Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite

Friday, November 4, 2016

My Favorite Social Distortion Moment


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Sharing a moment the personal archives 

Many moments of my youth revolved around entertainment, but only a few of those moments stand out as exceptions, this is one of them and it involves Mike Ness (of Social Distortion).


social distortion

Think back to the mid-90s
It was December of 1996, Social Distortion was touring in support of their album, White Light, White Heat, White Trash, and I was excited (and nervous) to see them play at The Vic. I had been a fan for a number of years but I am pretty sure this was my first Social Distortion concert. I was going with my boyfriend at the time, who was acquainted with the band and that was the part that made me nervous.

Young and Impressionable Leyla circa 1996

To set the scene a little more... 
My boyfriend at the time, Joe, was 11+ years old than me (I was 24, young and impressionable, he was 35, big and old). Joe ran the nightclub Crobar in Chicago, and in 1996 Crobar was in it's heydey, we were experiencing the Rodman years - a story in itself - but all you need to know for this story was that the club was well known. Previous to Crobar, Joe had a long history in the bar industry, most notably as the manager of the original Exit on Wells Street. I was too young to go to Exit on Wells, but in high school I remember being in love with the idea that women could drink for free so long as they were handcuffed to the bar. 

Whereas Exit was the kind of bar where Mike Ness might hang out, Crobar most certainly was not. However, Mike Ness who is about the same age as Joe, happened to be friendly with him who happened to run Crobar. Why am I telling you all this as part of a Social Distortion story? It's important, that is why, keep reading. 


Mike Ness moment 
If you've ever seen Social Distortion, you know that Mike Ness has a stage presence that can be perceived as intimidating. He is probably a perfectly nice man, but not the kind of man you want to offend, especially not when you're at his show standing in the audience. 

Mike Ness of Social Distortion on stage
Mike Ness on Stage taken from Social Distortion's FB page

That night in December of 1996, I was standing in the back with Joe watching the show, he's 6'5" so he can see from anywhere. In between songs, Mike Ness stops to chat with the audience and the urge must've struck him to give a "shout out" to his friend in the audience, his friend from Crobar - and he literally said hello to "friends from Crobar". To any Social Distortion fan, it would seem odd that Mike Ness would mention Crobar the dance club, but most would keep their mouths shut. But not that night, and not the guy up at the front of the stage, he didn't keep his mouth shut, instead he yelled back at the stage, looked right at Mike Ness and shouted "Fuck Crobar!!" There was a brief pause and then Mike Ness stopped, he looked down at the brave little fellow, pointed at him and said (or roared) back, "Fuck Crobar? FUCK YOU!

I turned to Joe and Joe turned to me, and our faces were the same - shocked. Our eyes were bulging and we both started laughing. 

I don't remember much more about that night (or most of the 90s) but I do remember that moment, my Mike Ness moment. 





Monday, October 31, 2016

A Trip to the Goodman Theatre - New Stages Festival


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My trip to the Goodman Theatre -- rehearsal for Amy & The Orphans during the New Stages Festival last month.

I was recently invited to attend a rehearsal for one of the New Stages productions - Amy and The Orphans. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to catch a behind-the-scenes look. 


Amy and the Orphans rehearsal at Goodman Theatre


New Stages - an incubator for up-and-coming plays 

Founded in 2004, New Stages at the Goodman offers a first-look at fresh new plays. The festival celebrates discovery and encourages playwrights to take risks while developing new works. Audiences can see these works in a developmental production or staged reading - and it’s free! Many New Stages productions (like The Magic Play which opens November 1st) go on to become full productions at The Goodman and elsewhere.

Written by Lindsey Ferrentino and directed by Scott Ellis, Amy and The Orphans is a story about estranged siblings who reconnect after their father’s death. Emotional revelations uncover decisions made for Amy, a younger sister with down syndrome. The older siblings must face these harsh realities and make uncomfortable choices of their own. 

