Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Play, Robert Frost, et al

Hi everyone!
Please if you're planning on seeing the play send Steven a note. His email is I'm off to Franconia, NH for the Frost Place Festival of Poetry. This means I'm incommunicado for a few days. I'll finish my tales of California upon my return. In the meantime...see you in the funny papers!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

All the World's a Stage and I'm stuck on it

Hi everyone! Just a note to let you know I'll be performing in the one act play Steven McCasland and I put together. Here are the particulars:

by Jack Wiler, adapted for the stage by Steven McCasland

Jack works as an exterminator for ACME exterminating. But he goes home to write poetry in Jersey City in an old armchair and a window looking out over Palisades Avenue. On top of it all, Jack has AIDS. Through illness, he rediscovers himself and reclaims his life. Jack's beautiful book of poetry sings and made a perfect adaptation for the stage.The one-man play was workshopped in April and starred Jack Wiler in the autobiographical piece. For four nights only, Group Therapy revisits the revamped text, with new poetry by Jack. Each night, a different actor will step on stage and fill Jack's shoes. Gender and race do not matter in his tale. Join us for an exciting and emotional journey.

August 5-8, Pace University's W501 Blackbox Space, 8pm
1 Pace Plaza, New York, NY 10038
[Across from City Hall Park, Pace is located at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge
and is accessible by the 2, 3, A, C, J, M, Z, 4 and 5 trains.]

All tickets at the door are $10.
Reservations are STRONGLY encouraged as space is limited.

The performance schedule is as follows:
August 5, 8pm: Jack Wiler
August 6, 8pm: Martin Cohen
August 7, 8pm: Steven McCasland (Adaptor/Director)
August 8, 8pm: Kerrie Bond

Directed by Steven McCasland
Lighting and set designs by Steven McCasland

To reserve your ticket, simply respond to this e-mail: or call (631)-374-7886.

We look forward to seeing you at the theater and wish you a happy, healthy summer!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mutant Rats and Me

In case you didn't know it (and you probably didnt') I was part of a History Channel documentary on "Mutant Rats". Total bullshit but kind of fun to watch. When I sound like the most normal person on camera you know something's wrong. Check out the genuine New York denizens. It's a real gas! Here's the link to the YouTube postings:
Have fun!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Western Edge

Join our merry band of travelers as we move west. First to Rolla Missouri. What a wonderful place! And what a glorious Holiday Inn. For the first time we are into the rhythms of the road. We disembark from our Chevy wagon and pile into the pool and thence to dinner. Candied apples! I'd never had candied apples but we had them at dinner. Everyone was nice and pleasant and all of us were nice and pleasant despite our crewcuts and the trip and the closeness.
Next day is Amarillo Texas. Not so nice but it's called Amarillo and now we're officially in a place not like the east coast. Dry plains and Mexicans and weird shit. We're going west on Route 66 and from here the trip gets good and bad and fun. My dad never stops but after Amarillo we drive through desert and visit the Petrified Forest and the Great Canyon and I almost faint in the desert it's so hot in the car. This is going to another planet. Then we wind up a mountain pass and we're in Flagstaff, AZ. Pheonix Arizona, don't forget Winona, Kingman, Denver, San Bernadino. It's Route motherfucking 66!! We've watched the TV show, we're entranced, we're hot as motherfucking hell. Remember, no AC.
Then after Flagstaff it's a long slow coast into Las Vegas. My grandmother and aunt love Las Vegas. So do me and Mick. We know what to do with slots from Terry Flemings basement. We're pumping nickels in the slot machine in our hotel and we're making real cash! Not like Terry's house where you had to give it all back. Then we're shut down. Apparently only grown ups are allowed to lose nickels. Bummer of bummers. But it's Las Vegas! Neon and heat and gambling and then the long ride into southern California and Ventura and my Aunt's house. Where I would turn into every dickhead teenager in the world. More on Friday.
Surfers, skateboards, Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, me watching TV and not having fun.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

