Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Co-Hosting My101.7 Thursday Nov 12 from 7am to 9am...



I will be Co-Hosting on MY101.7 with Gary Rivers from 7am to 9am on Thursday, November 12. I'll be chatting with Gary and promoting "An Old Fashioned Canton Christmas" (www.cantonchristmas.org).

If you don't live in the Canton area, you can listen online at www.my1017.com!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

If Only In My Dreams

I'm finally liking Christmas again. I don't think I ever hated it, but I started off loving it, possibly too much, and it's been a bit of a roller coaster since then.

When I was a kid, Christmas was one more magical escape. It was another chance to believe in wishes and elves and flying. I remember feeling my excitement grow as the world became increasingly red, green, and white. People were kinder to each other, and there was always this sense of anticipation. I loved every ceremony. Trimming the tree, wrapping the gifts, Christmas Eve candle light service, waking up way too early at Mom's and seeing what Santa left, breakfast at Grandma's with the fancy plates and silverware, then off to Dad's for more gifts and food.

But as with nearly everything I loved as a child, there was a fall. A disenchantment. An earth-rattling disappointment. Like the moment you realize that all the people you know and look up to, your parents, your minister, your grandparents, your teachers, are completely fallible and flawed. I don't remember what age I was, but I do remember the first Christmas that I no longer loved it. I don't know what hurt more, my loss of "Christmas Spirit", or my knowledge of my loss. Christmas came and went that year and I was emotionally unaffected. I felt robbed. I mourned the loss of an era in my life when I could just enjoy and not question.

When I was a senior in High School I became deeply spiritual. I read the Bible daily and hung out with Christians who weren't afraid to answer my tough questions. More importantly, I wasn't afraid to ask these people tough questions. That was an enormous change from my childhood experience up to that point. Questions were generally not accepted with a welcoming conversation. I became very Christ-centered, and my view of the Christmas season had a new season of it's own in my life. One of deep spiritual connection and holy gratitude. But as I have learned with everything that's shiny and new, the shine eventually fades and you're left with realness again. For better or worse.

Then I became an adult. Christmas became buying shit. Who wants what and hasn't been bought it yet. And with a family my size, that's an expensive and stressful chore. Add a girlfriend into the mix, and you're a broke young professional running around on Christmas Eve with all the other dads at the mall buying useless crap and resenting everyone's importance they've placed on this ritual.

Why why why couldn't Christmas be what it was when I was a kid? You were chauffeured around, the world looked like Disney World, and everyone made such an effort to speak nicely to you and each other. And perhaps most importantly, you weren't socially obligated to give useless crap to every one. When I was growing up, my family could probably have been described as economically lower-class across the board, but by the time I was an adult, everyone was doing just fine financially. We didn't need to buy each other sweaters because we had 7 sweaters in the closet. I wondered how to make it all worth it again. Then I came up with an idea for our family to take all the money that we would spend on each other, and give it to a family that was actually in need. The kids would still get their gifts, but the adults would adopt a family.

Finally! A purpose for the gifts again. We bought for a family what was probably a pretty wonderful Christmas one year, and I felt really great about it. Of course, you can't please everyone. My Grandma, one of the sweetest little ladies you could meet, wasn't happy. She wanted at Christmas to buy things for her family. I learned that year that getting gifts from Grandma was as much a gift to her as it was to me. She loves blessing her family and missed that immensely the year we adopted a family. Right or wrong, we didn't want to break Grandma's heart, so we went back to buying each other gifts.

So where am I headed with this? I think the best moments I've had at Christmas were the times when I was closest to God, the few times when I gave a family member the perfect gift that wasn't just another box on the pile, and when I was helping someone or a cause that truly needed it. Well, those first and second instances, I can't help you with. But the last one, giving to where it is truly needed, I would implore you to do.

