Attention all writers, composers, bloggers, and artists of all kinds:
Crazytownblog, the voice of Bohemia, is looking for new voices to express their opinions about life, love, culture, art, politics, philosophy, music, theatre, and anything else that you can possibly think of for their weekly blog.
We are currently looking for writers that can make a 12 to 16 week commitment writing one post a week. Blogs can be about anything, but writers are highly encouraged to share their new work.
Writing a novel or play?
Write it on crazytownblog! Write a serialized version in weekly installments.
Or maybe you can take the #52songs challenge and post a brand new song or poem each week.
Are you producing a show? Talk about the many steps involved in creating your new work from page to production, or just write about things that matters to you.
You'll be joining a small community of other up-and-coming artists in New York that has included Ryan Scott Oliver (Jasper In Deadland), Gregory Jacobs Roseman (Save The Date), Julia Meinwald (Pregnancy Pact), David Davila (Vox Pop), Leah Bonnema (Huff Post's Top Ten Commedians), Alex Brightman (Make Me Bad), Kimberly Lew (Other People’s Children), Owen Panetierre (Vestments of the Gods), Brett Ryback (Murder for Two), as well as photographers, directors, actors, singers, dancers, non-fiction writers, foodies, and pop-culture commentators.
What are you waiting for? Share your thoughts with an audience of people who care about new work.
Send a bio, picture, and a sample of your work to email@example.com by Sept 1. If you have an idea for an on-going series or a serialized novel, please send a proposal of that as well.
Auf Wiedersehen, goodbye. By Melissa Presti (Book Publisher)
I'm closing my Crazytown chapter today after quite the three-year run of the most random yet passionate pieces I've ever written. This space has been such a comfortable outlet to share my thoughts and opinions, my love of books and music, and even my hopes and fears.
Basically, you've all been some sort of therapy for me, and it's time to settle the bill. Coincidentally, what I thought would be one goodbye has quickly doubled in size this week as I prepare to close the curtain on Penguin Random House after six grand years. Fear not, I will still be working with books (I can't take that much change).
What I've learned is that fear has a way of masking itself as comfort; we easily settle in to jobs and relationships as they become familiar, stable, and constant. Sometimes I forget that in order to challenge myself and continue learning, I have to be willing to change the scenery. I have to give up the comfort of the familiar and walk straight into the unknown if I want to make any kind of change in my life.
I leave you with "If I Go" from Ella Eyre. Sounds fitting for this farewell, but it's not really at all whatsoever, but it's stuck in my head regardless.
If life were a musical there would be a number for everything - especially for the dreaded "first day back". By Annissa Omran (Writer/College Student)
This is my first week back at school for the fall semester. It also marks my third year and fifth semester of college, and my 15th year of overall education if you want to get specific. I'm taking 18 credits, I'm taking part in 4 extra-curricular activities including my a cappella group, I'm working on a long-term film project, I'm trying to finish a story I've been working on for two years, and I have a job.
So you can imagine that Monday morning wasn't a bowl of peaches 'n' cream sprinkled with rainbows.
And I'm sure I'm not alone. Walking through campus on the first day, I watched the faces of those around me and wondered what their stories were.
Who was a freshman, scared out of her mind and searching for the science building?
Who was a frat boy, self-conscious about the nacho weight he gained over the summer and wondering if he'd still be desirable on Thirsty Thursday?
Who was a professor, hungover and bitter about having to teach for an hour and fifteen minutes before she gets to finally have another cup of coffee?
Guess what - if life were a musical, I wouldn't have to wonder at all. There would have been a flashy ensemble number that would have had little miss freshman and mister frat boy singing out their conflicts in a confident soprano and counter-tenor belt respectively. There would have been choreography that included the university band and the members of the co-ed hip hop dance team.
How awesome would that be?
But since life isn't a musical, I guess we'll just settle for the next best thing - appreciating musical theater songs that represent the wonderful/horrible world of academia.
It's my birthday tomorrow. I'm turning 29 for the first of what I hope to be at least 50 more times. Birthdays are interesting to me because they are a celebration of a day that we have absolutely no way of remembering. I used to think that the closer one was to the original event of their own birth, the more likely a memory from that day would exist. Of course, this is silly, as scientists have patiently explained for years that infants don't have the ability to form long-term memories, but I work with little kids and therefore have the ideal opportunity to officially verify this for myself. I got really excited one day when I asked a little girl of about 3, "Do you remember the day you were born?" And she looked up with a smile and said with indefatigable toddler confidence: "OH YEAH!"Ha, scientists. I thought. Take that. "Wow. Can you tell me about it?" "I WAS MUCH SMALLER BUT I WAS WEARING THIS DRESS AND I WAS A DINOSAUR." Ok, scientists. I thought. You win this time.
The 80's: the last time I willingly wore a onsie, and the last time my head was small enough to fit inside a giant plastic cookie cutter.