First Leg

Okay, back to the trip, back to 1964, back, basically to hell on wheels. To refresh your memory we have me and Mick and Ted in the back with our heads buzzed, my midgety baby sister who's only three, my Grandmother Glading (Nonny), my Aunt Gersh, my Dad and my Mom jammed in a 1963 black Chevy station wagon with a rear seat driving west on the PA Tpk heading towards the promised land. LA. Or to be more precise my Aunt Gert's house in Ventura.
We have a U Haul storage rack on the roof to hold our shit and my Dad and my Aunt are the primary drivers. My mom is teaching us all stupid car games to keep us from killing each other and we're motoring along at 60-65 mph to heaven. Our first stop is scheduled for Columbus, OH or thereabouts. We not only achieve that, we break down in Columbus, OH. If I remember correctly we blew a head gasket which necessitated emergency repairs which somehow were completed in enough time for us to leave the next morning. But we were delayed.
For the old man this was a disaster. Delay was tantamount to being in hell. We spent the next night some place in Indiana. In a Holiday Inn. We spent all our nights in Holiday Inns. For a good reason. My old man figured out we knuckleheads would immediately go to the pool, my Grandmother and Aunt or some variation would take care of Mary Louise and Dad and Mom could go to the bar for a cocktail to recover from eight hours of driving hell.
We were not good children on the road. We really weren't good children not on the road. As I've mentioned previously Mick and I fought like cats and dogs. Well, that only got worse in close quarters. Plus Ted had finally found someone he could pick on. Top that off with the old man and Gersh arguing about routes, speed, gas, etc and you have a toxic stew.
Tomorrow we end up in Missouri. Which we all liked. Then Amarillo. But, more to come. For tonight, sleep tight my little readers and dream about all the nightmare trips you and your families ventured on. Remember having to pee and needing ice cream and getting backhanded somehow from your Dad in the front seat. Life was wonderful and we were evil little monsters.
With no hair.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Reunion and all that

Okay. It was ungodly cool. But it was so cool I need a couple days to think. In the meantime shoutouts to Ruthie Felch, Sheri Wakley, Sheila McGlauglin, Suzy, Linda Lewis, Joyce Murphy, Terri Sergonne, Joyce Hoefers, Karyl Carter, Bruce Zahn, Grant Karsner, Terry Fleming, Chris & Steph DeHart, Jim Combs, oh shit...I'm almost mentioning everyone. Oh, Jill Springer. Don Davis. Jeff Schultz. And more. And more.
We all know it was weird and cool and disorienting but aren't we all better people now? Love you all! More to come! Manana!
Muchas Gracias for the best night!
Barb Conway... You rock babe! Dottie...You too! And Margie...Wow!
Life is but a dream.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The 4th and all that

