Finding the Fun in the Setting Sun

The soaring soul...

The soaring soul…

“One morning you wake up in Yuma, Arizona in this thing called a motorhome. The phone rings it’s a receptionist, she’s calling to confirm your appointment with the plastic surgeon.”

While on stage the topic of the golden years of our lives needs to be approached carefully. Cliché is an epidemic hazard. As we approach this period in our life several surprise events often preface the lives of the stubborn and willfully blind.

There is the midlife crisis. Do you do anything or do you continue doing what you’ve been doing and chuck the whole notion of aspiring to remake a better more fulfilled self?

There are divergent responses to this chapter in life. By the time I had remarried I had opted for a bumper to bumper overhaul. I didn’t want to repeat the same patterns again and again. I figured the idea was to refrain from saying and doing the same things I had done and take a fresh approach. The fresh approach was simple. Try to do wholesome and skillful things. Had I been doing this all along, then that might not have been much of a change from my earlier years.

Besides the midlife crisis there is the no small matter of what work you have been doing. If it is close-sourced you will feel dead ended, retirement will be appropriate, and relieving yourself of the work that doesn’t infuse your life with passion is helpful.

If you work is your passion you may approach this period of your life with the promise of further productive vocational decades.

“Your wife is doing her impression of you when you first met. She’s fiddling with your buttons, tugging at your zipper, nibbling at your neck.

She keeps telling you how sexy you look. You think she’s in denial.”

The children are out of the house, but they are never gone. You live in the wake of those years. I’ll stick my neck out a bit and suggest many of us abide in a satisfaction and fulfillment from our work as parents. Good work as parents, good relationship with yourself, whether single or married now, and sensible relationship with your vocation, whether retired or you continue to work make up this terrain.

The golden years are fascinating. We know ourselves so well now. We seldom suffer foolish unfulfilling relationships of any kind at this point in our life. We are busy. There are not many decades left. Whatever unfinished business there is to do, it is time to get those temporal and physical things done. In my case it is about the finishing touches on a near four decade career on stage and equally fascinating career as an author. Many of you know me for my work on stage, but in fact I know myself as a lifelong writer and novelist. More of you will come to know more about this part of my life as well. It is about those last long sailing voyages on my calendar.

And there is this routine I’m putting the finishing touches on. The routine briefly visits this stage in life. And it must touch it with the spaciousness and compassion that is its hallmark. We only get here by chance and if we are wise we will make good use of its spirited richness. That is why they are so golden.

“You come to appreciate the spiritual meaning of the word: “emptiness”, it fits exactly with how you feel about your 401k.”

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“The notion that sex equates to love being predominant is a hard train to catch if it isn’t really going anywhere. As a matter of fact sex, or sexual attraction seems to confuse every character in the book at one point or another, making for some very funny side trips.”

Fun and funny novel about lust in the dust of a small town in Nevada

 

 

The Idiots Guide to Discovering Surefire Laughs

Edmonton Streetfest 2014

Edmonton Streetfest 2014

This Doesn’t Just Happen…

This is one way to be ready when a moment like this is gifted to you by laughter’s angels

“People are always trying to figure out who I am in my novels. I seem to be drawn to playing extremely fertile women who know next to nothing about birth control. That’s a man pretending to be a woman right there.”

I have been hitting my glass ceilings, picking myself up off the floor, feeling boxed in, while doing what I can to escape limitedness of my imagination. There are several pathways being used to produce a new way forward and they need to be orchestrated by a conductor who knows what the composition ought to sound like when played to laughter’s unbridled romp into the present moment.

I have been writing new material for the show. I’ve been thinking conceptually about what I want to say. I have been on stage negotiating this material with my audience while alternating back and forth between the new and old material. The new material comes without all those hooks and handles where the older material is surefooted. There are in the tested show material reliable notes that I might hit just the right tone as I wend my way from start to finish.

The degree that I go off old script and into new script is where I reap the whirlwind. Sometimes you are able to seize the audience and take them with you, sometimes they are reluctant guests, and sometimes stubborn and lethargic. Lesser energetic audiences require veteran composure. We are so burdened with simply holding our audience we haven’t much space to discover where those fresh new hooks and handles might be located.

I can fit a funny line here and there into any show. It is another thing to leap off into a longer unguided journey of ‘hookless and handleless’ material. Where the laughs might be located is only approximate to sometimes nonexistent. This is the classic rat in maze moment. We go one way then another trying to escape from the labyrinth of our expectations and our preconceived blueprint of where we feel an audience might allow us to take them.

For the last 24 shows I’ve advanced and retreated while working on the first 10 minutes of 20-25 minutes of material I have written. Now, I’ve jettisoned one third of the first 10 and now I am preparing to introduce another 15. I have another 26 shows to work on this puzzle. Of course this all part Virgo energy and part rat in maze.

Creating a cognitive framework allows me some means of measuring my progress and forces me to go against fears grain. You really must put your shoulder into your material or you’ll get stuck doomed to repeating the older material and never quite getting around to dealing with all the difficulties inherent in breaking in new material.

Finding laughs is not for the weak or timid. You have to be willing to stomach the unpleasant feelings. The result of these experiments is a reliable and well tested routine. I am a soloist’s team of rivals. I am writer, producer, director, and performer. Those tough nuts can be tough to crack. This is my work.

Passing on the tradition

Passing on the tradition

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“Bambalina made me smile and laugh… She may have been one of the best characters in the book and that says a lot since she is a burro! I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for fun yet heartfelt read.”

