Baker Artist Awards

As I was finishing up “B-Side Man” I realized (after getting the continuous updates from Greater Baltimore Arts Council) that I STILL had the opportunity to apply for a Baker Award. So, as a grade school teacher once mentioned to me, I “hustled my bustle” getting the play completed. Not only that I recorded the whole play (about 50 minutes). Since there’s only 1 character, and that character’s named Alonzo—-I had a little familiarity. Wink-Wink. But getting it all “out” was a labor of love. Which program? How do I correct my goofs? Oyyyyyyy! I finally went with MAC’s “Garage Band” and let the ship sail. If you go to the Baker Artist Awards page, click the BROWSE NOMINATIONS link and enter my name. Now, to the right you’ll see all sorts of “reels” which identify nothing, but if you click one some videos (that have already been posted in here) show up. Several “Zulu Fits” vids for sure. There’s also the written “B-Side” script, and the “musical note” has the recorded script.


Honestly, I’m just happy to have finished it all. Reading the play out loud let me know that, while this is not the final draft by any means, it’s still in design and storytelling the play I had in my head. And storytelling it is indeed. I will need a capable actor to pull this off. But I think once someone can commit to the effort (it’s a complete monologue), the rewards will be massive. It’s definitely got some Spaulding Gray and a bit of Anna Deveare Smith. As you may recall, “B-Side Man explores my adventure into erotic dancing in Iowa City, Iowa. It’s not ALL the play is about, by any stretch, but it’s in there, ladies and gents.

Me & Iowa

So that’s the news. Not all of it. There’s something floating around about “Zulu Fits,” but as they say, “that’s not something I can confirm or deny at this point”. We’re all just so press saavy these days, ain’t we.

Our boss at the Welch Library, Nancy Roderer, retired this past week. Before I started being the Communication Specialist I rarely had the occasion to speak with Nancy. But after I started working in the “CommComm” capacity, she became a very dear colleague. She was very supportive, and allowed me to pop in with ideas and suggestions. We communicated in such easy ways, always heavy on the informality. So I’ll miss her to be sure. Here’s a Retirement Video I made, with much assistance from some of my co-workers. And with my new Video Editor, Erin Gleeson—who did ALL the heavy lifting and brought magic and patience to the project. Hope you enjoy. We tried to capture the mood.


Baker Awards & East Side Recap

Hello, it feels like ages. I FINALLY finished “B-Side Man” and submitted it to the Baker Artists Award. Put in my name and there I be! Feel free to stop by and leave a comment or two. There’s a WP copy of the script along with an audio recording done by ALONZO. The script was short enough (51-55 minutes) to read, and I just took that much-acclaimed “what the hell” approach. It’s less a traditional script, and more traditional storytelling. Since it’s wound up having Charles as a focal point, maybe it’s the thing you have to expel from your system before you move on. But I also felt the story itself had larger themes.

You ‘pect me to relay what them larger themes are? Nope, put in my name and go to the Baker link. It’s up there somewheres.

I was also happy to see that PROJECT GADO put in a recap for “East Side Story” from waaaaaaaa back in November. I believe they very nicely recapture the evening in stages. Performance, Comments and ‘Freshments.  What oh what will 20123 bring? Something tells me there’s adventure and revelations to be had. But since I just read Kirk Douglas’ book about the making of “Spartacus” and re-saw the movie within the last week, I have to mention the MUSIC by Alex North which is so incredibly lovely.

Love to anyone who stops by here.



“B-Side Man” – 2013 Update & New Excerpt / KAPOW-WOW

So I’m ringing in 2013 by finishing up “B’Side Man”. It’s been a labor of love and more. You never know what you’ll uncover when you’re writing about your life. I ended up writing about Charles (and his passing) and I was surprised that I took that turn. But, the play is the detailed journey of an artistic and boy-to-man experience. Or, perhaps it’s more “man-to-boy”. I’m trying to document, or chronicle if you will, how I developed as a Playwright from Vermont till present day. But with emotional stops along the way. Awhile ago I included an excerpt. Here’s another:

“So there I was, back in Baltimore.  Back to the basement. Still waiting on the world to come my way.


One day I  followed this girl home, she was outta-bounds, but so was I. And there you go. I got involved with a neighborhood girl, 20 some years younger. We had a child. I didn’t want a child. I wanted some playwriting swag. I was 35,  baby-free, marry-free—-couldn’t tell me nuthin. I’d been out on the road. ENJOYING MYSELF. ENJOYING. MYSELF. I got some praise, some compliments, sex— “this is the rightful order”. I’d spent too much time pouring over pages, pouring over scripts—-sitting alone in the dark too long not to make merry. This was my moment,  I EARNED ME THIS MA-FUCKA! But no. I hadda became a father. Zap-Diggity, I became a Daddy. Did the same backpedal most unmarried men take—


“Sheeeee, I got a life TAH lead,  plays TAH write, awards TAH win and fame TAH GET—-betta get on way from me with that baby mess.


I had a son. Thought Playwriting was over. Suddenly baby/momma drama was my whole world. You never know how much STRUCTURE you got till CHAOS comes a calling. She was living at home, I WAS LIVING AT HOME—-get on way from me with that BABYSITTING mess—can’t you see I’m a roadrunner.  Yeahhhhhhhhhh, I was a Raw Dog.  Fate would have it, I landed a college teaching job. Taught in African-American Studies. This was when African-American Studies still had that………..smarty-smart CACHET. So I’m making bucks but I got a son with serious ADHD or something everybody thought was ADHD and a mother acting like she got the same. Had a play being done in Los Angeles, and a TV producer thought I had one-liner potential. She thought my east coast funny would transfer to west coast HAHA. Offered me a job on a top-10 TV show.  Hollywood needed me.  REGULAR LIFE? I was now an escapee from regular life. I was a Shawshank Redemptee from regular life! I was crawling through human waste, and landing in elysian fields. REGULAR LIFE?! “HAHA! SEEYA! And don’t let the door hit’ja! And Oh-by-the-way everybody can KISS—-MY—-BLACK—-ASS”

(Turns ‘serious’ & now speaks in hushed tones)

I didn’t last a whole season in Hollywood. I was 35. A dinosaur. I didn’t smooze. Didn’t talk funny. Self-Reflection ain’t got no goddamn business in Hollywood. I didn’t have that bend-over-and-spread-‘em attitude you need to work in TV. Folks in the business don’t even need lube. I was let go. I was back to Baltimore………

(Turns more serious)

And then……….that’s when life all started to hurt. It all caught up with me. My two worlds life came to a stop. Somewhere along the line, Gravity waylaid my ass. You know the deal.  We stay the same person, we just gain 100 pounds of “shit happens”. Maybe we earn it, maybe we don’t. That 100 pounds changes appearance, alters personality—and before you know it,  that 100 pounds is wrapped round your ankles like mob-boss cement. That 100 pounds is a meteor so wide you can’t peek round the corner to see where it ends.  You can’t skip out the way. You can’t duck out the way. You can’t catch it—that 100 pounds done caught and passed you! I was now my little man’s Daddy, and suddenly half my conversation was fulla references to ANIMATED CHARACTERS. The Wonderful World of DISNEY had corralled, and put a Ranch Brand on my ass. I even started eyeballing “The Little Mermaid” in a wrongful manner. Half of me drove around town looking for something naughty, while the other half had a backseat fulla McDonald’s Kiddie Cups from “Aladdin” listening to Celine and Peebo sing “Beauty and the Beast,”—-tears raining down my cheeks.


There was no way round it, despite my best efforts I was now the fuckin ADULT IN CHARGE. I could see it in my mother and father’s eyes. They’d gone as far as they could—-if you’ve seen your mom and pop try to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for the umpteenth time, and struggle with food prep—you know it’s time to seize the day. See, truth is—your family don’t care how REMOVED you been, cause now YOU the one seems to be AROUND. YOU became the go-to-guy cause chances are nobody else stepped up! Everybody else got gone. People in your family will die and it’s YOU who gotta get ‘em in the ground. You used to meet women and arrange rendezvous’s. Now—-You need a sitter, a grandparent, a fixed time, a return time, you need a PARENTAL HALL PASS is what you need. You can holla “When my regular life comin back?!” till you blue in the face, but that train done choo-choo’d. Your hang-dog-ass is doing loops inna pity-pot crop circle. And no matter how many times your little man with the inside voice screams “I’m better than this”—-a bigger man with an outside voice says “no you ain’t!”


And the Parent day just won’t quit. No matter how late, no matter how much you done, how much you played Daddy—-the day sticks to you and won’t let go. If you’re a man in your 30’s or 40’s and haven’t carved out enough big victories—-victories big enough to show some woman how much of a conquering hero you is, then the day and the failure follow you and won’t let go. You don’t sleep alone. You sleep with everything that didn’t go your way. Everything you couldn’t make right. That’s what an extra 100 pounds of adulthood bring to your 3:00 pm nighty-night. And that’s where I was. Playwriting? That was just some LARK I used to do. What could I show off? A few reviews? Some grants. How could I respond to “so what are you working on now,” when my life had turned into a mental health nightmare, and it wasn’t even MY OWN mental health. My little Junior required lots of AGENCY involvement. I was LIVING in child therapy, talking to social workers, child psych’s, psychologist’s, behavioralists, meeting with education and health care professionals DAWN TO DUSK. His mind was on fire and nobody had a drop of water. I took it all as punishment. Yeah, true dat. I took it as the Great Man Above taking me to task. For too many years living detached. Too much time spent in my own navel. I was 35 years old and most of my quality time had all been spent on me. I loved people, sure. Loved my mother, my father—-I’d had love affairs. Had all kinds of affairs, but what real emotional “leg work” had I done. I wasn’t selfish, just oblivious. And mad. Mad at my son for being—-freakin impaired. For not responding. For being belligerent. Aggressive. Manipulative. Ungrateful. Childish. Immature. Disrespectful—-and for having no capacity whatsoever to appreciate his father……..”

“B-Side Man” AIN’T always pretty, but it IS always me. I’m putting this picture up because it looks so damn good. I probably used it before. I couldn’t help myself from using it again. If I died tomorrow, this is the picture I want someone to remember me by. This was a breezy evening at the American Visionary Arts Museum on Key Highway, downtown Baltimore. It was an event for the Maryland State Arts Council grants winners to receive their citations. Nicole caught me outside and that’s the way I always want to feel about Playwriting. About being an artist. When it works, it gives you the ultimate footloose and fancy free euphoria. It’s not at all related to Kanye’s “N***** in Paris,” but there’s a certain continental flair about being in that moment. You’re not having to explain what you do, or how you do it—you just bask in the glow.

Hey—what’d you expect from a blog called the “LIFE OF ALONZO”.Me outside Am Vis.