Thursday, August 30, 2018

"Joe Fish" Playbill


PLAYBILL

Joe Fish Ties The Knot

or

Last Gillnet on Grangers Wharf


an historic fiction of tragic romance

by Jamie Jobb


The characters, stories, incidents, names and
fish portrayed in this play are fictional.

No identification with real events,
locations, products, poems or actual living
beings – swimming or dead – should be inferred
as none was intended by the author.

Dramatist Guild of America
Footlight Series staged reading
Phoenix Theatre - Sixth Floor
414 Mason Street - San Francisco, Ca
1 September 2018
3-5 p.m.

(c) 2018 by Jamie Jobb


Publicity photo of Joe DiMaggio “fishing” in San Francisco Bay.

Life in a fishing village offered few chances for a son to make a living playing games. If your father was a fisherman – particularly a Sicilian immigrant – there was little doubt you would become a fisherman too.  That certainly seemed to be the case for toddler Joe DiMaggio as he grew up Sicilian-American on Grangers Wharf in Martinez, California early in the 20th Century.

However, one day Joe’s sister Frances ventured too close to railroad tracks near their home and a hot charcoal from a passing locomotive damaged her eye so severely that the local doctor could not treat it. The family eventually was forced to move to San Francisco for better health care. There – in North Beach – the three younger sons learned to play baseball well enough to earn their living on ballfields instead of papa’s boat.

This play presumes a parallel story where Joe’s sister wasn’t so badly injured and the “Pescatori” family didn’t need to leave The Shoreline …


Cast

Randall Nott (Joe Fish) is widely recognized in East Bay community theater circles as an actor, director, photographer, videographer, writer, lighting engineer, sound designer and all-round stage-tech guru – the guy in the booth the actors salute after they take their bows. A Theater Arts alumnus of UC Santa Cruz, Nott honed his improvisational theater and comedy writing skills at the Groundlings School in Los Angeles during the mid-1980s. He also studied film acting with the renowned Film Industry Workshops at CBS Studio City. An original member of Onstage Repertory Theatre, Randy still serves on the company’s board of directors as well as its technical director. His recent acting credits include “Funny Little Thing Called Love”, “Catfish Moon”, “Book of Liz” and “Random Exits” – a one-man show he developed at the 2016 Fringe Festival in San Francisco. Nott’s stage directing credits include “Shipwrecked”, “Anton Chekhov's Cherry Orchard of the Living Dead”, and “Reefer Madness”.

Ryan Terry (Mike Fish) – As a twelve-year-old Ryan won a Shellie Award – our local “Tony” – for Best Supporting Actor in a Play as Patrick, the orphaned nephew in “Auntie Mame” at Moraga Playhouse in 1990. He later joined Onstage Repertory Theatre where he’s worked for over two decades as an actor, stagehand and set builder with a keen eye for stagecraft. Most recently he designed and built the expressionistic setting of “The Outgoing Tide” for Storytellers Initiative Theatre at The Campbell in Martinez. Ryan’s acting credits include “Weekend Comedy”, “The Book of Liz”, “Cherry Orchard of the Living Dead”, “A Familiar Visage” “Christmas Belles” and “You Can’t Take It With You”. He met his wife Mya when they were cast as leads in “The Philadelphia Story”.

Courtney Shaffer (Norma Jean) has quickly established herself as a hilariously brave and gifted actor who’s blossomed in many recent Bay Area stage productions. Courtney’s favorite past credits include: Berkeley Playhouse (“Beauty and the Beast”), Pittsburg Community Theater (“Barefoot in the Park”), Onstage Rep (“My Three Angels”), Benicia Old Town Theatre (“Having a Wonderful Time, Wish You Were Her”). Ms. Shaffer most recently commanded the title role in Plotline Theatre Company’s two-hander, “The Housekeeper”. She studied acting at Berkeley Rep, has extensive experience in film and internet video production, and may be contacted through her website: https://www.courtneyshaffer.com

Iumi Richard Crow (Nonni) is multi-talented Austin Texas-based artist who founded a fabled San Francisco trunk show in the 1970s known as “Roll Over Alice”. Headquartered in an abandoned warehouse on a skid-row roundabout named South Park, the show caught the attention of Steve Silver who wanted to incorporate it into a musical review he envisioned called “Beach Blanket Babylon”. The Alice cast voted not to join Silver’s effort. Iumi has employed herself as a mime/clown and has performed as a dancer, actor, singer and poet.Recently she has begun to develop her interests in abstract street photography and playwriting.