I can't tell you how many people have told me how their thirties were their favorite decade so far. How it became the moment in their lives when they started to really own who they were- stopped taking shit- started something new and bold- weeded out the bad stuff- let go of toxic people in their lives- felt their sexiest. This confirms what I have suspected since I was a child, as I remember feeling like a 30 year old trapped in an 11 year old's body very frequently during middle school when my favorite activities already included reading a stack of library books over a jar of pickles and attending Michael Crawford concerts. (Now that I'm looking at that written down, maybe that's actually the behavior of a person far older than 30.)
We humans like to block of chunks of time for easy dissection. We like to refer to "the year I focused on my career" or "The Summer of 'Yes'" or "my 20's were about figuring myself out". While this can occasionally be limiting (who's to say you can't do more than one thing per year/per decade), I like to think that it also draws focus in a good way. I'm glad to hear so many people I know and respect who are older than me talk fondly about the start of their 30's as a liberating time of focus and drive and anti-shit-taking. The 11 year old girl inside of me who always knew her teens were not going to be her glory years is completely stoked about it.
We are told, look! Look at the wondrous people who only came into their own after their 30th birthday! J.K. Rowling! Harrison Ford! Oprah Winfrey! Dorothy Parker! And those stories are encouraging. These are people who spent their 20's percolating and came fully into the next decade a deliciously brewed cup of awesome. Articles I read about approaching 30 frequently cite the lives of interesting 30+ year olds with the tone of encouraging one not to panic. It's okay, the articles seem to say in soothing voices: it's not the middle ages, 30 is no longer the age at which you begin receeding from view socially and then possibly contract the black plague. 30 is the new Best Age Ever, so embrace it, because we need more examples of how turning 30 launches you in to the most successful decade of your life!
I don't resent these articles, because they are well-intentioned, and like my friends who loved/are loving their 30's, they are also very sincere. But as someone who only has mere hours left before she is officially 29, I'd like to point out that these articles only postpone the panic. You have entered your Get Out Of Jail Free decade, a perfect decade that everyone agrees is fabulous, but by 39 your Ikea furniture isn't gonna be so cute anymore, sister. Don't freak out though: according to Charlize Theron, we women only begin to approach our wise and powerful fully-realized selves once we leave our 20's, and I'm just gonna go with whatever Charlize says, because she is flawless.
My motto for the next 10 years.
My mom spent a good deal of her 29th year pregnant with me, and there is something weirdly mythical about arriving at the age your same-gendered parent was when they had you. There is a kind of epic power in it, like "Okay, if I went and created a life right now, this is pretty muchwhat it would look like X years from now." That's sobering. And while I myself am not on track to be a parent of an actual human being this year, I like the idea of coming into my 30's with an attitude of creation. I want the next decade of my life to be about creating things I care about in art and life, and about creating a life that I'm proud to be living. If I'm glad to be shedding anything from my 20's, I'm glad to shed the youthful concept of constantly looking forward- thinking, oh I'm not ready for that yet, but I hope I am soon; oh I can't do that yet, but maybe when I'm older and people take me more seriously; oh eventually I'll have the time to finish that.... And to all those entrapping statements that keep me from living fully in the present and accomplishing what I want to accomplish right now, well, I've got a little birthday present for you:
Happy Birthday, my fellow almost-30-millenials. No one can stop us now, because in 5 years, we're gonna be old enough to run for President. You're welcome, America.
The strategy for Robyn to take over Broadway that no one asked for, but needs to happen anyway. By Owen Panettieri (playwright, lyricist)
(Just a little album concert art. For your consideration...)
Last Wednesday, 2 things happened. 1) Emma Stone was announced as the new Sally Bowles in Cabareton Broadway (which means I'm gonna go see Cabaret again, obvs.) and 2) I went to see Robyn in concert at Pier 900-and-something here in NYC and she was AMAZING. Robyn is one of those rare performers whose work is always authentic to what she's feeling. In her movement, in her vocals - it never feels put on or phony or self-conscious. It's true and it's beautiful. You should definitely see her perform live if you get the chance.
As Wednesday progressed, these two concepts of seeing Cabaret again and seeing Robyn perform live melded together until I became convinced that Robyn should star in every Broadway show imaginable. Even when cast against type, the results would be FASCINATING. I would want to see Robyn play Sally Bowles. I would want to see her play Eliza Doolittle. I already suggested she should've been in the NBC telecast of Peter Pan. Robyn in Grey Gardens? Robyn in Hedwig? Robyn in Next to Normal? Robyn as Grisabella? Robyn as Evita?? It physically pains me that this is not a reality. Won't some visionary producers take a chance on this amazing songstress?
Sunday afternoon was the final show of Vestments of the Gods, the delightful show written by my friend and fellow Crazytown blogger Owen Panettieri. This production also marked my first experience doing a show in the mighty and crazy New York Fringe Festival. I wrote a few weeks ago about my thoughts on theater festivals in general and how they're an integral part of encouraging new work in New York. But I wanted to share some thoughts about participating in the festival itself, as it's quite a ridiculous and humbling experience.