The areas to which we are all drawn to give are different, and that's ok. You can't save the world alone, but you can make it better in the ways and areas that you are able to. Personally, I am most drawn to the the needs of kids and the arts. That's why being attached to an organization like An Old Fashioned Canton Christmas is really important to me, and easy for me to pour work into. I believe in the 2 organizations that will benefit from our production. The Stark County Hunger Task Force and The Canton Palace Theatre are time-tested organizations that do great work and are in great need.

Shameless plug, or sincere appeal? I guess all that I care is that you read it and will consider it. I also think you won't be disappointed with this production. It's really packed with entertainment for all ages. If you're interested in the show, which is November 14th at 7:30pm at the Palace Theatre, go to www.cantonchristmas.org for more information, or www.cantonpalacetheatre.org for tickets.

May this season be your favorite yet.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Obama™ Tweets about Healthcare

http://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/4997613990

"Health insurers are trying to mislead you—but their smoke and mirrors won't work this time. Watch: http://bit.ly/1qtBtn #hc09"
from @barackobama

This is a strange tweet to come from a President of the United States. I'm all for new forms of communication, but can we keep a hint of professionalism? This almost sounds like it's snipped from a Cartoon. There's nearly an audible "bwahahaaaa" after it. Evidence that most broad communication panders to morons. Not that what it's saying is necessarily wrong. Or that only morons watch cartoons.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Pumpkin Head



A lot of people asked me how I made my Facebook profile picture, so I thought I'd give a quick rundown of the process. Both of the programs I used are free and legal downloads, so feel free to take a stab at it yourself:

  • I put this picture in Inkscape (http://www.inkscape.org/) and traced the bitmap image so I had a single tone vector representation of the picture.






  • Then I essentially inverted the color (actually I cut the image out of another color so I had just one blob of my face).




  • Next, I did a Google image search to find a suitable picture of a pumpkin and pumpkin innards.










  • Then I basically punched the face out of the pumpkin innards using Inkscape.




  • Lastly, I overlaid the face on the pumpkin, added a little shadow with some Inkscape magic and tada!


Browser Choice




There's been a lot of buzz recently about choice in browsers. People seem to come down hard on Microsoft for packaging Internet Explorer with Windows, and I really don't see why. Here's an article describing how Windows 7 will be sold in Europe without a browser:




I don't agree with this at all. Microsoft has every right to bundle IE with Windows, whatever your opinion of IE may be. Just as they can bundle Paint, Notepad, and anything else they want to give away. They spend millions on the engineering of Internet Explorer, and if they want to hand it out with the OS, more power to them. Actually, if they want to throw in Word and Excel too, I'd be happy as a clam.


Honda isn't legally forced to give you the option of a Chevy radio. They give you their standard sound system and if you want to swap it out for something else, that's your choice.


Now, would I suggest using Internet Explorer as your default browser? Absolutely not. Just as I would not use a factory sound system in a car. The reasons are many and range from safety to taste. If you're happy with IE and you keep up on all your Windows security updates, then knock yourself out and use it.


The problem is, people don't know there are options in browsers. If they do, they don't know why there are options, and what those options are. I think Google did a great job of putting together a website to help explain what browsers are and what the popular options are:




It appears to be informative and lacking any bias to Google's own browser (Chrome).


So, Microsoft, feel free to package any free software you want with your operating system, and I'll go ahead and replace anything that sucks on my own.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

RENT opens Friday and goes Viral w/ Video Clip

Once again, RENT at the Players Guild opens this Friday, September 11th! Here is a video of one of the songs taken at our sitzprobe (first rehearsal with the band) this past Sunday:

YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pVXP2P-a3M
Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=126874498257

Please share this video with your friends!