Amy and the Orphans was portrayed by local actors, with the exception of “Amy”.  Jamie Brewer (from American Horror Story) read the part of “Amy”. A treat for me - because I am an AHS fan. 



See here for the full PopSugar article 
What Jamie Brewer had to say about Amy and the Orphans


Rehearsing a staged reading 

The play was presented as a “staged reading”. What is a staged reading, you ask? Good question, I looked it up so you don’t have to... 

Stage reading is a form of theatre without sets or full costumes. The actors, who read from scripts, may be seated, stand in fixed positions, or incorporate minimal stage movement. ... A narrator may read stage directions aloud.

The actors stood on one side of a brightly lit room, while the director, playwright and others were seated at a long table on the opposite side of the room. There was a lot of reading, taking of notes, direction, rehearsing and re-rehearsing of lines. 


Director Scott Ellis - Playwright Lindsey Ferrentino
Director Scott Ellis & Playwright Lindsey Ferrentino


It was great to watch a rehearsal of a play in the very early stages of production. Sending a big thank you to the Goodman Theatre for the invitation and the experience.

The reading flowed well for the first 30 minutes of the rehearsal. We progressed from one scene to the next smoothly, until we hit a little roadblock. 

I’m not sure why I’m including myself in the rehearsal - I had no part in the “we” -- it was more like “they" - and not at all "we"! 

The roadblock appeared at what seemed to be a turning point in the story. The director pointed out a few wrinkles and asked the actors to consider the emotion behind that particular moment in time. They went on to discuss the feelings, insights and perspectives of the characters. Witnessing the collaboration between the actors, director and writer was highly interesting to me.  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

If You're Anything Like Me...


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If you're anything like me... Your motto in life is "Don't be a Duck Face!"


If you're like me, you refrain from divulging your true self because you don't want to be misunderstood. And, if you abstain from real communication due to an irrational fear of being compared to "Duck Face"- than you're exactly like me!





The Quintessential Duck Face Speech


Duck Face? Who is Duck Face? 
No, not the duck face all the 13-30 year olds make these days when taking selfies. I mean the crazy ex-girlfriend from Four Weddings And A Funeral - you remember Duck Face?! She was the one who popped up everywhere bragging about her awesome new life her to her ex, Hugh Grant. Then she broke down and said something passive aggressive - or usually worse. 

Every time I feel the urge to give an ex-boyfriend advice on a lifestyle choice, I remind myself of Duck Face. And immediately pull myself together. The scene above is my favorite of them all. The quintessential Duck Face ex-boyfriend speech. 

Duck Face tells Hugh Grant's character that she's been talking to a bunch of people about his life choices and that "everyone agrees..." How many times has someone said that to you? "You know Leyla, I've taken a quick poll and 'we' are all a bit concerned about you." The old strength-in-numbers tactic, oft used to diminish someone's self-esteem to the point where they just might give into your pathetic demands. 

Don't be a Duck Face
You remember what happens to Duck Face in the movie, right? It's not good, in fact, it's terrible. It almost makes you LIKE Duck Face... but it's a great reminder why NOT to be a Duck Face! 


Duck Face at the alter - Four Weddings And a Funeral
Duck Face's Wedding Day
Four Weddings And A Funeral

If You're Anything Like Me...
You're more like Fiona. You may not get the guy, but you look fantastic and you're cool as shit. Oh, and, you're a bit of an asshole.... because you're the one who coined your best friend's ex-girlfriend Duck Face! Wait, you must be awesome! 


Fiona floppy hat cigarette Four Weddings
Fiona and Charles
Four Weddings And A Funeral

And sometimes you disguise yourself behind a veil of sarcasm because words aren't easy.... and feelings are even harder. Oh, Fiona! All these years of therapy and you're still standing there with your back against the wall.

Fiona professes her love to Charles - Four Weddings and a Funeral
 Fiona professes her love to Charles
Four Weddings And A Funeral


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