The Luddite’s Guide to Grand Theft Auto

Juggler juggling

Juggler juggling

Raise a family and juggle like this… that’s a hell of a bunch of stuff to keep in the air…

 Want to try my game? I’m playing the comically summarizing getting married game. The couple survives the decade’s long ordeal of raising kids. Then, they devote what is left to their lives beguiled by some post-parental mirage that leads them into the realm of self-rediscovery.

This is the era when they start doing their own thing. It’s a return to the all about me phase, but with a twist, it really never will be all about them.

They take yoga and study meditation. They learn not just about ego, but about how form is emptiness, and emptiness is form. That there is no-self, and that everything is a delusion. They have a lot to learn.

Now, we revise, polish, memorize, test, cut, punch up, and try in front of an audience again. I have to isolate the stage instincts I have from the hard cold blueprint I am presenting. Am I having an off night? Is the material connecting? Not all the new material does, knowing where to cut, where to revise is a key skill in the game of routine building.

This reads a little edgy, but then comedy does sometimes glance off the darker corners of the human experience…

For some reason your kid thinks everything you have in the world is actually all theirs. Everything in their bedroom, the car, all the food in the refrigerator, everything: it is all theirs. And the more expensive the stuff the more likely it’s theirs.

That’s right the blue ray, the flat screen, the Bose sound system, game console it’s all there’s. Why don’t you know that?

And of course your wife, the woman known to them as mom, is now the object of their attention, any of mom’s distractions are your fault and in case you don’t know when they are old enough to finally leave they’ll be taking their mom with them.

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“Veteran Vaudevillian puts down his torches, picks up a pen and delivers all the laughs and charm we know from his show.  Quirky, odd, fun… hijinks, heartbreak and sexual redemption. And it all happens in Nevada or as Dana would say:  ‘Lust in the dust’.   Give yourself a treat and go on a:  Hot Spring Honeymoon.”

Glenn Singer–Hero

The Non-Fat Caffè Latte Love Show

Ohio State Fair

Ohio State Fair

It’s Good for Your Heart

Kate Hart and The Detroit Women

If one starts a career touring with the Royal Lichtenstein Quarter-Ring Sidewalk Circus why in the world wouldn’t you find yourself in the midst of producing, The Good to the Last Love-Non-Fat Caffè Latte Love Show… A soul nutting, spoonful of romance, low calorie, laugh riot comedy.

“You’ve suddenly found your inner Jacque Cousteau… you are now ready for the deepest dive of your life.”

“It’s the remake of The Hunt for Red October… the enemy Russian sub is you, and nobody can know that you want to surrender. The other sub is her, and she can’t be sure of your motives. Are you looking to a world with a future or are you here for a one night stand?”

“You’re not some indecisive, skirt chasing, hound fearful of commitment. No, you are a proud Russian officer. Your compatriots, the other men, are onto you. They know you want to surrender, and you must be stopped, before you defect and are given lifelong asylum- a marriage. Men the world over are aghast that you have given a woman a firsthand look at the super-secret run silent technology that only a man of your kind knows how to use.”

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The comedy is available right here

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We loved it.  Upon deeper reflection, “Everyman” merges with “Everywoman”  to become “Everyone” in a small, dusty desert “Everytown”

 

Working the Script

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A breakthrough day. But, then only as far as knowing where I want to go. That doesn’t matter as much as memorizing and then testing the material in front of an audience to be sure they’ll go with me.

“A reviewer explained what she liked most about my latest book. She said it was all the funny sex…”

So, writing a novel is like like letting  your fingers get off on tapping little keys on a keyboard…”

Is that a funny idea? Maybe…

What really got clear today was the outline of the opening 20 minutes backbone, the story, the narrative.

I want to seduce my audience into the realm of thinking with me about relationships. Not to be too ambitious but I want them to think about how that might look like over a lifetime.

I think I’ve found enough places in that plan to punch out enough material to engage and pull them in.

I’ve got some good lines out of the first 10 minutes I’ve worked on, but have cut about 5 minutes and have come up with another 10 minutes.

I’ve got another 5 to come up with, plus I need to test the material, naturally I’ll lose some, then add another chunk, and do this for another 6 weeks and I should have a good script that I can then punch up to a fine polish.

The important piece is having the right structure. Still not quite ready to memorize, but close. I had hoped by this weekend I might but there are still too many lines that need to be honed further.

It isn’t prose, it isn’t poetry, it is the text of a comic who does a variety act. Sometimes there are jokes but more important is that I am taking the audience with me along on a journey.

And one last clue. The audience wants a journey they can believe in. Everyone has their style. My style is soul and kindness. If I go too negative, too edgy, my audience won’t buy that kind of act from me. It doesn’t ring true to their ear and doesn’t match what they see with their eye.

“Now, how does the world’s greatest lover stay on top of his game? By asking his partner to lie down on the bed first…”

It’s Saturday Night in Riviera Maya!
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Hot Spring Honeymoon
The Newest Novel Available Everywhere

“Move over Moliere. Smith’s depth and wisdom give the reader a surgically precise but comic look into the relationship between the sexes.”

Bat Show Audio…

Bats in the House

Welcome to the world of entertainment in the Riviera Maya. What we have here is a short clip from my show at Puerto Aventuras just south of Playa del Carmen. I’d just come on stage. I was perhaps 5 minutes into my opening monologue when a sizable bat with wingspan of a little over a foot to something less than a foot and a half winged on into the theater. What you can see is that behind me is a stage and curtain. After buzzing over the top of the audience the bat went up into the rafters behind me on the stage. I rushed over to the curtains and closed them and our bat was now confined backstage. It only took forty years for my performing bat to finally show up.

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“Move over Moliere. Smith’s depth and wisdom give the reader a surgically precise but comic look into the relationship between the sexes.”