Monday, April 27, 2009

Tickets Now On Sale For Infectious Opportunity

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cathedral Review for

My review of Cathedral is now up on

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Cathedral, a play written and directed by Joe Pintauro about a Catholic priest leaving the church after being accused of sexual contact by a young male hustler, invites the audience to ask several questions. What are the consequences of ... [keep reading]

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

"I don't think we have the stomach to evaluate this."

Thanks to Isaac for pointing this out: Bill Moyers interviews David Simon, co-creator of The Wire, one of the best (if not the best) television shows ever, in a very lengthy (read: awesome) and candid (read: worthwhile) segment.

Check it out here.

The two of them talk about inner-city crime and politics, storytelling and the future of journalism.

And of course Bill's favorite character on The Wire is Bunny. That just tickles me.

Your socially conscious couch potato,

James "Lazy But Righteous" Comtois

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

About Fucking Time: The State Actually Available On DVD This Summer

Seriously, guys? You mean it this time?

So. July 14. Of this year. I'm gonna hold you to that.

Dipping his balls in that shit,

James "Baloney Sandwich Feet" Comtois

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Talkin' to Theatermakers About Theatergoing

I recently talked to four IT Award winners (playwrights Saviana Stanescu and Bekah Brunstetter, and stage directors Daniel Talbott and Edward Elefterion) about how making plays shapes their play-going habits and vice versa for an article for the NYIT Awards, which can be read here.

Trying to see more shows,

James "Trend-Setter" Comtois

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Pretty Mike & Pretty Matt Interviews Pretty Adam

I just know too damn many pretty people. But, hey. That's theatre for ya.

Anyway, Nosedive vet and all-around groovy guy Michael Criscuolo interviews too-cute-for-words playwright Adam Szymkowicz about Flux's upcoming production of his play, Pretty Theft, here.

And although this has been up for a little while, Mr. Matthew Freeman and Adam get into a very interesting podcast discussion on the upcoming play here.

I'm hoping to see this show myself very, very soon. I'm just trying to organize and coordinate my schedule.

Tarting himself up,

James "Cheap Fun" Comtois

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Infectious Opportunity

Nosedive Productions

in association with the Brick Theater


Infectious Opportunity

A new play by James Comtois

Directed by Pete Boisvert

Wes Farley, a screenwriter known for having HIV, is enjoying national attention with his latest film.

There’s only one problem: he's faked his illness for the past 10 years to boost his career, and is now slowly comprehending the drawbacks of his plan.

With the help of his friend Josie, Wes revisits his past and sees how an ill-advised white lie early in life ensnared him in his current situation.


Rebecca Comtois ~ DR Hanson ~ Daryl Lathon* ~ David Ian Lee*
Ronica Reddick* ~ Andrea Marie Smith ~ Matthew Trumbull*
* Denotes member of the Actor's Equity Association.

Sunday, June 7th at 5pm
Tuesday, June 9th at 8pm
Saturday, July 1st at 9pm
Friday, July 3rd at 7pm

Part of The Antidepressant Festival

Tickets on sale soon!

Photo Credits: Andrea Marie Smith and David Ian Lee in Infectious Opportunity. Photos by Pete Boisvert.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Kernel of Sanity Review for

My review of Kernel of Sanity is now up on

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Kermit Frazier plays with ideas of race relations, how heroes often have feet of clay, and the need people have for validation... [keep reading]

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Short Observation and Report

I just got back from seeing Jody Hill's latest film, Observe and Report. The ads make it seem like it's a stoner version of Paul Blart: Mall Cop, but even though I haven't seen the Kevin James vehicle, I think I'm on pretty terra firma that Hill's movie couldn't be more different.

Observe and Report is much more akin to such films as Bad Santa, Punch Drunk Love and Taxi Driver. Although it's admittedly not nearly as good as any of these movies - the tone and style is all over the map - it's good company to have.

Make no mistake: yes, this is a comedy, but a very violent comedy about a mentally ill sociopath. I think some of the controversy around this movie (a lot of it being generated by those who have seen the trailer and not the movie*) misses the point: there are very few laughs, if any, in Observe and Report that come from silliness or zaniness. The climactic scene, for example, had me laughing hysterically, but not because I thought it was wacky. I was laughing out of horrified shock and disbelief (a "holy fucking SHIT!" laugh, if you will). It's fucking insane.

It's truly a disturbing movie. But a ballsy and impressive one.

Beating kids mercilessly with their own skateboards,

James "Excessive Force" Comtois

*I realize I'm chastising people for commenting on a film they haven't seen shortly after referring to a film I haven't seen (Paul Blart). Those who have seen that film wanting to set me straight that Mr. James' character is indeed a Travis Bickle-esque ultraviolent sociopath are welcome to do so in the comments section.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Burlesque Benefit: "Mad as a Wet Hen"

Kate Marks, who did an absolutely splendid job directing my piece, "Joseph and Cotton," for Flux Theatre Ensemble's Poetic Larceny Series, brought this to my attention: "Mad as a Wet Hen," a burlesque benefit on May 2nd at the Triad (158 West 72nd Street) to raise funds for the KNF Co. and their production of Bird House, an upcoming multimedia theatre project by Ms. Marks.

