There was a time when I lived in northern New Jersey that ESPN was an institution in my apartment. I lived with three friends from college (1 accountant, 1 marketing/sales, 1 pre-law and me, I was, we’ll say an actor slash vagabond at the time- I slept in the living room). We would however gather in the morning before everyone went to work and at night before bed to watch Sportscenter.

This was the era of Keith Olberman and Dan Patrick, Stuart Scott and Chris “Boomer” Bergman. Hip Hop was still in its early twenties and it was a treat the way it was gently sprinkled int he speech and catch phrases of the show. We laughed as Stuart Scott made a reference to Wu Tang or Dan Patrick name checked Puff Daddy.

It was a loose show, full of energy and love for the one thing we shared: the competition of sport. I don’t live in my friends’ living room anymore. I actually get paid, instead, to come in and speak to colleges ad a recent trip to Ohio left me in a hotel with television and for the first time in a long while i went to ESPN. I’ve watched it here and there over the years but always in the background.

First Take, one of the more irritating shows was on and there i watched for an hour as Skip Bayless and Stephen Smith argued on the points of the day (should Aldon Smith be punished for stating he had a bomb at the airport? should the Heat be worried?) Their responses were comical exercises in rhetorical speech. Simple declarative sentences (“Aldon Smith should be suspended”) were stretched for 5 minutes a piece to give the illusion of debate and furthermore content. The show is set up as competition. Discourse as sport. Perhaps it is the changing zeitgeist of the times, an era we live in where school embarrassments and fistfights are broadcast on World Star Hip Hop.com, where political pundits spar their points more than discuss or debate… I found myself watching a sports show without love. The pundits wanted to believe they were the athletes we love watching, that the illusion of competition is what pulls at our hunger strings.

I listened to Colin Cowherd- an ESPN talking head- on the radio a few days earlier. ESPN radio being a behemoth growing across the country- even into my Iowa locale- the one Sports Radio station with a clear signal. Cowherd was speaking to us, his audience:

“Don’t complain that we talk about Tebow too much,” he said. “We’re a business and we have metrics and we know when we speak what you want to hear and when we mention Tebow those little arrows go up and so that’s what we are going to cover.”

It was a company man giving the company line. We are a business and we know what you want. I missed DP and Olberman in that moment, I desperately wanted to hear Stuart Scott drop a Biggie Smalls lyric. “I love it when you call me Big Papi” might not have made the metric arrow move but it made me smile, it made me feel at home. This I miss.

THESE HOPELESS SAVAGES

March 24, 2014

Over the Summer I was lucky enough to take a screenplay written by myself and Matt Dellapina and have the opportunity to direct it with the estimable Kaitlyn Busbee. We gathered a great cast of theater and film vets including Mackenzie Meehan (who you may have seen in Scorcese’s WOLF OF WALL STREET this Winter). It will open at the Mission Creek Festival in two weeks next to live performances by Laurie Anderson , Philip Glass, Of Montreal, the comedian Hannibal Burress… I’m proud. I can say that much. Here’s a taste:

DIY- a tale from the LastOnePicked

18.03.2014

I almost didn’t get into grad school. I was wait listed at Iowa. Rutgers acting problem took back their offer to me that they’d already made when I told them I wanted to wait a little bit to see what I heard from other programs. I remember the time. I was living with a girlfriend [...]

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SHOTS FIRED: Is hope the crutch of the American Theater?

10.03.2014

1. My wife is teaching Waiting for Godot. This is at a community college. Her students are from all over the map- they usually have a lot more going in life than their elective classes- so their commitment can be variable. But they love Waiting for Godot. Not a lot of the other plays being [...]

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Horizontal Living

15.02.2014

I had a meeting yesterday with Megan Gogerty a wonderful playwright and friend in the neighborhood. She had come back from the Kendeda Anniversary banquet at Alliance Theatre (a weird confluence, I was in Atlanta the same week performing DOGS OF RWANDA at Horizon while also working on an NNPN Commission). We talked a lot [...]

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Those State School Kids

13.01.2014

I went to Suny-Binghamton. It now calls itself Binghamton University. Because Binghamton University sounds like poor kids don’t go to it. Whereas Suny anything sound slike a ragtag mix of kids from Queens and Fredonia and keggers and… When we were in acting classes we were often told how we were going to have a [...]

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The International

26.12.2013

I’ve been back in the States for three days. It’s insane- a week ago I was performing KILLADELPHIA at the Universitat del Teatre in Barcelona. It was received so well- despite language barriers- a really moving event. I finished my collaboration with La Pell Teatre of Spain, Barracuda Carmella of Bogota Colombia and Jump Current [...]

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Made Ya Look

18.12.2013

Nas- “Made You Look” from Benny Boom on Vimeo. It’s happening in a basement in Virginia In a tenement in the Bronx It’s happening down the street from the people complaining it’s not happening at all It’s happening under their noses and they can’t smell it cause it’s so fresh. It’s so pure. It’s so [...]

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Barcelona Week One

14.12.2013

On Wednesday I was invited by Francesc Casadesus, the Artistic Director of Mercat De Les Flores in Barcelona to come see the latest show they are presenting. “Obres” by Baro’Evel Cirk Cie. Amazing.

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Day 1: in the room

10.12.2013

We arrive at the Institut Del Teatro de Barcelona at 2pm. Anna Estrada, the director of the school, sets us up in a room and we start to go. We are a group of six today- Me, Jenn and Martin from Working Group. Anna- who on tp of being director of the school is also [...]

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