"I still have a hard time seeing how a computer-based application could ever replace traditional typewriting for serious business typography."
It just seems like one of those statements that journalists quickly make that goes down in history as an "oh man were they ever wrong". I think that it's pretty clear that the internet is not a fad, and more applications are moving to it, and more than likely our entire operating systems will one day be on a server somewhere that we just access via a dummy laptop that's little more than a window to that OS. Now maybe that's looking a little far down the road, but to say you don't believe Word Processing will EVER be Web-based seems a little narrow minded.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Get Hooked!...



I'm very happy to announce that I have just been cast as Captain Hook/Mr. Darling in Peter Pan at the Player's Guild in Canton, Ohio. This will again be a very challenging role for me for a number of reasons, and I'm very excited because I'm really on board for this challenge. For starters, this will be my first villainous role, and it's a role I've always been interested in.

I have always had an affinity for the story of Peter Pan. I was one of those boys that would stare out the window and wait to be swept away to Neverland. I loved the idea of tricking pirates, swordfighting, and building forts. What more could a boy want, really? I specifically remember watching the film "Hook" when I was just starting to grow up, and I tried very hard to remember if I ever was a lost boy, or perhaps Pan himself, and somewhere along the way found myself in the real world.

The story of Peter Pan is the embodiment of so many things that are important to children, and boys especially. Escape from the torment of real life, father complexes, rejection of love and emotion and what that can do to a person. There are so many underlying psychological things about the story of Peter Pan that I think people latch onto subconsciously, and that is the reason it has such longevity. It's not about a boy who flies through an open window and takes children on adventures. It's about what happens when emotions are rejected and eventually forgotten. It's about the love/hate/fear/trust relationships children often have with their fathers. Although we all would love to be the carefree Peter Pan, we also see the sad, lonely character that he is. That alone tells us amazing things about ourselves. We knowingly idolize a character that gets to live a completely self indulging life at the expense of not experiencing any real love, or touch, or change. All of which can be wonderful things, but all of which carry the risk of immense pain.

So, if I were to be completely honest, my dream role would be Peter Pan. It's easy to identify with a self absorbed careless mess of fun. Also, who wouldn't love to fly? Unfortunately, I've surely surpassed my Pan-Playing age. In fact, the Players Guild has kept in line with the long standing theatre tradition of casting a woman as Peter. Fortunately, in our case, the heavy role will be on the very capable shoulders of the talented Amanda Medley. But there is another long standing theatre tradition for this show that is also being upheld, much to my satisfaction. This tradition being the dual casting of Captain Hook/Mr. Darling. I think that productions that are missing this element miss out on an entire layer of the story and magic of Peter Pan. I don't believe that children need every analogy to be as blindingly obvious as casting Hook and Mr. Darling with the same actor, but I think that in the case of Hook/Darling it just works. It's also very gratifying for the actor to be seen as a stern and almost cold father, then as a monster, and finally as a reformed man.

Personally, I have a lot to spill into this complex mix of characters. I have experienced many pieces of Hook/Mr. Darling in my youth, and am ripe for creative outlet. I am also reaching a point in my life where I am irreversibly a man. There's no being a boy again, and it's a fact that many men my age struggle with. I am also at an age where men start to look in the mirror, and more frighteningly, at their daily actions, and they see their fathers. It's a time where, more than ever, you make conscious decisions, based on the goods and the bads that you've experienced, that make you the kind of man you will be for the rest of your life. I'm very excited to sink my hook into these characters.

And of course, every monster has a weak side. They need to be in constant control, and henceforth often have human punching bags in their closest associations. Mr. Smee is the embodiment of this character type, and I am very pleased to be teaming with the ever-funny Ross Rhodes again as he takes on this role.

The last piece of our production that I will share at this time is on the topic of pirates, and the "color" of our show. Without giving away too much information, I will leave you with these impressions. Pirates are a dirty, nasty, murderous lot, and these are the pirates that you will see in our production of Peter Pan. And pirates don't live in pastel jungles, nor do they wash their clothes and polish their buttons. They live in a dark world of blues, greys, and blood red. This will not be Disney's Peter Pan.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

In The Year 2102...

Good Morning. I'd like to start off the new year by playing editor for DailyTech...



That's quite a projection, DailyTech. Someone, somewhere got fired this happy New Year.