Performances are:

Fri. Sept 11th - 8pm
Sat. Sept 12th - 8pm
Sun. Sept 13th - 2:30pm
Fri. Sept 18th - 8pm
Sat. Sept 19th - 8pm
Sun. Sept 20th - 2:30pm*
Fri. Sept 25th - 8pm*
Sat. Sept 26th - 8pm
Sun. Sept 27th - 2:30pm

*performances that I am playing Roger, otherwise I'm playing Steve

Box Office: (330) 453-7617 (Tues- Sat. 10am-2pm)
or
http://www.playersguildtheatre.com/ticketing/showdates.php?s_id=34

Order today!

http://www.barrydebois.com/

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Leopard, Bloody Leopard

As many of you know, I am an Apple nut and I'm pretty excited about the new OS I ordered, Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6). Because I'm a big nerd, I downloaded the desktop background of the now fairly recognizable snow leopard used in Apple's marketing for my work PC. I noticed, when the image filled my entire large monitor at work, that the leopard had blood spattered around his mouth. I thought, wow, that's pretty ballsy of Apple to use in their marketing. Then I went back to http://www.apple.com/ and saw that the blood was missing. So for the desktop background, they left the bloody maw of the beast in tact, but for the major promotional image, they "photoshopped" out the gore. Understandably, I'd say. It's all the cooler to know, though, that the image they are using to promote Leopard is not only the formidable looking Snow Leopard, but her just after making a bloody kill. Awesome.


See blown up images side by side
See original desktop background





Wednesday, August 19, 2009

RENT


As you've probably heard from me by now in one way or another (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, shouting at you in a bar), I'm in RENT at the Players Guild Theatre! I am playing Steve and understudying Roger.

Performances are:

Fri. Sept 11th - 8pm
Sat. Sept 12th - 8pm
Sun. Sept 13th - 2:30pm
Fri. Sept 18th - 8pm
Sat. Sept 19th - 8pm
Sun. Sept 20th - 2:30pm*
Fri. Sept 25th - 8pm*
Sat. Sept 26th - 8pm
Sun. Sept 27th - 2:30pm

*performances that I am playing Roger

Box Office: (330) 453-7617 (Tues- Sat. 10am-2pm)
or
http://www.playersguildtheatre.com/ticketing/showdates.php?s_id=34


So what can I tell you about this production? Well, it's a spirited and talented cast of people who really GET this show. The messages of love, friendship, and hope in the face of death, pour out from this experienced cast. Some of these songs are really going to blow you away. The band is ROCKIN and air-guitar inducing. The staging is very cool, with a few tips of the hat to the original production, and some inspired new things to see in terms of set design. The set is a big dirty playground of a canvas for the cast to perform on.

Bonus! We're making a cast recording! CD's will be available opening night and at every performance, and what I've heard of the recordings is really fantastic. It was a blast going into the studio with such a talented group of people, under such fine musical direction and production.


If you don't know anything about RENT, here's a synopsis:

Rent is based loosely on Puccini's opera La Bohème. It follows a year in the lives of seven friends living the disappearing Bohemian lifestyle in New York's East Village. AIDS and both its physical and emotional complications pervade the lives of Roger, Mimi, Tom Collins, and Angel; Maureen deals with her chronic infidelity through performance art; her partner, Joanne, wonders if their relationship is worth the trouble; Benjamin has sold out his Bohemian ideals in exchange for a hefty income and is on the outs with his former friends; and Mark, an aspiring filmmaker, feels like an outsider to life in general, always behind the camera recording the events but never playing a part. Rent is easily one of the most touching modern rock musicals ever written.

The musical received accolades such as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Tony Award for Best Musical, Tony Award for Best Book, Tony Award for Best Score, Drama Desk for Outstanding Book and Drama Desk’s Outstanding Musical.


And now I take off my salesman's hat and give you an actual blog post...