Featuring cabaret star Teresa Fischer, hoop dancer Firefly, alt-rocker Pauline Pisano, burlesque sweetheart Reckless Abandon, Louie Pearlman and his Ukulele, Billy the Id and Cherry Pitz from the Hotsy Totsy Burlesque, magician Gene Silvers, clown John Leo, and (as the kids say) much, much more!

Miss Roxy Contin will emcee.

And from now until April 18th only, you can get discounted tickets ($15) by using the code 'getstheworm' here.

As wet as a hen,

James "Surprisingly Unperturbed" Comtois

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Infectious Opportunity Cast!

That's right. After much auditioning and deliberating, we've finally cast our latest play, Infectious Opportunity. And I for one am reet chuffed about this lineup. It's a-gonna be a real good show.

Nosedive Productions

In association with the Brick Theater


Infectious Opportunity

A new play by James Comtois
Directed by Pete Boisvert

Wes Farley pretended to have HIV for 10 years to boost his screenwriting career. He is slowly comprehending the drawbacks of his plan.


Rebecca Comtois ~ DR Hanson ~ Daryl Lathon* ~ David Ian Lee*
Ronica Reddick* ~ Andrea Marie Smith ~ Matthew Trumbull*

* Denotes member of Actor's Equity Association

To be performed as part of the Brick Theater's Antidepressant Festival.

Tickets on sale soon!

Now onto rehearsals.

Gettin it on,

James "Eager Beaver" Comtois

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Flux Theatre Ensemble's "Petty Larceny," Round Two

I'll be attending this this evening. Join me?

Ripping off better playwrights than I,

James "Righteous Robber Barron" Comtois

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Yes, Kid Sister Comtois turns a year older today. Happy Birthday, Becky!

And again, happy belated birthday to Mr. Marc Landers!

Stuffed on cake,

James "Party Crasher" Comtois

Sunday, April 12, 2009

We’ve Finished...

...with auditions for Infectious Opportunity. Now it's time for me and Pete to duke it out and lock down our cast.

I have to say, this one was (is) a real nail-biter. We saw a lot of really good people read, so we’re facing an "embarrassment of riches: there are some roles facing a "Too Close To Call" scenario. So Pete and I are amidst discussions and will hopefully come up with our final decisions in the next couple of days.

Let’s hope we make the right calls.

Any ole fuckeroo (as Mr. Abe Goldfarb would say), that’s been my Easter weekend. Happy Chocolate Jesus Day, everybody!

Overloading on chocolate whilst mulling
over potential actors and actresses,

James "Meticulous Snacker" Comtois

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Thursday, April 09, 2009


"I recount my life to homeless people on the street," Leila explains in Crystal Skillman's Birthday. "I go to the tops of towers and scream out my life. MTA guys. Waitresses. Cab drivers try to tell me their shit but I cut them off and tell them what happened to me."

Leila tells this to, of course, a stranger in a bar after telling him a bizarrely personal story (unprovoked, of course). Why does she do this? Perhaps this is because it's easier to be honest with someone you'll never have to see again. Perhaps because she doesn't really have anyone in her life she's close to. Or perhaps it's a little bit of both.

Regardless, Leila is profoundly sad and lonely, yet wants to put on a brave face. She's a woman who's almost constantly smiling, yet almost constantly wiping away — or stifling — tears. She wants someone to save her, yet is either too proud to ask for help, or doesn't know how to ask.

In Birthday, Skillman's sweet, sad and low-key comedy, directed by Daniel Talbott, Leila ducks away from a company birthday party held at a bar to a nearly empty side room. The birthday girl in question is someone she barely knows (and doesn't particularly want to): just one of Leila's co-workers for whom she has quiet, seething contempt. In the side room, she finds Kyle, a slightly older man sitting and drinking by himself. We in the audience can see that he, too, is harboring some deep-rooted pain and sadness, but is much more reserved about displaying it than Leila.

Through the course of this very short play (only 40 minutes long), Leila and Kyle listen to one another, share their feelings of loss and inadequacies, and offer each other as much solace as they can.

All of this would be unbearably depressing if Skillman's writing wasn't so funny and compassionate or if Talbott's direction wasn't so light and easygoing. Fortunately, the script and direction give Birthday a great deal of levity and gentleness as well as truthfulness. And the first-rate performances by Julie Kline and Denis Butkus make their characters very believable and sympathetic.

