Saturday, January 31, 2009

Twitter: a second chance

I was using twitterfeed to auto-tweet my blog posts to my twitter feed, and accenting it with personal notes every now and then. After seeing that a friend of mine stopped following me because I post so many tinyurls, I thought about it and stopped. Now, any tweet will be hand-crafted. We'll see how that goes for awhile.

Asleep at the wheel

Backstage in New London, Connecticut

Philadelphia is for lovers

I haven't run up the "Rocky" steps yet, but I did make it to Philadelphia Friday afternoon. This is probably going to be THE highlight city of the tour. My hotel is in the heart of a big-ass city, the weather is lovely and there is a ton of stuff to do. And Monday? It's a day off. Yo Adrian!!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Coffee Shop Photo Set

My coffee shop set on flickr is brand new and full of photos of coffee shops I've found along my travels. If you're curious what The Temple Coffee Shop in Sacramento, California looks like, or how big the chandelier in the coffee shop at The Plaza in New York City is, head on over.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

You need waterproof shoes to walk. Otherwise you cannot walk.

Pile of dirty snow
Photo of Lima, Ohio for illustrative purposes only.

I'm getting change for a five dollar bill from the front desk, wearing my roommate's waterproof shoes, preparing for a dinner from the vending machine. How did I get here? Continue Reading

Be careful what you twitter...

I twittered this last night:

And this morning three people stopped following me:

I twittered that last night because it's the truth. I don't write unique tweets anymore. My blogs feed into my twitter stream. Twitter, for me, never got me involved in conversations or group-think or new connections or any of that stuff. Why? I am not a social person. Twitter and friendfeed and facebook and myspace all that stuff don't turn you from recluse to society matron. They communicate who you really are.

Dressing room or office supply store or both

At one recent venue, the dressing room for the men (except me and three other actors) was next door to the theatre in another building, in a very large room with a divider in the middle. In the photo above, you can see the divider in the middle of the photo. On the left: the men's dressing area. On the right: an office furniture supply store. I thought this was a neat use of space.

Writing helps woman deal with emotions

Writing helps woman deal with emotions

Happy Birthday Alma

Happy Birthday, Alma

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Where can I learn talent?

Living the dream.

It's 2am and I'm coming down off the shittiest high since two Christmases ago when I was at my Dad's house and I lit a fire underneath his bed scaring the SHIT our of his two cats. He still gives me shit about that, saying I owe him a new bed. He owes me a new childhood.

Did I ever tell you about how I got into acting? I was 311 pounds at 23 years old. No restaurant, gas station or truck stop would hire me, so I auditioned at Disney World for kicks and they freaking hired me. I'd never set foot on a stage and here I was doing 8 shows a day of "Mickey's Ethereal Brain Freeze" in front of the castle. 9 shows on Sundays.

Anyways, today was a busy day. I woke up at 6am to answer my fan emails, then showered and did eleven (11) tv interviews, 5 radio call-in interviews and an audition (set up by my agent) for "Square Pegs, the Musical." I read for the part of the gay substitute teacher, Mr Caftan. In one scene which was about gay sex, one of my lines was "Back in my day it was Crisco and crack. Butt crack, that is." (Insert laughter from the casting directors, God help them.) Why does my agent always send me out on the shitty projects? How come there's a national tour of "Mr Wizard, The Musical" going out and I didn't even know about it, let alone read for it? Fuck her. I need a new agent.

I met this hot chick in this coffee shop across the street from the theatre. We had a lot in common it turned out. She's from Iowa, she collects sheets and she loves Ted Turner. Me too! She slipped me a coupon for a free cookie. We're gonna pick cherries at this orchard tomorrow by her house.

Oh and check this shit: this girl in my cast told me my melisma was more Xtina than Mariah. I told the stage manager and she's going to talk with her.

Yawn ok going to bed. But before I do, say a prayer for me. I'm doing meth 30 minutes before the show tomorrow night! It's the 5th time I've done it but each time it gets a little harder. I should film it.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Review from Lincoln Nebraska


"Mark Baratelli stole the only scene he was in as a feminine King Herod." -Jeff Korbelik, Lincoln Journal Star, January 25, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

You can film me

Reporters and Police in Riverside Park, New York City

My take on Patti LuPone screaming at and embarrassing an audience member taking photos of her is below.

That poor schmo paid money (probably) to sit in that chair. If he doesn't know about theatre etiquette, didn't hear the announcement, doesn't speak English or is retarded or simply wanted to remember the moment he was experiencing and take a photo of it (which iis how all Americans capture memories) then he deserves an apology.

Yes, it's a theatre. Yes, it's a show. But Broadway is a theme park and you're in a theme park show. And as I read earlier this evening, if a baseball player can focus enough to do his job while 60,000 people scream and take photos, then what's your problem? Acting is hard as hell, but so is earning the money to come to see you act.

This news story of LuPone's has made me change my mind about folks bringing cameras and video equipment into theatres. I think they should. I think they deserve to. And if I suck or fall down and they capture it, hey. Life's rough. I'll survive. Beyonce ddn't close shop cuz she fell down those stairs at her Orlando concert.

And if audience members find it rude that the person is snapping away, there's a house manager you can talk to. Take care of it yourself. otherwise, film and snap away.