If you've never seen RENT, and you've lived in NE Ohio all of your life, expect to be taken just slightly out of your comfort zone. In what ways? RENT dives into a world that is very different from one that we often see in Canton. This, to me, is a beautiful thing. I love the relative safety, quaintness, and home-town feel that I grew up in here, but there are real people, with real lives, that live, love, and survive very differently from us. I think that RENT paints a beautiful, honest picture of a lifestyle that is different from what many of us experience here. So often artists, African Americans, homosexuals, and drug addicts, are portrayed as caricatures that are a wacky sidekick or comic relief. In RENT, they are the real people that the story centers around. The masks are off and the humans are shown on stage. I think it's an important production to bring to Canton, as I am personally passionate about opening people's eyes to a world that is earth-sized, not state, or city, or family sized. It's something I work on in my own head, and encourage others to do the same.

Also, the music ranges from rock to pop-rock to gospel in influence. It's at times jumping, crazy, exciting fun, and at times gut-wrenchingly beautiful.


So what are you waiting for?! Go to the Players Guild website, or call the box office (330-453-7617) to reserve your tickets to this groundbreaking production for North East Ohio.

Friday, May 22, 2009

"Let it enfold you" by Charles Bukowski

This is a poem that struck me; shared by surviving myself, and written by Charles Bukowski

Let it enfold you
by Charles Bukowski

either peace or happiness,
let it enfold you

when i was a young man
I felt these things were
dumb,unsophisticated.
I had bad blood,a twisted
mind, a pecarious
upbringing.

I was hard as granite,I
leered at the
sun.
I trusted no man and
especially no
woman.

I was living a hell in
small rooms, I broke
things, smashed things,
walked through glass,
cursed.
I challenged everything,
was continually being
evicted,jailed,in and
out of fights,in and aout
of my mind.
women were something
to screw and rail
at,i had no male
freinds,

I changed jobs and
cities,I hated holidays,
babies,history,
newspapers, museums,
grandmothers,
marriage, movies,
spiders, garbagemen,
english accents,spain,
france,italy,walnuts and
the color
orange.
algebra angred me,
opera sickened me,
charlie chaplin was a
fake
and flowers were for
pansies.

peace an happiness to me
were signs of
inferiority,
tenants of the weak
an
addled
mind.

but as I went on with
my alley fights,
my suicidal years,
my passage through
any number of
women-it gradually
began to occur to
me
that I wasn't diffrent

from the
others, I was the same,

they were all fulsome
with hatred,
glossed over with petty
greivances,
the men I fought in
alleys had hearts of stone.
everybody was nudging,
inching, cheating for
some insignificant
advantage,
the lie was the
weapon and the
plot was
emptey,
darkness was the
dictator.

cautiously, I allowed
myself to feel good
at times.
I found moments of
peace in cheap
rooms
just staring at the
knobs of some
dresser
or listening to the
rain in the
dark.
the less i needed
the better i
felt.

maybe the other life had worn me
down.
I no longer found
glamour
in topping somebody
in conversation.
or in mounting the
body of some poor
drunken female
whose life had
slipped away into
sorrow.

I could never accept
life as it was,
i could never gobble
down all its
poisons
but there were parts,
tenous magic parts
open for the
asking.

I re formulated
I don't know when,
date,time,all
that
but the change
occured.
something in me
relaxed, smoothed
out.
i no longer had to
prove that i was a
man,

I did'nt have to prove
anything.

I began to see things:
coffe cups lined up
behind a counter in a
cafe.
or a dog walking along
a sidewalk.
or the way the mouse
on my dresser top
stopped there
with its body,
its ears,
its nose,
it was fixed,
a bit of life
caught within itself
and its eyes looked
at me
and they were
beautiful.
then- it was
gone.

I began to feel good,
I began to feel good
in the worst situations
and there were plenty
of those.
like say, the boss
behind his desk,
he is going to have
to fire me.

I've missed too many
days.
he is dressed in a
suit, necktie, glasses,
he says, "i am going
to have to let you go"

"it's all right" i tell
him.

He must do what he
must do, he has a
wife, a house, children.
expenses, most probably
a girlfreind.

I am sorry for him
he is caught.