There are so many details of modern-day New York life that Birthday captures in wonderfully subtle ways, from some of Leila's oddball stories (one of them involving an old man asking her on the street about where to score some tail), to the obligatory existential crises one has when they're about to turn 30, to Kyle showing Leila photos on his iPhone. That the play is in fact staged in the back room of a bar also gives it some nice authenticity.

As Birthday deftly shows, New York is definitely a place where one can find the urge to scream out one's life to total strangers out of sadness and desperation. But it's also a town where sometimes you can find someone who'll listen.

Birthday is playing at Seventh Street Small Stage, Downstairs at Jimmy's No. 43 (43 East Seventh Street) until April 10. For reservations call (212) 946-5198.

Getting chomped in the tit by horses,

James "Birthday Suit" Comtois

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

"The Crisis of Credit Visualized," by Jonathan Jarvis

Jonathan Jarvis, a graduate student at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, has created this fun and simple diagram-based film to explain the origins and causes of the financial crisis. It's fascinating.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Learning about leverage,

James "Mortgage Writer" Comtois

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Netflix and Really, Really Bad Movies

I've found that the big perk, and drawback, to Netflix's "Play Instantly" feature is that I spend most of my time getting caught up watching the worst pieces of dreck committed to celluloid. I mean, let's face it, how else would I be able to watch I Know Who Killed Me? I no longer have cable, and there's no way I'm renting it, even on a dare, but if it's right fucking there, how can I pass it up?

The ability to watch movies instantly on my laptop caters to my inability to look away from horrible car wrecks. It's one thing to make the effort to rent Fear Dot Com (or even put it in your queue), it's another thing altogether to just click on the link and go, "Holy...Balls, you can't un-make this movie!" Now, the curiosity I've had for movies that received infamously toxic reputations, that have up until now been sated by a mixture of laziness and common sense to not actively seek them out, is being given nearly free reign (I write "nearly" because Netflix mercilessly doesn't have its entire catalogue available to watch instantly).

I know, I know, I should be wasting my valuable free time surfing the Internet for porn and fetish sites, but I suppose watching I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is my porn.

In my defense, this is the perfect outlet for watching these God-awful movies. There are amazing classics available on Netflix, but seeing Double Indemnity or On the Waterfront on my laptop monitor (with so-so picture quality at best) seems like a poor choice to see these films for the first time. (No, I haven't seen these movies before. Yes, they're in my proper Netflix queue.)

I don't need to see the 2008 remake of Prom Night in high-definition on a big screen.

True, I don't need to see this piece of crap at all, but again, since it's right fucking there, I don't think I can resist.

I also have the vague hope that I'll stumble upon some wrongly maligned gem (or at least something in the, so-bad-it's-something-I-need-to-own-and-periodically-make-sweet-sweet-moviewatching-love-to-good). Usually, that isn't the case. Sadly, I Know Who Killed Me is neither in the, Freddy Got Fingered vein (Tom Green's nearly universally reviled directorial debut that is, in my estimation, a brilliantly nightmarish surreal art-horror film masquerading as a comedy), nor does it quite have the unintentional charm of M. Night's ridiculous The Happening, Rowdy Herrington's homoerotic masterpiece for self-loathing closeted gay homophobes, Road House, or Neil LaBute's batshit insane remake of The Wicker Man.

Still, I'm glad I had the opportunity to see the wretched Lindsay Lohan vehicle. And I'll no doubt continue to plumb the depths of Netflix's shitty, shitty "Play Instantly" offerings.

Unable to un-watch Cheerleader Autopsy,

James "Craptastic" Comtois

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I Do Have To Say...


All a-flutter with joy,

James "Uncle Jimmy" Comtois


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

"Insert Title That Makes You Laugh, Think and Swoon For Blogging Playwright Here"

I sent in my first draft of Anton Craven's Ghastly Scheme to the guys in Gods of Fire and are waiting to hear their thoughts. I know I'll be writing many more drafts in the future, but for now, I'm just relieved to have the rough finished.

One of the things I noticed when writing the book for a musical (and having nothing to do with writing the music or lyrics) is that it does cater to any laziness one might have with writing. I've often found myself writing things to the effect of, "Insert Song That Explains All The Plot Points That Need Explaining Here," or, "Song That Fixes The Narrative Mess I've Made Goes Here."

We'll see how the band feels about this.

Nonetheless, it's been a pretty fun and interesting process since, again, I know nothing about writing a musical. Fortunately, I think I was approached to write the book precisely for this reason (they wanted someone more into horror than musicals, so I guess I was their guy).

I've also sent in my entry for Flux Theatre Ensemble's Poetic Larceny series, which goes up April 6 and April 13 (my entry will be featuring during the latter date).

Gotta say, it feels good to have completed two writing assignments in one day. I wonder what I'm gonna do with all this newfound free time?

Oh, right. Prep for and cast Infectious Opportunity. I forgot.

Your boxed lunch,

James "Meatwich" Comtois

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