Randy Änger (Waldo “Ring” Walker) – The San Francisco Chronicle calls Änger ”the Meryl Streep of community theater”. An unabashed performer from age three, Randy has thrilled Bay Area audience for four decades as an actor, vocalist, singer, songwriter and now as a stage director. As an actor, Randy is adept at comedy (“Sunshine Boys”, “Barefoot in the Park”, “Scrooge – the Musical”, “The Apple Tree”) as well as drama (“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, “The Iceman Cometh”, “Conversations with My Father”). Two of those performances (“Conversations” and “Scrooge) earned him Shellie Awards for Best Supporting Actor. Recently Randy has turned to directing (“My Three Angels”, “Fourteen”, “The Housekeeper”). Contra Costa Coffeehouse music fans also fondly recall his days with local legendary bands “Celtic Elvis” and “The Dogmatics”.

Wayne Roadie (Woz Bok) – is a talented theater veteran who employs himself as an actor, stage manager and critic. His stage acting credits include a diversity of roles, from “The Importance of Being Earnest” to “A Christmas Carol”, “Fidelio” to “Pounding”. His film acting credits include “Young Folks”, “Dead Space”, “Expectations” and “A Lover’s Requiem”. His contact information, video clips and theater reviews may be found on his website: http://www.wayneroadie.com

Harlan Bailey (Huck Simms) is a commercial salmon fisherman and performing fisher poet well known on the West Coast. I could not have written this play without Harlan’s dedicated friendship, editorial help and his tolerance for my dogged questions about Grangers Wharf and the Sicilian salmon fishermen of the Contra Costa Shoreline. Harlan’s local readings can be raucous affairs – not unlike some of the bar-room events described in “Joe Fish”. Local audiences have yet to hear Harlan’s most recent works: an untitled piece about Alaskan chihuahuas of Bristol Bay and “Schrödinger’s Fish”. He appears locally at the Martinez Library, Campbell Theater, as well as private venues.

Kimberly Perette (Felucca Lateen) joins us on stage after three decades as an architectural historian and graphic designer with degrees from California College of Arts and a term of study at L’Ecole d’Architecure de La Villette in Paris. Since 2005 her architectural efforts have focused on affordable housing, health care and women in architecture – She helped spearhead a posthumous gold medal award for Julia Morgan through the American Institute of Architects. Her recent post-graduate studies at Mills College, where she edited a literary journal, have led her to more dramatic endeavors. Anyone who’s ever attended a performance in Berkeley’s Julian Morgan Theater can understand Kimberly’s career logic. Aside from her professional activism, she also has worked as a professional bartender, sings with the San Francisco Sinfonietta and recently began work on her first play. Her writings may be found on her website: https://kimpstudio.com/

Author

Jamie Jobb is a Martinez California based author who’s worked as a sportswriter, reporter, photojournalist and editor in Florida and Colorado. After moving to California in 1970, he contributed to a variety of educational publications and multi-media projects before writing three non-fiction books published by Little BrownWilliam Morrow and Scribners. The author is also an independent videographer who works with Onstage Repertory Theatre, Women of Words, Plotline Productions and other community theater companies/performers for live and screened performances at Martinez Campbell Theater. Jobb’s videos may be found on You Tube and The Internet ArchiveJobb also has performed alone on stage as Henri Freud at Monday Night Marsh in San Francisco. He writes about performance on his blog: Jamie Jobb’s Backstage Pass. Although he studied theater in college, Jobb had never attempted to write a play until he turned 70. In three years, he completed seven one acts and one full play. Jobb is honored to have such a dramatically diverse cast for this first fully staged reading of "Joe Fish Ties The Knot" at The Phoenix.