I walk onto the blazing
sunshine.
the whole day is
mine
temporailiy,
anyhow.

(the whole world is at the
throat of the world,
everybody feels angry,
short-changed, cheated,
everybody is despondent,
dissillusioned)

I welcomed shots of
peace, tattered shards of
happiness.

I embraced that stuff
like the hottest number,
like high heels,breasts,
singing,the
works.

(dont get me wrong,
there is such a thing as cockeyed optimism
that overlooks all
basic problems justr for
the sake of
itself-
this is a sheild and a
sickness.)

The knife got near my
throat again,
I almost turned on the
gas
again
but when the good
moments arrived
again
I did'nt fight them off
like an alley
adversary.
I let them take me,
i luxuriated in them,
I bade them welcome
home.
I even looked into
the mirror
once having thought
myself to be
ugly,
I now liked what
I saw,almost
handsome,yes,
a bit ripped and
ragged,
scares,lumps,
odd turns,
but all in all,
not too bad,
almost handsome,
better at least than
some of those movie
star faces
like the cheeks of
a babys
butt.

and finally I discovered
real feelings fo
others,
unhearleded,
like latley,
like this morning,
as I was leaving,
for the track,
i saw my wif in bed,
just the
shape of
her head there
(not forgetting
centuries of the living
and the dead and
the dying,
the pyarimids,
Mozart dead
but his music still
there in the
room, weeds growing,
the earth turning,
the toteboard waiting for
me)
I saw the shape of my
wife's head,
she so still,
i ached for her life,
just being there
under the
covers.

i kissed her in the,
forehead,
got down the stairway,
got outside,
got into my marvelous
car,
fixed the seatbelt,
backed out the
drive.
feeling warm to
the fingertips,
down to my
foot on the gas
pedal,
I entered the world
once
more,
drove down the
hill
past the houses
full and emptey
of
people,
i saw the mailman,
honked,
he waved
back
at me.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lost




Lost,
I love you,
I want to watch you all day,
I can not because of life obligations,
I want to buy you a shamrock shake,
I want to hold your little hand,
I want to kiss you all over,
Lost,
I never want to be found.
Tomato.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hairspray (the movie) Review (very, very late)

Allow me to list my grievances and a few good points...

1) Rampant and careless use of Auto-Tune (pitch correction). The soundtrack sounds like Cher's "Believe" and Lil Wayne had a digital, useless baby. It's horrible and would be completely unnecessary if they cast people who can actually f*cking sing. Pitch correction should be used for tweaking a great take with a small flaw, not re-pitching an entire song. grrrrrrrrrrrr

2) Zac Efron (Link). Zac Efron is very good looking and can carry a tune. If that is all the casting criteria for the lead guy in a major movie musical, then he's fine. But it should definitely, definitely not be. There are thousands of more talented kids who should have been cast before him. Also, see grievance #1

3) Amanda Bynes (Penny). Amanda Bynes is cute and has a decent look for the part of Penny. Unfortunately, her comedic timing has not improved much since "All That" and she completely bombed some potentially funny moments. Also, Penny has one of my favorite singing parts in the Broadway cast recording and Amanda crapped all over it. (Incidentally, it's "...and I'm nye-va go-in back". Love it.) See grievance #1.

4) Queen La(f*ckin)tifah (Motormouth Maybelle). Why. WHY?!!!! If a small community theatre was doing Hairspray and they only knew one large black woman and she was The-tifah, then fine. Maybe. But it's the G-damn MOVIE! Find someone, anyone, who can sing! Cast a skinny black woman that can sing! Cast John Travolta in drag and blackface! Motormouth Maybelle needs to be f*cking fierce and own her songs. The-tifah is not and did not. She flubbed a fierce part in Dreamgirls and now she's done it again. See grievance #1.

5) Multiple cut songs. Why?