Six good stuffs and one oh shit

Good stuffs for Saturday Jan 24:
1. Last night I asked the front desk if they'd bump their 7am breakfast up to 6:30am so we could eat before leaving and they did. As someone reiterated to me tonight, it's the little things.

2. On pee break number one, which was at a truck stop/gas station/salad bar (not kidding), someone found these battery-powered furry dancing dogs that swiveled their hips to "Rock Around the Clock" and someone else found a sign that said "Truckers for Christ." I got photos.

3. Because (a) I had breakfast which (b) put me in a good mood which (c) made the 5-hour bus ride fun which bled into the remainder of the day, I got through a two-show day without much internal (emotional) bleeding.

4. I'm on a new bus. I have more room on the floor, I have my own seat, and the guy across from me doesn't sleep on the floor, so I can stretch all the way out.

5. The theatre today bought the cast sandwiches. So I had a free breakfast and lunch. Hey!
Sunday Jan 25: Oh Shit
I have a 5am bus call, an 8-hour bus ride and an 8pm show. Sleeping pills ATTACK.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hippo with a secret

Found in San Antonio CVS:

It's a hippo with a secret

It's a hippo jewelry box

Black bra on the table

Hauley and her bra on the table

This photo marks the hardest I've laughed so far while on tour. It was San Antonio, the first night we were there, Jan 16. That black on the table is a bra. An actor was digging through her purse after four of us finished dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. As she digs, she tosses a black bra onto the table. I stared at it and it probably took 5 seconds for it to register: that is a bra on top of the table. I laughed till my eyes watered. Thank you "H" for the laugh!

Actor slide show

I found this slideshow on a Philadelphia actor networking site.

Kansas City has good bar-b-que and coke

I'm a block away from a grocery store with a $4.99/pound salad bar that rivals Whole Foods' and is $3 cheaper. This is like a cop walking up to me and handing me my drugs back and then arresting himself.

Oh and speaking of drugs, I went to an all-you-can-eat bar-b-que place last night called "Ridiculous Ribs." So there I am, chewing on a handful of pulled pork (sans the sammich bun) and slurping down Diet Dr Pepper (from a can hidden in my purse) and out of nowhere this man and woman come up to my table. I am alone and frightened. (The rest of the cast went to "Wagon Wacker's" for Bar-b-Que). I know why they are coming up to me. "Are you in (name of show)?" the (hot) woman asks, while the man is staring at me like he wants to divorce his (hot) wife and marry me in one of the 4 states that allows that sort of demonic behavior.

We have that awkward conversation I always do when audience members visit me when I'm eating, shopping for wine or getting on the bus drunk. Then out of the blue the man interrupts his hot wife and asks "You want some coke?"

The next morning (which would be today) I wake up in their bed in a log cabin that ends up being two hours away from Kansas City, my hotel and my bag of pot (which my roommate swears he does not dip into). I am so freaked out but I notice I am alone in the bed. I look around for signs of deviant behavior. All I see is one of those spinny things attached to the ceiling you hang above baby cribs and pretty photos of panda bears on the walls.

I put my clothes back on and walk downstairs towards the hot wafting of coffee I smell. There they are, like a Folgers commercial, smiling and offering me coffee.

It turns out they were waiters at that bar-b-que restaurant. Last night they were offering me COKE coke. Not coke COKE. I'd gotten so excited at the thought of free nose-heaven, I passed out: I was already high on meth and two rabbit abortion pills I bought from this chick at that grocery store with the (hot) salad bar. They got scared and took me home because (as they told me) I had no ID in my wallet and no cast members around. (Wagon Wacker's, remember?)

The man and the (hot) woman drove me back to my hotel in their clean-as-hell Suburban. Along the way they told me about their history with theatre, their love of the show I am in and how they'd always wanted a son. What? As I was stepping onto the curb in front of my hotel and about to say my goodbyes, the (hot) wife handed me a blue box. It said Tiffanys on the top. I said thank you and she grabbed my face and pulled it to hers and whispered "Don't open it until you get to your room... my child."

They sped away and I ran up to my room (bypassing the elevator) to the 23rd floor like the spoiled child I'd always wanted to be and opened the box. There was a silver (I think) rattle and a note that said "We never had the child we wanted, and you seem so sweet and true, we'd like you to be our child, if you say no we'll kill you. Here's our number. Love, Mom and Dad."

And so I leave Kansas City in one day knowing that in my (possibly near) future, I will have to make a choice. Do I continue my flaming-hot career and toss this threat off as a joke, or do I go to them and have the childhood I always wanted... for the rest of my life?

PS: the rattle is silver. I just had it appraised at "Treenie B's" pawn shop and liquor store next door to our hotel. Hot damn, another night of rabbit abortion pills!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A prayer for a bear. R.I.P.

Before I go to bed (it's so late!) I want to say a quick prayer for the bear we hit with our tour bus at 11am this morning.
You were black and big
and built like a rig
thick-limbed and furry
But now you're dead
we hit your head
Cuz We were in a hurry

You cracked our windshield.
Imagine how I feel
to know you're dead, yes you.
We impacted you
through and through
but you had an impact on me too.

For when I sleep
it's you I'll think
about when my eyes close
cuz the very last thing
that I seen
was our bus rip off your nose.

Food expenses: Dec thru Jan

Fast Food:


Back on track with retirement

I've been on auto-pay with my ROTH-IRA for years. I take the max annual contribution, divide it by 12, and pay every month. It's called Dollar Cost Averaging.

I turned it off this Fall because (a) I refused to get a day job with (b) made me broke which (c) made me unable to afford my ROTH-IRA auto-payments. Tonight I turned them back on starting in February.

Feels good to be back.

Fifty bucks: a reoccuring theme

What I spent at Starbucks in December
I spent $50 on coffee in one month. That's not giving me coffee daily, just coffee on a few days. And why do I drink it? Caffeine for my brain, the warmth I feel while holding the cup and the friendly ritual of putting in my 4 Splendas and my 2% milk and stirring. Stupid. For 2009, I am giving up Starbucks. Yes it will be hard as hell, but maybe I'll find a cheaper (or free?) way to get caffeine and warmth and friendly ritual. Maybe when my tour ends, I'll start sneaking into hotels and stealing their free coffee.

Monthly student loan finance charges
Every month they add a $50 finance charge to my account. And that's after I pay my bill of $172.

Monthly phone bill
Starting in 2009, my phone bill will be $50. I turned off my $20/month phone internet bill. No texting, no email, no IM, and no internet. Then in June, my bill will be zero. I am getting rid of my cell phone. The amount of use I get from it does not match it's expense.

Total for a year
These little $50 monthly bills equal to $600 each or $1,800 total.

Check out this website is neat. I signed up for it tonight and it gives you a clear perspective on where your money is going. Times are rough as hell right now. I need to be saving all I can while I am still employed. I'm giving Mint a shot at helping me with that.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bye Facebook

I canceled my Facebook profile. I signed on tonight and canceled it. According to the site, I can go in and turn it back on just by logging in. So that sucks. But for me, it's over. Social networking is here to stay, but for 2009, I will not be a part of it.

What I said in my sleep

Outside my hostel room, Chicago Improv Festival 2008

Sunday night I took a sleeping pill so I could go to bed early. Monday morning was when we were to bus it to Waco. According to my roommate, I woke up in the middle of the night Sunday night in San Antonio while he was awake on his laptop. He says I said the following. I don't remember any of it.
Mark: Wait………hey………you-hoo………are you there? What city are we in? I just need to confirm what city we’re in. Where are we? Do we have a show tonight? Wait………where are we? Are we on the bus? We’re still on the bus.

Roommate: Are you awake or sleeping?

Mark: I just need to know what city were in? Waco? No………oh we don’t have a show tonight? Oh San Antonio.

Roommate: Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh………..Hahahahhahahahah. I will tell you what you said in the morning. I need to write this down!

Mussy: a gay man's butt hole!

Listen to the pronunciation:

Do you know what a "mussy" is? I learned a few days ago from a cast member. I'd never heard the word before. It's a gay man's butt hole.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Unused Tubes

Hamburger and shoes.

I did an interview this morning with a newspaper in an unnamed city. I found out about the interview via a sheet of paper with a phone number and name written on it slipped under my door sometime between midnight and whenever I woke up this afternoon.

The reporter's name was a Spanish word for "fitness" (so she told me without me asking) and she was super nice. I was pissed before I made the call because a sparrow got into the front door of my hotel and *somehow* got onto the 27th floor? What? It rammed itself into all four walls of the hall until a housekeeper caught it with a towel and stomped it to death. I walked into the hallway just as that was happening.

Dead bird. Housekeeper. Interview.

She asked me three questions about the show I pretended to not know the answer to. She laughed and asked if I was serious. I said no and answered the questions. As I talked, I got less angry about the bird and more into what I was saying about myself and the show. It's hard not to get all wrapped up in talking about yourself to someone whose job it is to write... about me.

Then we got personal. I told her about my parents I disowned at 14, how I went from success (I was in 10 commercials before I was three) to failure (public school) to success (understudying Alphonso Ribero in "The Tap Dance Kid") to failure (causing a fire at a dinner theatre and going to jail for 2 years) to well, whatever I am now.

Then she threw it at me:

"I have an eating disorder."

Silence. She apologized but I comforted her and told her to go on. I care. She's 411 pounds and works from home in a wheelchair. Her house is equipped with ramps everywhere, even in the shower. So sad. She uses tubes to doo doo.

I'll skip to the end. She told me the story might run in a week or she was thinking of adding to a bigger story about peoples' lives in the midst of the down economy. Either way, I asked if she'd send me one of her unused tubes so I could try it out.

Good morning San Antonio

(Austin, TX) This is where that fat guy cracked a beer bottle on my face and got arrested. No, they didn't find my gun. And this is where that chick with the wig and the Nancy Wilson (the black one, not the one in "Heart") t-shirt asked me to autograph her son's cast.

Good morning San Antonio
I left the hotel room this morning for a shitty Subway sammich. Nasty ass shit. Hate that place. And then I walked a block to get an Americano from "Sip," the coffee shop on the corner. Those 'tards SCREAM your name when your order is ready. I didn't want to say anything about it because they wouldn't understand. They think their screaming "Richard ham sandwich cut in thirds your order's ready at the bar" is normal. Why would they listen to me tell them otherwise?

I found a historic district on the San Antonio map to explore, but I just want to lay down and rest. I did this cocaine last night after walking to a taco cart that took me to a higher place in my life. I put in a ti-bo tape around 4am and did it three times, back to back, naked. My roommate was so pissed off he called the company manager but fuck them: I was getting a work out. Now I'm paying for it. Headache from hell and Subway vomit-food in my stomach. And I have to do TWO of these shows today. I was already planning on giving it my half-all today anyway.

Five shows in three days. You're welcome.

I want to meet the Enchanted Florist
Austin, TX. Photo credit: me

Overwork and underpants
Last night I "opened" our three day run in San Antonio. I've got two shows Saturday and two Sunday. Just call me an over-worked American. I half-ass the matinees so don't worry about the fatigue factor. The stage manager gives me shit about it, but (a) it's not my job to follow his rules and (b) he's in charge of the techs, not the actors. it's his job to make sure the sand bag is tied and the curtain moves up and down. It's my job to access the talent he was not born with, squirt it all over the stage and let the audience mop it up with their applause.

The Alamo. Or shall we say, the stupid pile of rocks. One good thing: it's free. Other than that, Texas needs to rethink the entire experience from top to bottom. The roof of the church is fake, they don't let you take pictures inside (um, it's a tourist destination) and the story was told by unclear, poorly designed signage. I am not even trying to be funny: they need to totally rethink this tourist experience. Lackluster, dull, lifeless and poorly lit. Remember not to go to the Alamo (until they re-do it).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Look at this SHIT

Making fires in the bathtub

We have your Seabreeze Wine here... ride the horse drunk!

Before tonight's show I left the theatre lobby bar already drunk and wandered into the parking lot. I was already signed in on the callboard so that was all well and good. But while doing 'ography in between two mini vans a homeless man approached me for a cigarette. I was obnoxious and he came at me, punching me in the shoulder. My face slapped the white mini van and I was down. He stood over me yelling curse words. I was so scared I just kicked my legs and prayed that would kill him. It made him angry but it got him to fall down... on top of me. Ew.

I pushed him off, stood up (still buzzing so I was wobbily) and ran to the theatre. But the building I thought was the theatre was a Dennys. I run in, drunk, with the homeless man's scent on me, yelling about two mini vans trying to beat me up in the parking lot.

This being Texas, two obese officers in cowboy hats stood up from their plates at the lunch counter and came towards me. I snatched the hat rack beside me and swung it up above my head, threatening to toss it at them if they came closer. The weight of the hat rack was no match for the seven gin and tonics I had in me, so it pulled me backwards and I fell down. They got on top of me, getting my hands together into a set of handcuffs.

I sat in the back of a squad car watching the homeless man from earlier laugh at me. The cops and my stage manager talked and I got released. They told my stage manager if they catch me again they'll arrest me. I believed them, and also believe their cowboy hats look gay as rainbows.

My stage manager, god love him, fed me coffee and a couple of his speed pills in the conductor's dressing room while he stood outside complaining to the company manager that his room is not "a holding room for drunks." I felt guilty for not drinking more, sobered up and did the show.

Now I'm in my room alone. I threw up twice, slid the tv off it's table, lit a newspaper on fire in the bathtub and called the front desk so many times for a large pizza they finally delivered it and didn't even charge me.

Next stop: San Antonio. Vroom vroom!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Horse balls above the children

San Jose, California. Photo Credit: Me!

Austin: All the pretty taco trucks

Cesar Chavez: Chomp
I asked a cast member from California who Cesar Chavez was and he almost punched me. According to the punchy Californian, Chavez is the Mexican Martin Luther King. I didn't know Mexicans were denied the right to vote and sprayed with fire hoses in Selma. Here's a quote I found:
"Once social change begins, it can not be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore."
Tell that to someone two months after dealing with calorie counts appearing on fast food menus. Yeah at first you're all "A McRib has HOW many calories?" but after two months, you don't give a shit. Yes, Cesar, you can un-educate a person.

All the Taco Truck locations in Austin:

View Larger Map

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

AUSTIN: I don't have my own room and THEY do

12/09: In L.A. pretending I could afford this hotel room

I was delighted with my room in Austin, Texas when I saw it had a full kitchen. Stews! Pot roasts! Crystal meth! Then my roommate told me several in the cast cast were getting their own rooms due to the hotel's running out of doubles. At first I wanted to throw a spear through the hotel lobby window and declare war. But I took a breath, centered my brain and threw a spear through the bus window.

At the theatre venue I spoke with our company manager who assured me those who got their own rooms were less talented, less educated and less well-read than I. (I knew this) I smiled, took the gum drop she placed in my hand and skipped out of her office, down the hall and into the theatre lobby bar where I drank 2-4-1 Hurricanes until my song in act two.

I should mention earlier today I got a ride to Whole Foods, about a mile from my hotel. If Neiman Marcus and an all-organic Wal Mart SuperCenter had a baby, it would look like this place. No group of humans need ever have access to that many brands of almond butter while herds of homeless men roam a vacant city park gazebo shaking hands and passing crack pipes a block away.

And I would like to end my post with this thought. I seriously cannot believe my job is my job. Tonight I did my song and I heard laughing. I am so in a bubble. I ride a bus, I am in cities for less than 24 hours, I throw spears through bus windows, and at the end of the day, my job means nothing if those people who paid for their tickets don't laugh.

I found a roach in my hotel room.

I enjoyed the bus ride. Um, what?

Mom I bought this for your birthday.

Hold onto your ears: I enjoyed the bus ride this morning. Not even lying. (Do I ever lie about that stinking hell-pit?) I read my free Suze Orman book, canceled a credit card, wrote out my expenses (food is the top expense) and brainstormed ways to generate more income (I came up with nothing). I didn't take a sleeping pill or anything. What the hell is going on? Did they put a chip in my brain?

Short Film: Escalator

I have nothing to say about this.

Monday, January 12, 2009

That was easy

Today was almost perfect. I packed my CLEAN laundry which fit into my bag with ease, had a big free breakfast sans BSCB, enjoyed my wait at the airport using their free wi-fi, slept all the way from Sacramento to Dallas (a 3 hour flight) thanks to the sleeping pills I bought in Canada, was smart enough to get a sammich at the airport before the 2 hour bus ride from the airport to my hotel in Tyler, Texas, got another small meal at Sonic and am now enjoying a silent room alone before I go to bed. But before I go to sleep, I want to say a prayer to Jesus. Not the one I am paid to scream at. The real one.
>Dear Jesus,

Thank you for today. It went well. Did you have a hand in it? Why was it so smooth? Was it me? Did I help without knowing it? No it wasn't me. And it wasn't you. It was those sleeping pills. Jesus, thank you for those goddamn pills. They turned my complaining bickering bitch-ass nature into a comatose non-verbal almost dead silence which allowed me to not feel the anguish of a travel day. Amen.

A monster with points

I was busting my way down the hallway to go outside for a long-ass walk when I saw the "Continental Breakfast" sign and turned in. Everything was still set up despite it being 9:30am and the end time being 9:30am.

There she was. Talking to the employee. So friendly. I walk near her to get to the hard boiled eggs and she asks me if I am with the tour. I (stupidly) say yes, figuring she is normal. Wrong. While getting my food she tells me she's staying at the hotel for free using her hotel points, she used to do theatre, her car broke down and she has a grown son... All I could think was "Get out so I can eat my raisin bran."

I spoke to her like I do homeless people: polite but scared shitless. I walk away from her to the coffee machine. She follows and talks more. I scurry about like a pinball from one counter to the next pretending to look for things on the counters. I am alone except for BSCB (Bat Shit Crazy Bitch) and the Asian employee who set up all food that attracted BSCB in the first place.

I sit down at my cereal and stare daggers at the tv, hoping she doesn't come over oh god here she comes. Since she knows I'm "with the tour," the title of which I never mentioned, she asks me how long "we" are staying at the hotel. I never stop looking at the tv while replying, "I'm going to watch tv thanks."

I love this. She gets that indignant tone all homeless people get when they can tell you're bothered by them bothering you, and she goes into a faux-apologetic rant about how she didn't mean to bother me and she walks backawards looking at the floor holding her bowl of cereal she got via POINTS. Homeless people are monsters.

She sits back down in her chair, throws a leg onto the chair next to her and begins stretching regimen. I stand up like an indignant homeless person and march downstairs to the lobby. I will complain.

I look at the man behind the counter and he has one eye looking one way and one eye looking the other. I know where he's looking by the direction of his nose. He takes my complaint (including that she is staying on points) and promises he will look (which way?) into it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sacraminions: I love thee

Wig shop
A Tucson Wig Shop

They know talent when they scream for it
I officially love the people of Sacramento. They screamed like maniacs for me at both curtain calls today. You know quality when you see it, my fair Sacraminions. I feel as though I have to make note of when audiences show praise as in some cities, they, er, do not.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Suze Orman: free book online

I downloaded the new Suze Orman book from Wanted to pass along the link. I don't make money from sharing this with you. Some of her tips I watched on a PBS special in 2001 I continue to this day. And she's a lesbian. Hot.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Listen: Me at mic check

Singing my song (1-7-09) at mic check

We don't run the first part, just from "So, you are the..."

I'm a blind poodle

The guy in the dress is my roommate.
(This is why I hate white people.)

Everything is fine
I must preface this by saying I am now calm, cool and bathed. I'm snuggling in bed with over-sized pillows beneath a crisp hotel hotel bedspread and silence is around me. Delicious, sexy silence.

Who shot my life?
Once again another day spent on the bus, or as I call it, eat this bag of steamy piss, stun-guns me in the brain and leaves me cross-eyed and drooling. I cannot take it without some sort of sedative. And tears.

Who put this shit here?
I was on time for the 8am bus call and I thought it'd be smart to move the bag of tangelos (someone put in the cubby above my seat) beside the bus door for the person who put them int he cubby above my seat to see them and find a new home for the rotting fruit. Instead, people saw the bag and enjoyed some morning rot-gnawing. Minutes before take-off, I tiptoed down the disgusting bus steps in my new Wal Mart ankle socks,snatched up the bag in shame and put them back in the same goddamn spot I pulled them from.

The driver got lost seconds after getting on the freeway, so I watched him poke back on, then I remembered the sleeping pill I didn't take and crawled into my hovel on the bus floor and fell into a deep painful sleep. Right before I closed my eyes, I saw the person behind me's toenails.

Next customer paying with cash
I got woken up by the overhead announcement saying we'd be stopping shortly at a McDonalds for breakfast. I'd rather catch a mouse with my teeth. The McDonalds we stop at is not a dump and is not run like a soup kitchen, but for some reason the one lane I go into (we'll call it Cash only) is Cash only. I would have known that before I placed my order, but Little Miss Mexican Lips had horrible diction, obviously untrained and remarkably ethnic... like one of those employees at the Mexican pavillion at Epcot who serves the Margaritas. No I don't want extra vodka. I brought my own in the hootch canteen shoved between my butt cheeks 'neath my skorts, Nanafrita.

Brown worries
I worried walking back to the bus carrying my bag of greasy "food" that it would make me toot. Should I not eat it? I'm hungry. Should I eat it? I could fart on a bus full of actors. We're all already miserable from the bus ride, the breakfast, the economy, and now we have to smell toots? I will be hated. I eat the food.

I'm in darkness now
I sleep with an ipod on my ears playing podcasts about technology. The people in them are talking in a creative roundtable. They are happy and laughing at jokes and discussing things they did on movie sets. I listen to them and dream I am with them, laughing along, not lying face-down in a puddle of drool on a pillow with no pillow case on top of an unopened sleeping bag and a $7 maroon body pillow... with toenails in my eyes.

We're here. In one hour.
After a pee break at a California Info Station which ends up being the first floor of a 5 story office building, we get back on the road and I go back to sleep. We stop at a mall for lunch... 30 minutes from our destination. I find this so funny I ignore my tummy ache, headache and dizziness. I never have headaches. I am sure it's cancer and disembark the bus in pain. I let out a flowery fart that, if visualized, would look like a circus tent covered in cotton balls, as I walk into the 1960s mall.

There's no food court
We stop at the one mall in America with no food court. Goddammit. It's a sad mall in the midst of refurbishment for my enjoyment. No goddamn food court. I walk in circles like a blind poodle because I'm in such pain. I buy a Diet Coke near the elevator in Sears and walk back to the bus dizzy and more retarded than ever.

I get to the hotel, kill 2 hours sitting on my bed checking email from 2 people, eat 5 cookies in the lobby, do a show (horrible as always), eat pizza (who invented this food? it's absolutely disgusting.) and sit in bed laughing at this post until I fall asleep.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Resolution assistance from a Broadway producer

The Broadway producer Ken Davenport keeps a blog, and on it he left the following advice about 2009 & New Years Resolutions.
"I don't care what your New Year's resolutions are. I only care if you keep them. Make this the year you do. Write them down and put them where you can see them every day: in your wallet, by your computer, on your mirror. Or comment even your resolution on this blog. And then, don't cut yourself any slack. There's too much at stake. Happy New Year everyone."
I gotta start taking people's advice. So, I'm starting with this. I wrote my three goals for the year down on a shard of notebook paper. If you picked up my wallet and opened it, it's the first thing you see. I don't have a mirror, so I can't put anything on it. And as for the "by your computer," I made a desktop with the three goals and a photo of a torn ticket from the Chicago Improv Festival for my one performance of Improv Cabaret. See below.

If you don't like/know me, this wil be boring

The theatre in Tucson: 2,000 seats

Ever heard of Google?
Ok so I am seeing a trend. I go to a city, walk it for the first 2 days, take 5 million pictures of telephone poles and wig shops, and then (sound of car breaks screeching to a halt) I don't do shit the rest of the time I am in that city. The last day of the week comes around and I think "Oh, I should have looked online for stuff to do in the city."

Review THIS
So this week has sucked. Those reviews got into my head, did back flips and made me perform so poorly I almost fired myself. Basically, I thought I was doing well in the show for the past month or so, and then out of nowhere these 2 reviews hit me like a step-mom and I fell off the talent pedestal and into a pile of dinner theatre auditions. I questioned ALL of my choices and started to not trust any of my instincts. Were the reviewers right? Was I actually walking on stage and making the whole song about me and my "ad libs"? I didn't think so. But then I did. And then I wondered how I could put more focus on the story and not my "ad libs." I have no idea. I mean, I didn't think the ad libs were all that bountiful. So, I stewed in my own wretch the entire week, meekly sliding on thigh-high gold boots, a purple headband and a cape made for Queen Elizabeth (or Madonna) and trying to not ad lib, not be so "swishy" (as Variety called me) and focus more on the story. I of course was horrid.

I got sick last night. During the second show, my tummy sucker-punched me and the whole night was in teensy-weensy pain. It kept me up late (2am) and then woke me up (4am). Then when i was supposed to wake up (6:30am) I slammed the snooze button down so hard I woke up my cat in Orlando. Her name is Moomers by the way.

I finished reading Steve Martin's autobiography that only covers birth through the end of his stand-up career. I took one thing away from it: I am lazy and he was not. Meh.

Working on it
I had a convo with Dinger, my friend who's gonna direct me this summer in rehearsals for Improv Cabaret. If (a) we actually do rehearse and (b) we get something good going and (c) the producer in NYC who spoke to me about it in September 08 still wants to watch me do a performance of it for him in NYC, then hey. Maybe I can get a show in NYC! DeHaas? You listening? Screw Bush Gardens. We're going to off-off Broadway.

Second place is the first loser

I am down by six to Lady Maup as of 1-4-09. Are you going to let corporate journalism beat indie media? Are you going to let the person who called my Fringe show "pointless" beat the person who created that pointless Fringe show? Are you going to let the person with more hair than any one human should be allowed to have beat the person with more hair on his elbows than on his head? Change is possible. Be the change you want to see in the world. Vote Baratelli.

I love you.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Friday, January 2, 2009

Bye and thank you

1. I deleted over half my contacts on Facebook. It's gonna be about the people I know. Life's too short to read status updates on some guy I went to college with who never spoke to me then and doesn't now.

2. I dumped all the rss feeds I was subscribed to that didn't update regularly or have stuff I wanted to read. The main problem was a bunch of feeds I thought I should be reading but never did and felt guilty about. F*** that.
Thank you.
I wrote the reviewer in Tucson and thanked her for her review. I told her it made me think, which it did. She replied, "Did it make you think I’m an idiot? You are too kind. And very talented."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

This blog's most popuar posts

-Me and Dora the Explorer
-Horse balls above children
-Hollywood, California
-Portland, Oregon

-Kansas City has good bar-b-q and coke
-Unused Tubes
-Making Fires in the Bathtub

-Shoot Me Pedro, but don't hurt the blind girls
-I'm a blind poodle
-I don't have my own room & they do
-A monster with points
-Eyeballs and Judgement

Short Films:
-New York, New York

-Hit on Twice in One Day
-Wind Beneath My Wings, Drunk
-Me at Mic Check

-Beverly Hills Hotel Cocoa
Reviews | Email | Twitter | FaceBook | Youtube | LinkedIn | Website | Flickr

Reviews: Mark Baratelli as King Herod

(3-9-09: Mark Baratelli sings "King Herod's Song" in TN)

Name: Mark Baratelli
Role: King Herod (Photos | Video)
Production: National Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar (Website)
Dates: November 2008 through May 3, 2009

4/9/2009: Improv actor offers comic relief in 'Jesus Christ: Superstar'


"And in his one moment of brilliance, Norris has Mark Baratelli play Herod like a fey send-up of the Jewish King, fawned over and fawning, eliciting enough laughter to set up a great contrast with the crucifixion scene."
-Jim Rutter, Edge Philadelphia, Feb 4, 2009

"Special praise must be given to Mark Baratelli’s fabulous comic turn as King Herod. He takes the role to another level with a deliciously timed mix of nonchalance and flamboyance, supported by a group of women from Herod’s household."
-Steven McKnight,, March 19, 2009

"'Herod's Song' always serves as the brief comic relief from the drama, but Mark Baratelli, who performed this version, made it fresh. Baratelli turned Herod into an inebriated diva who delivered little barbs between vocals, such as "move please" as he elbowed his way through his harem between verses."
-Stephanie Merry, Washington Post, March 19, 2009

"You might have seen his 'show-saving star turn' as King Herod..."
-Seth Kubersky, Orlando Weekly, July 8, 2009

"Mark Baratelli made Herod’s comical scene the show’s liveliest and most colorful production number..."
-Andrew S. Hughes, South Bend Tribune, Feb 12, 2009

"Another performer of note was Mark Baratelli, who brought to life King Herod in a most interesting and entertaining way. He had the house in hysterics during "King Herod's Song." It was a fresh new twist to the tune and was truly delightful." (If you click through to the review the reviewer uses the name of the actor who played Pilate in this production instead of mine)
-Scott Novak, Niles Daily Star, February 14, 2009

"thinks King Herod stole the show"
-Charles Jensen, @chasjens, Twitter status update, March 18, 2009

"In the touring show, the stand out was Herod, whose role affords him the most latitude in performance. This show's Herod sang a Calypso version of his solo, with four Carmen Miranda-like back up singers. My only reservation is that the actor played Herod as a kind of mincing bitchy queen--and the last thing the gays need right now is to be connected to the crucifixion of Jesus, if you ask me. But he was funny, and he incorporated the most anachronism into his brief moment on stage, combining a divaness with the kind of critcal rancor usually reserved for restaurant reviews and NPR film reviews."
-Charles Jensen, Kinema Poetics, March 19, 2009

"Mark Baratelli's over-the-top Herod was a show-stopper"
-Ancourage Daily News, Dec 10, 2008

"...Mark Baratelli, whose flamboyant King Herod provided the otherwise melodramatic production with some much-needed and well-delivered comic relief."
-Matt Fountain, Mustang Daily, January 7, 2009

"Mark Baratelli stole the only scene he was in as a feminine King Herod."
-Jeff Korbelik, Lincoln Journal Star, January 25, 2009

"Mark Baratelli provides the comic relief as King Herod, floating like a butterfly, and sounding much like Butterfly McQueen."
>-Peter Filichia, The Star-Ledger, April 10, 2009

"But even more offensive than Mark Baratelli's over-the-top swishery is his utter disconnection from the story: This Herod shows no interest in Jesus' miraculous abilities, just in ad libbing and pulling focus to himself. It's a disgraceful performance in an execrable bit of staging."
-Variety, Dec 17, 2008

"And Mark Baratelli’s King Herod, who seemed to be played more to the audience than to Jesus? Oh, dear. His “King Herod’s Song” was zapped of all its sly humor and relevance to the story. One wonders if Baratelli knew what play he was in."
-Arizona Daily Star, Dec 31, 2008

"Only Mark Bartelli disappoints with a strangely uneven rendition of "King Herod's Song.", Brad Hathaway, March 12, 2009

"Although this juxtaposition is the appeal of the show, it was jarring at times, especially the quick back-and-forth between the modern rock ‘n’ roll bits and the more serious religious aspect. This was especially true of musical numbers such as “King Herod’s Song” during the trial of Jesus, where King Herod (Mark Baratelli) is portrayed as something akin to one of the “Queer Eye for a Straight Guy” cast.", Laura McKenzie, Mar 18 2009

"And heaven help us, but what was director Dalett Norris thinking when he staged "Herod's Song"? Having Mark Baratelli play Herod as a swishbuckler is one thing, but adding a bevy of bossa nova-costumed screamers and camping up the number so much he completely loses the song, destroys what should have been one of the shows most entertaining moments."
-Eric E. Harrison, ArkansasOnline, April 21, 2009

(Ted Neeley, Mark Baratelli)
Reviews | Email | Twitter | FaceBook | Youtube | LinkedIn | Website | Flickr

Skipped the Symphony

I had a shitty audition that ended at 3pm and the symphony tonight started at 8pm. I did my best to kill time, but by 6:30pm, with the cold wind blowing and nothing to do, I just rode the train home. I am a big fat mess.
More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

Improv Cabaret

Mark Baratelli at the Chicago Improv Festival 2008

What is it?
Mark Baratelli performs a 30-minute cabaret with music and story, completely improvised. Technically speaking, its called long-from solo improv peppered with musical improv.

Seen at:
Chicago Improv Festival
New York Fringe Festival
San Francisco Improv Festival
Miami Improv Festival
Charleston Comedy Festival
Dirty South improv Festival
Orlando Cabaret Festival
Orlando Fringe Festival
Santa Cruz Improv Festival

Watch a full show:

Santa Cruz Improv Festival, July 27, 2008

"It is what comic improvisation should be. Mark Baratelli is a freakin' comic genius! Go see his show!", 2007

"Singer/ improviser Mark Baratelli and his accompaniest were like a two-person Baby Wants Candy — the Second City group that improvises an entire stage musical — except his was a cabaret act. If you missed it, you missed one of the festival’s best performances."
-Charleston City Paper writer Patrick Sharbaugh, 2007

"Your voice is amazing. Your improv is amazing."
-San Francisco Improv Festival Producer Shaun Landry, 2008

"I continually get comments on what a tremendous performance you put on"
-Santa Cruz Improv Festival Producer Lee Ann Gray, 2008

"Had the audience captivated from the moment Mark hit the stage"
-Dirty South Improv Festival Producer Zach Ward, 2007

"Mark Baratelli's... cabaret set slapped a huge, silly smile on my face."
-Show Showdown Blog

"Mark Baratelli’s mind-boggling improvised songwriting technique insures no two shows will be alike."
-Watermark Magazine 2008

"The songs were good, the singing was very good and the storytelling was fantastic. It's not always what Baratelli says, but the rapid-fire/borderline A.D.D. way he says it, the sideways glance, the dancey pose, the selling it to the back row."
-Orlando Sentinel 2007

"Mark Baratelli’s "Improv Cabaret" is ... laugh-until-you-cry hilarious!"
-Orlando Sentinel 2009

"Mark Baratelli has an impressively showy singing voice and a nicely warped imagination"
-Orlando Sentinel 2006

"Finally was able to catch “Improv Cabaret” yesterday and loved it. I laughed out loud a lot, which is something I didn’t even do during TJ Dawe’s amazingly funny show! Really some great songs too, like “Praise God for the Untalented” and two songs about homicide. “Speaking of going nowhere… I moved to Orlando.” Hilarious."
-Brian Feldman, 2006

"Nowadays it's not enough to look for the big time onstage. Nowadays, if you're really on top of things, you go public before your stage is even ready. That's what Mark Baratelli is doing. He's not content just to put on a solo show, Improv Cabaret, at this year's Orlando Fringe -- he's also blogging and podcasting and MySpaceing (there's a verb for you) every step of the way."
-Elizabeth Maupin, Orlando Sentinel, Mar 14, 2006
YouTube | Photos | MySpace



January 1, 2009:

December 30, 2008:

I don't make connections, just bad impressions.

10-9-09 | When I speak to people, they get this look in their eye that tells me they are not impressed. The more I talk, the more they get that look. And then they walk away, never wanting to speak to me again. I don't make connections, just bad impressions. And that was *my* Thursday.
More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

Tucson Arizona Day 1

Some snaps from my downtown Tucson photowalk December 30, 2008.