Thanks for guidance, inspiration and perspective:

Harlan Bailey, Julian Frazer, Bob Cellini, Marty Ochoa, Harriett Burt, Andrea Blachman, Richard Patchin, Priscilla Couden, Maxine Brown, Tom Greerty, Marylee Taylor, Igor Skaredoff, Sal DiMaggio, Robert Perry, Scott Baba, Gerry Wiener, Julienne George, Cathy Riggs, B. Jaxon, Arash Pakzad, Ames Chow, Pat Ertola, Betty and Clayton Bailey, Kathy and Jim Ocean, Sue and Clint Phalen, Lucie and Jim Hupp, Kate and Elmer Olson, Mark Westwind, Roy Jeans, Lynette Toney, Shelly Tolliver, Michael Arnold, Keith Gehrke, Brett Benzer, Tony A. Angelo, Ellie and Tony Dudley, Carole and John Kleber, Jane Samuels, Dena Zachariah, J.J. and Ralph Senn, Jill Walker, Steve Barbata, Carol Rafesnyder, Diane Sargent, Kay Cox, Paul Craig, Hamilton Fish, Dean McLeod, Richard Sparacino, Pedal and Everett Turner, Bob Rezak, Mario Menesini, George Miller Jr., Paul Mariano, Suzanne Chapot, Nancy Wainwright, Michael Chandler, Lara Delaney, Noralea Gipner, Debbie McKillop, Rob Schroeder, Randall Nott, Ryan Terry, Kimberly Perette, Wayne Roadie, Courtney Shaffer, Randy Änger, Iumi Richard Crow, Cynthia Bettini, Sheilah Morrison, Anne Baker, Thomas Churchill III, Mark Hinds, Helen Means, C.C. Cardin, John Lytle, Diane McRice, Sal Russo, Linda Gregg, Gretchen Givens, Darrell Mortensen, Kern Hildebrand, Brad Rovanpera, Ron and Marnie White, Tracey Walker, Amy Walker, Meera Chaturvedi, Ved Prakash Vatuk, Linda Hanson, Carolyn and James Robertson, Gloria and Bill Broder, Mona Ram, Terry Porter, Bill Hester, Nik Martin, Richard Gebhardt, Jerry Pfeiffer, Deanne and John Lindstrom, Bob Shipman, Mille DePallo, Mary and Art Crummer, Emil Lindquist, Robert Kourik, Jana and Steven Russon, Ruth Ann Maury, Kathi McCord, Marilyn and Don March, Patt and Scott Coddington, Dan Calabrese, Gretchen Green, Dianne Hayashi-Browning, JoAnn Valenti, Jonathan Demme, Phil Frank, Marion Cunningham, Leah Garchik, Bruce Jenkins, Carl Nolte, Otis Taylor Jr., Leah Chase, Margaret Keenan, Martha McDonough, Thelma Altshuler, Richard Paul Janaro, Sadie and Marvin Reed, Barbara Garfunkle, Mable Meadows Staatz, Martha Trantham, LaNora Rakestraw, Arif Khatib, Coach Don Johnson, Coach Sam Short, Coach Pappy Holt, Coach Demie Mainieri, Coach Jimmy Evert, Chris Evert, Arthur Ashe, Chet Tannehill, Pat Putnam, Ken Small, Edwin Pope, Bill Braucher, Dick Evans, Luther Evans, Malcolm Margolin, Richard Schwartz, Jim Rosenau, Charlie Varon, David Ford, Dan Hoyle, Don Reed, Stephanie Weisman, Mike Duvall, Fred Wickham, Conrad Cimarra, Cameron Galloway, Malachy Walsh, Bebo White, Peder Jones, John Fisher, George R. Kernodle, Preston Sturges, Jules Feiffer, Herb Gardner, David Mamet, Sam Shepard, the Poet Azeem and Jonas Mekas.


Also 
thanks to these institutions:

Dramatist Guild of America, Phoenix Theatre, ARTU4iA, Armanado’s, Toot’s Tavern, Martinez Campbell Theater, Martinez Historical Society, Martinez Museum, Contra Costa County History Center, Shell Alumni Museum, Bailey Art Museum, Crockett History Museum, Mare Island Museum, San Francisco Maritime Museum, San Francisco Bay Model, Main Street Martinez, Eagle Marine, States Coffee and Mercantile, Barrel Aged/Barrelista, Taco Daddy’s, Troy Greek, Saucy’s Cafe, I’ve Been Framed, LC Galleries, GLT Sign Solutions, Martinez Arts Association, Artcelerator, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department, City of Martinez, Alhambra High School, DiMaggio’s Barber Shop, The Martinez News-Gazette, The Martinez Clippers, Kruk&Kuip and WWOZ Radio – “Guardians of the Groove”.

