Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Man Who Couldn't Cry

The Musical History Event Tragic-Dramedy
(not to be confused with 'The View Upstairs' or 'The Boys Upstairs' or 'Upstairs Upstairs with Views of Boys' which may or may not exist)

Pride Arts Theater, CHICAGO - The red door opened unleashing a plume of white smoke directly at
Wayne Kupferer's chest, while fog danced and lapped at his feet.

“Just like that. You have to hold the smaller fog machine level if you want it to really blast.” I said turning to our production assistant Rico.

Upstairs the Musical was just days from opening and we had to get the backdraft effect just right. After all, the play is about a gay bar fire in 1973 New Orleans in which 32 people lost their lives. They never caught, nor did the cops try to catch the arsonist.

Throughout this production I’ve alternately felt like both Ship Captain and Oswaldesque Patsy. I reckon it’s on account of this being the first play I didn’t write or take part in writing. Also it’s my first Musical. A Rock Opera , really. Bursting at the seams with 16 songs. Luckily there has been an incredible support staff in place around me; Stage Manager Kirby Gibson, Technical Director Wayne Kupferer, Choreographer Joshua Heinlein, a savvy Producer/Set Designer/Costume Getter Gary Trick, and Byron Allen; an ex Circus performer who traveled with Barnum and Bailey Circus. Even got Dan McKearnan of Bloody Haymarket fame out of retirement for this one. Dan’s the dude who used to smack the lighting console at the Irish American Heritage Center to get the Leko stage lamps to come on.

I remember sitting with Nick Arceo, who plays George the piano player and devising what needed to be judicially cut. The songs were all too long and the last three songs in a row seemed a slow drag to the finish line. Speed up the tempo I knew, but other words like vamp and Libretto were picked up along the way.

We had been fighting a running war since the beginning of this thing, like Native-American taking pot shots at the U.S. Calvary from trees. We had had a devil of a time getting Upstairs fully cast, Wayne Self’s hastily assembled script was the hybrid of 2 previous versions, and we lost the LED lights for 2 days in TECH WEEK until Manny found the wire hanging from the grid. And having a Theater Manager, David ‘slumlord’ Zak, working against us didn’t help the situation.

Opening night came, the house more than half full, and the show went off better than any of us expected. The thought was murmured that we might have a hit play on our hands. A big play about big people. Titans really, who refused to live in fear. Here is Buddy the bartender with his boyfriend Adam.

Right out the gate we got 2 positive reviews...

Then came the cynics, the loveless, the doomed. 
Two sour grapes tried to derail our play and murder the Upstairs Lounge’s victims a second time, in addition to massacring 8 actors, 4 musicians, and 5 crew members in the process.

But then again, what do the critics know...

So here we stand on a precipice of mixed reviews and lack-luster ticket sales and the show is supposed to run until November 26th . You want a call to action? Here it is; come see the show. Show plays at 4139 N. Broadway, Friday & Saturday at 7:30, Sunday matinee at 2pm. Tell your friends to see the show. Even tell your grandma to see the show (there’s one simulated blowjob scene but I’m pretty sure she can handle it).

This is do or die, folks.

And I swear to god, if my worst ideas come true, then the next play will be about a critic. A nasty little fucker who, with a few glib paragraphs, destroys a production; months and months of hard work. To wipe away all the blood, sweat, and tears with a couple strokes of a keyboard. In a fit of Jealousy and sexually repression. In the final scene the destitute Director, with his last few dollars, buys a gallon of gasoline, finds where this custodian of culture lives, and burns the shit-heads house to the ground. Then launches a Broadway hit based on the story. Because, the story behind the story is always more interesting than the story.

All Legs to be Broken.

Copy and distribute worldwide....

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Shooooow!

Special Thanks to Sal, Manny, Pam, Max Worthington, Tristian Moffat, Jak Frost, Michael Ian Sachs, Erin the Belly Dancer, Tammy, Gavin, John, Jake, Bill, Anthony, Michelle, David, Ricky, Seamus O'Blivion, and all the people who showed up!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Election Results

3rd Place in a 5 way race! 
Not Bad. Last time I came in 5th in a 4 way race...

I want to thank all those friends, jesters, anarchists, artists, and punk rockers who made this campaign/fever dream a reality! 
I owe you a drink!!!

There’s a look that every good friend of yours knows you by. A look that you’ve never actually seen yourself, except for on rare occasion when a window reflection catches you off guard while walking home in the middle of the night. This is the face caricaturists strive for. The face that reveals a person’s true character. Something as subtle as Mona Lisa’s smirk or as arresting as Edvard Munch’s The Scream. For Steve Aspel, this is that face.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words but in Aspel’s case the picture is worth roughly a thousand votes. Here is Steve Aspel slouching in his trademark Hawaiian shirt, with the stoic grimace of a Captain on a sinking ship, clutching at his White Russian as if it were a life preserver. The first wave of results trickled in at 8:15pm and showed the incumbent trailing by only 2.8%, well within the margin of error. There was nothing for a long anxious while. Then, at one minute to midnight, his worst fears were confirmed in a pounding Mayoral defeat and torpedoing of the Public-Private Partner Ship.  No runoff election. No Pier-Mall project. No second term.  No staying any later at the Grand Gala. The electorate had spoken and Steve Aspel was to be given a Lyft home in a political pumpkin.

