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Archive for December, 2009

Wither Shalt Thou Follow Me?

arrowsMy longtime theatrical collaborator, David Dower, is far away, in Washington, D.C.  So as we collaborate on our new piece, Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews?, we are experimenting with communicating via Twitter (among other methods, like the old-fashioned telephone call).

If, for some reason, you’d like to join us on our continuing journey (which, admittedly, will sometimes seem obscure or confusing, as you will be joining us a dozen years into our overall conversation), you can go on Twitter and “follow” warholjew (that’s me) and WarholDir (David).  And if you feel moved to offer a reply, or argument, or question, you can send out a Twitter tweet with “@warholjew” (but not the quote marks) embedded in your message — such as:

@warholjew You call yourself a Jew?

Or:

@warholjew, I knew Andy Warhol. Andy Warhol was a friend of mine. And you, sir, are no Warhol Jew!

That way, I will be sure to see your tweet.  (Add “@WarholDir” as well, and David will see it too.)

Also, as with all Twitter streams, you have to read from bottom to top — i.e., in chronological order.  And to take in the whole conversation, you’ll have to hit “More” a few times, to get to the beginning — which is to say, bottom.  (Do Twitter streams in Hebrew start at the top, I wonder?)

My hope is that this can be another way for me to improvise within a community — an extension of my live improvs at theaters — and to get more of the feedback that I find so invaluable.  My fear is that none of this will be of any interest to anyone, and that I am pissing (my Twitter stream) into the wind.

But I have to say that, so far, it’s been really helpful — exciting even — to be able to jump out of the shower, jot down a bunch of 140-character-max ideas as warholjew, and then — not long after — find a series of David’s brilliant responses waiting for me the next time I check.  And I’m curious to see whether this can become a community thing as well, with your input.

At the same time, by the way, I continue to maintain my ordinary, ecumenical Twitter and Facebook identities.  Oh, and I also still exist in the physical world — though in a much less organized way.

Malie Kai Chocolate Bars — Yum!!

Malie Kai ChocolatesA few years ago, my sweet brother-in-law Nathan Sato and his lovely wife, Miki Azuchi, ran off to Hawaii and launched a brave and improbable new career making delicious local chocolates.  Due to the intense yumminess of their products, their company, Malie Kai, has been branching out — just now reaching the Bay Area, where both outlets of the Berkeley Bowl now carry their stuff.

These chocolate bars (which come in several varieties — including with crunchy “nibs,” my favorite) make excellent stocking-stuffers — though our own most recent samples mysteriously “disappeared” before they could make it into any stockings.

Highly recommended!!

Multitasking

Venn DiagramEven my lovely and powerful computer is getting fed up with all the multitasking. When I ask it to let me use Firefox, it rope-a-dopes me — asking, in effect, “Do you really need to use Firefox?  Wouldn’t you be just as happy sticking with your email application?”  I need to click on the little Firefox icon a few more times before the machine grudgingly brings up the browser.

I feel my laptop’s pain (something I’m sure we’ve all experienced, though possibly not on our wedding night): There are so many things I’m trying to do right now that I feel myself approaching a sort of fugue state.

On one of my “tabs” on Firefox is an uploading video that my brother Jake and I made yesterday, alerting our supporters at IndieGoGo.com that we plan to shoot the next installment of our new film, Love & Taxes, next weekend — and gently asking for even more donations.

On another tab is the enewsletter-generating program I use: I plan to send out an eblast to my peeps today about a couple of improvs I’ll be doing (towards an expanded version of my monologue Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews?) in San Francisco over the next two weeks.  (The improvs — each open to a maximum of 15 audience members, so that few will be able to speak of the chaos and disaster — will be on Dec. 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. at The Jewish Theatre San Francsico; call 415.292.1233 to reserve a spot.)

Another tab holds yesterday’s article from the San Francisco Chronicle detailing brother Jake’s ongoing collaboration with Robert Reich on terrific little videos that give simple explanations of complicated policy issues.  At the same time, I keep checking my email for updates regarding an event that Jake and I are trying to put together: me interviewing Reich on stage at the Berkeley Rep in January, and filming it for use as a pilot for our new interview show, Josh Kornbluth Talks to Strangers.

There are also:

  • Word documents with in-progress contracts, a proposed budget for a possible concert film of my show The Mathematics of Change, my running diary of research and thoughts toward the Warhol piece, thoughts toward a future monologue about playing the oboe and spirituality (working title: Practice), notes from my fellow members of the Berkeley Energy Commission toward a report we’re preparing on local control of our energy production (so we can more aggressively fight global warming), and the text of President Obama’s very interesting Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.
  • My RSS reader, which offers continually updating summaries of all the items on all the blogs I like to follow — DANGER! WILL SUCK UP ALL ATTENTION IF ALLOWED TO!
  • PDF documents with scenes, notes, and schedules for the Love & Taxes shoot.
  • JPEGs of possible locations for the L&T shoot.
  • A complete script, in “Final Draft” software, of L&T.
  • An audiobook, in iTunes, containing an unabridged recording of a complete history of the Jews (I just started it, but I suspect there may be some suffering).
  • A printer utility warning that I am about to run out of cyan-colored ink — which is actually okay, since (a) I will soon vaporize and thus won’t need to print anything and (b) I have no real idea what color “cyan” is, and suspect that few if any of my documents will need to be tinted cyan.

Which is just for starters, and does not take into account the books by and about Kafka, Brandeis, and other “Warhol Jews” that are staring accusingly at me from the bookcase, asking why I have not finished them yet; nor the pile of unsorted papers I brought back from my recent trips to India and Portland (guess which place was drizzlier); nor the fact that my new booking agent has been waiting a week for me to send him the technical requirements for my “smaller” shows (i.e., the cheaper ones); nor many other things that are now rolling around vaguely but impatiently in my head and working their way down to my esophagus, from whence they will eventually try to reflux their way back out into the world …

But really, the idea is to just start with something, right?  Baby steps.  Okay.  Right.

I’ll pee.  Yes, that is what I’ll do first.  I will pee.  Peeing is good.  It also involves stepping away from the computer, which will be a relief for my laptop and myself.  We both need some space.  Too much multitasking.  Too many tasks to be multi-ed.  Go back to a simpler time, when people left their front doors unlocked and movies cost under $10 and one person doing one task on one computer was the subject of worldwide awe and admiration.  That is what I will do.  And it will be nice.