Apologies

Frances and Rosalie DiMaggio, Ernest Hemingway,
Tennessee Williams, Clifford Odets, Toot’s Tavern
and the poet known as Marilyn Monroe.
Dedicated to Joseph Torchia,


The Kryptonite Kid

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Etaix and a Half

Etaix and a Half

Pierre Etaix

14:42


In 1963, the year I graduated high school, Pierre Etaix and Federico Fellini were exhibiting their films in Europe. A Frenchman, Etaix co-wrote, directed and acted in his first film, "Happy Anniversary". Fellini, from Italy, was concocting his eighth and half feature film, unsurprisingly called "Fellini's 8 1/2". 

Etaix, a circus clown, understood Fellini's expansion of cinema's visual horizons and payed homage to Fellini's "La Strada" as well as "8 1/2" in the Frenchman's feature "Yo Yo" (1965). It is not coincidental that Fellini also shared Etaix's esteem for clowning and mime. Fellini devoted a segment of The Clowns (1970) to Etaix and his wife Gustave Fratellini.

My high school friend Gretchen Green dragged me to see "8 1/2" after we graduated and it changed my life. Up to that point, I'd only seen Hollywood movies -- and a lot of them. I worked as an usher at a large Lowe's Theater, which featured first-run Hollywood fare. 

Unfortunately Etaix films were not widely distributed at the time, and a legal dispute -- only recently resolved -- kept his work out of circulation. For half a century, the genius of Etaix was unknown to even avid cinema students, certainly here in the USA. 

If you're interested in more than just clips of these films, you can find complete features and shorts of Etaix on DVD, see: 
http://www.criterion.com/bo......

For Fellini's major works, see: 
http://www.criterion.com/ex......

Turner Classic Movies also recently premiered several films by Etaix on broadcast tv, and you may ask to be notified of future airings of his work by contacting this link:http://www.tcm.com/

We would not be seeing any of these films were it not for the dedication collaboration among Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage, Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and Studio 37 which combined to restore the films of Etaix.

For more information of Etaix, see my earlier post:
http://jamiejobbbackstagepass.blogspot.com/2015/09/run-away-to-circus.html

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Calling for Help on a Land Line

Louise Lasser on the phone as Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

Calling for Help

On a Land Line

by Jamie Jobb

This is the caption for a video that runs here
on The Internet Archive, the library of the Internet.
(the scene runs eight minutes, 17 seconds)

"Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" was a broadcasting breakthrough created by Norman Lear and his team in the 1970s for a late night network that snubbed the three-network rule of the time. Lear's "network" had only one show, five nights a week for 30 minutes each night.

Lear relied on word-of-mouth to create an audience that understood the sensational absurdly satiric sendup of daytime soap operas. But the show wasn't always funny as it played out slowly through each scene. Some scenes were brutally futile fare for the tame late-night home entertainment of this time before VCRs and HBO.

Louise Lasser played Mary Hartman and her reputation as Woody Allen's costar and soulmate helped build a loyal audience.  But what propelled the word-of-mouth were the ridiculous story lines.

Woeful as Mary's plight seems as presented in this scene, it fails to account for further woes involving her neighborhood teenaged mass murder, slaughtered goats and chickens, getting tied up with a cop in a Chinese laundry, overtures to open marriage and S.T.E.T., getting the brushoff from the Lackawanda Institute and an eight-year-old evangelist, not to mention Coach Fedders and the chicken soup!

No ... Mary's troubles are so overflowing she barely knows where to begin seeking help. Fortunately, Mary had a land line in her kitchen which connects her to the Help Line Lady.

Veteran tv actor Beverly Sanders plays the Help Line Lady in this scene. Sanders was born in Hollywood and destined for a long career as a tv actor herself. This is a nice scene for young actors to study, if only for clues of comic timing.