This wasn’t the way it was supposed to happen. The Police and Fire Unions were in his pocket, or he was in theirs. Steve was well-liked. To his friends, of which he had many, Steve will in some way always be ‘the Mayor’ but not in any official capacity, not anymore. He pushed too hard for a mall and the people pushed back. He got on the wrong side of this Pier-Mall thing. The background in this picture speaks of a Victorian Era. A time when political machines ran the country. A time long forgotten. And too, the Mayor won’t be remembered for all his hard work addressing the pressing concerns of Redondo’s residents. Everything from clearing felled trees to filling pot holes. The ex-Insurance Salesman will be remembered for one thing; a disastrous deal with Centercal to build a giant mall, the size of five Wal-Marts, on the Redondo Beach Pier. It was to be his legacy. In some strange inverted Nixon talk, critics of the Centercal project were called ‘the vocal minority’. This assumption would prove wrong. Rumor has it he took out a twenty-thousand dollar loan for his campaign. Word on the street is he owes money to the IRS. Cornered animals will do just about anything.

On occasions I had seen Steve at a political mixer and, coming in from behind, would bump into him rather forcefully. He would spin around with feigned shock and I would say something like, ‘Oh, hey! Steve! Didn’t see you there!’ Moreover, I toilet papered his house when I was like fifteen years old. He was a good sport. A rough and tumbler who always had a good comeback. I like Steve Aspel. City Council meetings won’t be the same without his towering presence. I shall remember Steve Aspel, and no, he was not a crook. Just a bit misguided. Then again, so was Nixon.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

PIER AID - 3/6/2017

A Message From Seamus O'Blivion, Campaign Manager:

Greetings Pier Aid People!

Trying to catch my breath after last night. 

Believe it or not, after an incredible show from the BEST OG South Bay folks and those that traveled from Far Away Places to support us and save our Pier from getting Mauled, [with] our host and only hope for mayor, candidate Eric J. Coleman- certified anarchist antagonist, pain in the ass madman.

I want to thank him, Ken Thun, Jake and Chelsea Todesco and The Boogie first for making this fever dream a reality. Two months in the planning, without you, it wouldn't have happened.

I also must thank fellow mayoral candidate Michael Ian Sachs, his amazing band Jak Frost, Culo, Carpit, Supersession, Public Nuisance for coming all the way from Santa Clarita, Neckbreaker, the always explosive STD'S and Black Lagoon for top shelf MUSIC THAT MATTERS...

You blessed our beloved pier with your music, love, frustration and dedication and I will
never be able to thank you enough.

Must also thank the local Classic Rock Pier Rats that showed up to support OUR FUCKING PIER.

Today, it all comes down to the polls.

Every vote might count.

Elections are suspect devices.

But we came together, multiple tribes, united to save ourselves from the Devil that is Centercal.

I thank you all again from the bottom of my blackened heart for the collective battle cry...


Stay tuned.
And fucking VOTE!!!!

A Message From Ken Thun, PIER AID Point Man:

To all the people behind PIER AID: Eric J. Coleman, Seamus O'Blivion, Chelsea Tedesco, Jake Tedesco, Robert Fabio, Mike Fanthorpe and most importantly Antigone Tiggy Swallow. I love you all. I got the bands but you all did the work, thankful to have you in my life!

A Message From Eric J. Coleman, Mayoral Candidate:



From The Easy Reader News

Join us in a Measure C Victory celebration - Sunday April 23rd for 
PIER AID II: There Will Be Pier! 
@ The Boogie

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Battle of Redondo: Punk Power in the South Bay

The Rent Coaster 9000 

WIDE ANGLE (same take)

Redondo's 2nd Mayoral Debate: FULL VERSION

footnote: The Coleman Administration has decided to scrap the Homeless Cannibalization Initiative; instead opting to remedy this homelessness epidemic by offering the mentally deficient jobs in City Hall. They would fit in quite nicely there. 


Hunter S. Coleman on the Marijuana Moratorium 

City Council Meeting 2/21/2017 . 
Made the papers. The cursing that is... 
What Happened To You Redondo?
Meet me in the parking lot for an attitude adjustment. 
Especially you stodgies
We have a chicken to smoke.
Anyone have a light?
Hunter S. Thompson ran for Sheriff of Aspen in 1969
One of his platforms was to rename Aspen 'Fat Head City'
In an effort to deter land developers.

'The Battle of Aspen' links:

Next, here are clips from a Candidate Forum held 2/18/2017 at United Methodist Church, put on by the League of Women Voters. The League had plans to video these debates but then came along the bad apples. Four candidates objected to the debates being filmed. OneView InRedondo put it like this, "... makes ya wonder why, doesn’t it? Runnin’ for office and you don’t want a video of your performance? You don’t want folks hearin’ what you have to say ‘specially those who couldn’t make it?" Word on the street is that Doug Rodriguez, John Gran, and Martha Barbee are the toadies responsible for this coup. Evidently, it's also a secret who wanted to keep the meeting secret (real P.A.T.R.I.O.T. A.C.T. crap). If this is true then these despicable wolves masquerading as kindly shepherds have proven their utter contempt for democracy and ought to be banished from Redondo, indefinitely. I'm sure there are plenty of caves on Catalina Island that would make for a lovely home.

Vote No on Pat Aust!

This is a Clip from another forum where the Pro Over-Development Candidates didn't even bother to show up...

There Will Be Pier!!!

And let us not forget about a Mediterranean Beach for a Truly Round Redondo...

Forget the children for once, what about us?


Dear Eric, 

Here is my drawing of the pier. I would just like to say I really respect what you're doing.  When I heard there were developers trying to renovate or destroy the pier it broke my heart. There's a certain charm and character to the Redondo Pier, and any major mall or development would ruin that.

Best of luck, 

- Stephen Pagan