6) Elijah Kelley (Seaweed). I assume that in real life, this guy could probably sing circles around most of the people in the cast. So why oh why did they digitally alter the shit out of his songs? Otherwise he danced his ass off, and acted it well enough. One thumbs up. And one of the best leads in the movie.

7) Brittany Snow (Amber). She was fine at what she did, but that's because they cut out songs she should have sang that I assume she couldn't.

8) John Travolta (Edna Turnblad). Honestly, this was not the worst casting decision of the movie in my opinion. I am not married to the idea of Harvey Fierstein as Edna. Do I think Harvey should have been Edna in the movie? Probably. Do I think that what they tried to do with Travolta failed? Miserably. But, I honestly kind of liked what they were trying to do. Also, it was ironic when Travolta tells Tracy not to kiss one of those "crooners" which is the role he would have played had this musical been made 30 years earlier. Still, it should not have gotten past screen testing. Also, I was waiting for Travolta to wail on some songs, and instead he sounded like he was quietly singing in a little studio while you could see him dancing all over the stage. Basically, whoever was in charge of all the vocal recordings for this movie should be dragged through the streets. And I mean that in a loving way. The way they turned inspiring and heart-pumping anthems into lethargic snoozers was nothing short of miraculous.

9) Christopher Walken (Wilbur). He was great. I wonder if I would have liked him as much had the rest of the cast been better, but he was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise mediocre cast. He was the only star that was cast because of his name that actually delivered.

10) James Marsden (Corny Collins). I take that back. James was great too. I don't know if more could have been done with the role, but I thought he was pretty solid.

11) Michelle Pfeiffer (Velma Von Tussle). Blah. Not terrible. Not great. See grievance #1.

12) Taylor Parks (Little Inez). Awesome. Kudos.

13) The dancing in the movie was pretty great. There were moments where the cast was dancing in the street that it started to look like an old-fashioned, take-us-or-leave-us, we're not going to apologize for being a musical with people breaking into song and dance, kind of musical. This is an element that most new movie musicals lack. They tend to make excuses for arguably random "musical" moments where a character, or a group of people bust out into dance or song. For the most part, this movie was fearlessly a musical, and I respect that a lot. I do think that Link should have been cast with someone who is almost as good a dancer as Seaweed, but not in the same style. Efron is not that.

14) Nikki Blonsky (Tracy). She was pretty good. I kind of get the very deliberate choice to strip "Tracy" of her character voice, but I missed that voice. I think it added a lot to the show, and was just one more thing about the movie soundtrack that was less exciting than the Broadway version.

Agree or disagree? Let's hear it...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My101.7 Radio Co-Host




Hey everyone! I just wanted to give the heads up that I'm co-hosting again on the My101.7 morning show with Gary Rivers and Amy Malone this coming Monday, February 2nd from 7am to 9am.

I'll be shooting the proverbial breeze, and also promoting West Side Story at Cassidy Theatre, February 27th - March 15th. Details at www.barrydebois.com or www.cassidytheatre.com

Tune in on Monday morning!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Living Alone

I'm pretty sure that it's a common thing for people that live alone to talk to themselves. I've heard that it happens, and I've realized that I do it myself. It's just thinking outloud. I don't know why I do it, but I'm often afraid a camera is on me and someone is watching me look like a raving lunatic. Today I came to the realization that if I were on a desert island for something like 2 years (maybe less) I would definitely end up talking to myself all the time. And then I realized I made that realization outloud.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Elizabeth

Candy striped through summer shows
Her purple corset streaming
While meadow flows o'er soft skin glows
Her ruby lips are beaming

Her thoughts a-gambol frolicking
May lost in summer be
But dare not break her blissful spell
Her smile of ivory

A sad moss creeps and crawls her trunk
It burns and breaks her bark
So while she blithely disregards
May you leave no remark

In due time she will leave the dews
That glaze the baby's breath
For now let smile be all there is
For fair Elizabeth