Also note each actor is acting without another actor present in her shot, so it's a different kind of "listening"

... For further research, see Sanford Meisner: http://hhsdrama.com/documents/07WebSanfordMeisneronActing.pdf

This episode, No. 106, aired on 31 May 1976.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Henry Keeps Score


Henry’s scorebook shows Vallejo’s four-run first inning

Henry Keeps Score

by Jamie Jobb

With no programs available and the scoreboard ignoring balls and strikes, Martinez Clippers baseball fans had their work cut out for them as the home squad lost all four games of its inaugural home-stand last weekend at Joe DiMaggio Field 3.

For the most part fans understood their need for patience, knowing Martinez fielded this paraprofessional team from scratch in only eight weeks – after months of negotiations among team owners, City Hall and the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs, an independent hardball league unattached to MLB.

This weekend, the outmoded softball scoreboard (expected to be replaced soon) could only indicate inning number and current score – which eventually was most unkind to the team now calling refurbished Waterfront Park “home”.

In a pair of two-game series, the Clippers got crushed by Sonoma’s Stompers and dismissed by Vallejo’s Admirals for a combined score of 52-24. After four games, Martinez is alone in the cellar, the only team in the league without a win, while the Admirals sit atop Monday’s standings, unbeaten at 4-0. Sonoma finished the weekend 2-2.

Two of the Clipper losses were tight games with Sonoma winning 12-9 Friday night and Vallejo winning 13-8 on Saturday. If nothing else, the Clippers proved they are a gritty bunch in their spanking-new all-white home uniforms.

Vallejo returns to town for Saturday and Sunday games again this weekend while the new Napa Silverados come to town for games Thursday and Friday nights in the first meeting of these Pacific Association expansion teams.

* * *

Henry in "The Catbird Seat" with scorebook in press box

Martinez’ new paraprofessional team harkens back to days a century ago when scores of local baseball clubs flourished in an area now dominated by Athletics and Giants branding. In those days local leagues were also organized in refineries and other industrial workplaces along the Contra Costa shoreline.

Baseball has moved on, in other words. And so it was that nine-year-old Henry Cao went to the new ballyard with friends on Saturday night, then returned with us Sunday for the Clippers first-ever day game. My wife is Henry’s tutor and we knew about the scoreboard issue. But we also know Henry is good at math, so we figured he could use a scorebook to follow the game.

Most baseball writers – and a lot of serious fans – keep a scorebook as they track their team’s progress through the season. Scorekeeping is a traditional skill that acknowledges the statistical roots of the National Pastime. The scorecard is the chart that leads to a speedy assembly of the game’s final box score.

Scoring is the fan’s game,” writes Paul Dickson in The Joy of Keeping Score. “It does not belong to the owners, players, their union or Major League Baseball. It is literally ours.”

Henry stumps Clipper fan engagement guru Brent Martin

For his first time as a scorekeeper, Henry had the luck of a charmed quark Sunday. As soon as he walked through the gate, Henry was approached by a good-looking tall guy with a beard and a portable microphone. The man is Clippers coordinator of fan engagement Brent Martin whose job is to bring folks onto the field for a bit of fun and mirth between innings.

Martin loves to work with kids and his job was very easy opening night when the ballpark was sold out and full of youngsters who got in free wearing their youth league uniforms. But Sunday afternoon, that deal was off and few children were among the 100 in attendance, so Martin asked Henry onto the field to announce the rally call for ballparks everywhere: “Play ball!”

Henry took the microphone and gave it his best shout, although clearly he’d not rehearsed for his moment of public address. Throughout home games, Martin peppers fans with trivial pursuits – guessing the price of concession stand items or what’s skipper Chris Decker’s favorite holiday. Or he runs young fans in spinning-dizzy sackless sack-races. He even engaged a pair of teenaged boys Sunday to race to first base in hula skirts!

Henry sits between official scorekeeper (L) and podcasters

Vallejo Admiral podcaster Scott Armstrong noticed Henry was keeping score – while sitting in the sun and wilting in the 94-degree heat. So between the second and third innings, Armstrong invited the boy to the press box to sit in the shade with both teams podcast crews, the radar-gun guy, and Official Scorer Jack Higgins who was more than willing to let Henry occupy the vacant seat next to him.