I live to Fringe another year...
First of all, I must say, after 18 years of doing this, those Fringe organizers seem to have their shit quite together. Perhaps that's unique to our venue, Theater 80, but we were always in and out with time to spare. The website was easy to navigate and purchasing tickets was quick and reliable. They even responded to all my tweets! Color me impressed. I also got the feeling the whole time that The Fringe really loves all its shows, like all 200+ of its weird, wonderful children. It's nice to be a part of a festival that actually cares about theater.
But amdist all that, there is a strange, disconnected, and ethereal feeling about participating in the festival because of the performance schedule. You only get 5 performances, and they're spread out over 3 weeks. Once a show opens, it always takes a little while for a show to gel, even when you're doing it 8x a week. The long breaks between shows made it hard for us to get our groove, especially since we were such a big, complicated show. At the same time, the spectre of the other shows in your venue continually haunt your experience there. The experience of live theater is always meant to be fleeting, but in The Fringe, after you take your bow, you literally have to pack up your stuff and leave the theater so another show can come in after you. The miracle of it is that rather than feeling invasive, it feels supportive: like everyone is using the space for the same goal - to put on a great show. And we're all in it together (cue the HSM clip...).
Finally, I was so fortunate to be working in a show I love and believe in. As every actor knows, we're not always so lucky. I felt privileged to tell this story and speak this playwright's words. And to top it all off, I'm so thrilled we were named one of the Best Overall Ensemble winners of the festival. Vestments, more than any other show I've ever been in, reinforces the idea that together we're more powerful than we are when we're alone. I was so happy to work with this ensemble. Here's hoping we get to do it again soon - in the Fringe or anywhere else.
Wacky local TV ads continue to deliver. Big time. By Ali Gordon
If you know me, you know there are a few things that will always, without fail, bring me happiness: good cheese, funny improv, a serious heart-to-heart discussion about the importance of friendship in Pacific Rim, marathoning old X Files episodes, and lastly... wacky local TV ads.
But a new contender has sauntered into town much like Rocky Balboa himself, rising from the ashes, proving to be a worthy competitor. And this Heavyweight Champ goes by the name of... East Hills Mall.
This is gold. Complete and utter treasure. The lousy backing track. The inability to sync the bizarre non-sequitur "song" snippets TO that lousy track. How deeply, utterly un-enthused everyone looks. How much the "backpacks" woman looks like Miley Cyrus three years ago. The vibrato on haircuts!!!
Now, I don't like to be duped, especially if I'm gonna share it with all of you, so I went to their website to make sure they are, indeed, a real mall. And they are. From their "About Us" section:
East Hills Shopping Center is northwest Missouri's premier shopping and dining destination. [...] Take a break at Center Court while shopping at East Hills and enjoy the floor to ceiling fireplace, free wi-fi, soft leather furniture or your favorite show on our large flat screen televisions.
Sounds good to me. But their "About Us" section seems to neglect how much denim they have. WHERE ELSE AM I GOING TO BUY MY BOOTS AND PANTS!?
Yes, this is fun to mock. But truly, I appreciate it. Deeply. I love it unironically. I hope East Hills Shopping Center chooses to make more of these.
P.S. As a rule of thumb... never read the YouTube comments. But, somehow, these are particularly idiotic and vile. Just enjoy the lousy local ad at face value.
A Riddle: Why is a Carol Channing like a Taylor Swift? by David R. Gomez (Composer-Lyricist-Live Tweeter)
Let's be honest, the Video Music Awards owe a lot to the movie musical.
Michael Jackson was heavily inspired by West Side Story for "Beat It," and the Queen Bee of the VMA's Beyonce quoted Bob Fosse for the now iconic "Single Ladies."
So while watching America's sweetheart, Taylor Swift, dance awkwardly to her new hit song "Shake It Off," at the VMA's while I couldn't help but think of Carol Channing.
The Evolution of the Lorelei
Lorelei was a name coined for a mythological mermaid who would lure sailors in with her sultry song and beautiful looks, until they crashed to their deaths on the rocky shores of the Rhine.
In 1925 Anita Loos created the character of Lorelai Lee, a gold digging flapper who would lure in millionaires with her blonde good looks.
The character Lorelei captured the imagination of America. And even got her own comic strip spin off!
Lorelai went from 2D to real life when Carol Channing starred in the musical "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" And the song "Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend" made Carol a star and became a popular phrase.
Her version of the dumb blonde was more of a portrayal of a secret genius who pretends to be dumb that so that men will fall at her feet. It's not too far from today's celebrity career women like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton who also give the public exactly it wants.
Here's Carol and a bunch of men in tuxedos performing two songs from the show.
For Marilyn Monroe in the movie version, the lyrics of the song aren't so much punch lines as deeply true statements about the way life is. But it's her version, and that pink dress, that became iconic. Paving the way for Madonna, Kylie Minogue, and the film Moulin Rouge to emulate the performance.