Before we rejoin my Mom and Dad, my Grandmother, Aunt Gersh, Mary Lou, Ted, Me & Mick we take a brief side trip to Wenonah in the year 2008. It is fifty years since I moved here with my family and as with most years I made my way to Mantua Ave for the parade at 8:45. Well, actually, I got up at 5:12, showered, threw my shit in the trunk and drove to Wenonah at 5:50 to arrive at 7:50 for the parade at 8:45. It was raining a bit but I was smart and even though I was stupid and left my umbrella I went to CVS and bought one. So I spent a few minutes walking the streets of Wenonah, past my old house, my grandmother's house, the Fleming's house, the Condell's, the homes of Sharon Hoffman and Kathy Collinge, Robby Cook's house and then up to the park. I spent a few minutes in the park reading the names on the memorials to those who served their country.
Not so many in WWI but around 34 young men in WWII and then those in Korea and Vietnam. The WWII memorial is hard to look at. So many men on there were the fathers of my friends. There are stories that were common across America but up close it takes you back a bit.
Then I called Barb Conway and went to wait at her house for her husband Charlie (a fireman) to call and tell us whether the parade was on or not. On it we were off. Off to the best 4th ever! Everyone was there Chris and Steph DeHart, Terry and Arlene Fleming, Dottie Chattin, Suzy Parker, my brother Ted, Ron Fay, you know, if I listed all their names that's all this post would be. The Bonsal Blues and the Hobo Band faced off in front of O'Connor's! I spent a good half hour talking shit with Victor Anderson about the Buddha and our wild acid trip of summer 1971.
Jim Maddox and I spent a great deal of time talking with Carey DeGeer about blogs and writing. Beer flowed. Fortunately there's a Porto-Potty at the O'Connor's!
Then on to the Firehouse. Bought my mug, got my three tickets, and there was the whole rest of the Wenonah universe!
Three wonderful things happened there. The first was that several people who I didn't know, or barely knew came up to me and said how much they liked the blog. Sweet. One wonderful woman even asked after Johanna! Very sweet!
The second was I found out I was on the History Channel! I'd thought I got left on the cutting room floor. Now my ego is the size of Chicago!
The third was I found out that Judy Kiernan had died. Now this might not seem wonderful news but in fact it was. Judy was a much picked on woman from my class in school. She was large, slow, and socially awkward. We smart guys loved making jokes about her. We were assholes.
Anyway Judy's ambition in the yearbook was to be happy in the convent. I remember going home one college vacation and reading this while I mega high on acid. It was the saddest thing I ever read. So to get to the happy part...Judy died in the convent. One hopes she was happy.
We thought we were such smart kids. Fools. This woman who we all humiliated had more depth and courage than any of us. Tonight at the reunion I'll lift a glass in her memory...and in memory of all those who seem broken or lost. They redeem this world.
So, enough mush! After the firehouse we repaired to the Telford for food and the party just kept growing...Jim Combs and his wife, Charlie from the firehouse, Suzy, her brother Billy, Terry, Arlene, Chris, Steph all of us talking and talking and talking. It augers well for tonight.
After the Telford I went to my niece's. She was having a keg party. No one, well one guy with his 20 yr old girlfriend, was even close to my age. They were heedless and happy and smoking and drinking and it was like being in Wenonah in 1971 all hopped up on our energy and power! Beautiful.
Then tired from standing I went back to Mick's and fell asleep at 7:30pm. Old man Wiler. Ha ha!
Tomorrow I'll give you the straight dope on our reunion. Oh, and for Terry and Suzy: Lundquist you chicken, get on a plane and get your ass out here!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The End of Days

Okay, you've probably noticed I haven't written shit. Because I haven't. Because it's summer. Because there are tons of bugs to kill. Because I'm a lazy fuck.
But I'm willing to move forward and in order to do so I'm skipping most of 6th grade. it was fun but dull and not a challenge. Yes, I discovered girls but not in real earnest till the summer and the next few years. So fuck it, it's gone.
But I think it's important to note that the end of 6th grade was the beginning of a rise in music that nobody was ready for. The Beatles, the Beach Boys, Motown, the Dave Clark Five, and on and on. Plus these bands all looked different than the rest of America. Long hair for one. Wild clothes for another. We weren't stupid. We caught on.
Mick and I spent most of 1964 trying to grow our hair. The clothes were out but we thought we could muster Beatle haircuts. We were doing modestly well when my family decided to go to California the summer before 7th grade. For reasons only an evil parent can explain my old man decided to give us both crewcuts the day before we left. We were going to the land of surfers and the Beach Boys with shaved heads! Disaster, Ruination! Humiliation! Total Humiliation. We were mega fucked.
Plus we were going to the land of cool with our parents and grandmother and aunt. Not cool. In a station wagon. "Little GTO" this was not. We're talking a chevy with a roll down window in the rear, no AC, and a UHaul storage thingie on the roof. Basically pre-teen hell.
So we bundled up all our shit at some god forsaken hour. My old man believed in leaving early so it was probably 6am and off we went. Me, Mick, Ted, Mary, Nonny, Aunt Gersh, my old man and my mom. Things could only go downhill from there. And they did...more to come!