There, Henry could learn right away if a play had been ruled a “wild pitch” (wp) or a “passed ball” (pb) and scored an error charged either to the pitcher or the catcher. Higgins also helped the boy score odd plays like a Clippers pick-off of a slow Admiral baserunner … 9-to-6-to-4 … catching a runner off second base. (This basic ball code will be explained shortly for those who do not know it.)

Higgins is a right-handed pitcher himself, a junior on the San Francisco State squad where he learned to keep team scorecards and stat sheets in the dugout. He considers himself self-taught and he was more than willing to help Henry teach himself how to fill in his own book as the game dragged on.

It’s kinda hard to do,” Henry said. “But when you start, you’ll get better!”

Henry plays third base for the Dodgers in Martinez Youth League. He’s new to the game, so he’s just getting used to The Hot Corner. In fact, he didn’t even know about that jargon before Sunday. But, now sitting in The Catbird Seat, as Red Barber used to say, Henry had the whole field in front of him, shade over his head and his ears were listening to TWO play-by-play callers.

It’s a safe bet that no other Clipper fan in the ballpark was having this much fun keeping track of what’s happening on the field.

* * *

Clipper catcher Wilkyns Jimenez donates his broken bat

Henry’s biggest treat of the day arrived when Higgins suggested that the boy ask for the broken bat of Clipper catcher Wilkyns Jimenez, who had two passed balls during the game which Higgins officially recorded and Henry dutifully marked in his scorebook.

The catcher broke the bat in the bottom of the ninth on a foul ball, before walking to score the Clippers’ fifth and final run.

Jimenez also had the assignment of catching Clipper knuckleball reliever Colin Moberly, who had struck out ten batters in eight innings of relief in the first two games.

A six-foot-two, 215-pound catcher from Falcon Venezuela, Jimenez can seem quite imposing for a four-foot-one, 64-pound third baseman. But Henry walked up to the Clipper dugout after the game and asked through the fence if he could have Wilkyns’ broken bat. The catcher brought it out, gave it to Henry and posed for a picture.

After Jimenez returned to the clubhouse, Henry said “He’s huge!”

In addition to his scorebook, Henry also took home three foul balls, a league schedule brochure and his broken bat.

After the game, the lucky boy said keeping score is “kinda easy” and he will “probably” keep up his scorebook for games he sees in person. His only complaint on the day:

I don’t like the ump. He’s calling the wrong strikes!”

* * *

Official Scorekeeper Jack Higgins shows Henry his book

How to Keep Score: Baseball is the most statistically telling occupation anyone would ever face regarding performance evaluation. A player can be known to hit .346 as a right-handed batter in night games in the rain in American League ballparks in September. For example. No other job withstands such statistical scrutiny. And all the statistics are filtered through the scorebook. Keeping score involves knowing this code:

1. Players have numbers based on their defensive position on the field 1) pitcher; 2) catcher; 3) first base; 4) second base; 5) third base, 6) shortstop; 7) left field; 8) center field; 9) right field.

2. Every at-bat by each player gets recorded in a box based on the team’s batting order that day. The code for these results (“hr” for “home run”, etc.) is listed in the front of most scorebooks and on the charts themselves.

3. At the end of the game, each player’s performance gets totaled on the page – setting down the new stats for that game.

* * *

Don’t pester the talent. A local elected official (not connected to City Hall) was among the 500 in attendance opening night and found himself quite full of inspiration from Five Sons brewers who had a booth offering their local beers on tap.  He was particularly pickled late in the game when most everyone had gone home.

Said public official had been hounding the opposing Stompers verbally, although he’d been picking on one in particular, catcher Daniel Comstock … using the old ballpark slur of pathetically exaggerating the player’s name: “Danny! Danny! ... Danny Boy!”

Some fans never learn! At the crack of the bat, it was clear that Danny’s line drive to left would clear the short 300-foot fence, scoring two more runs and putting the public official back into his seat where he remained silent for the rest of the contest. 

* * *

Pacific Association fans can follow their home team on podcasts and on line.








Keep up with the current scores and stats: