Photos by Jeremy Daniel of my silent comedy act (“Tea for Two” with Hannah Rose and Ashley Grombol) and audience sketching at Brothers Booth last saturday. Next show is April 5th, tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/506776
Silent James Draws A Crowd at Speakeasy Dollhouse The Brothers Booth! This immersive theatre experience, set in the Players Club, called upon me to play the part I was born to play… myself!
As Silent James, I gave a completely silent performance of physical comedy and sketching audience members. I bruised my left knee pretty bad, but I feel that I have entered that prestigious group of silent comedians with my first performance boo boo!
I was part of the “Variety Show” in the first room- I kept the best company with the Taxi Dancers, Burlesque Performers and the wonderful band. Ashley Grombol did a marvelous job as host, singer, dancer and musician. I did an act with her and the super talented Hannah Rose to their musical performance of “Tea For Two”. Before this, I had only heard the song from the film Bronson (which I love), so it was a true pleasure for me! Lots of love to the Variety Show of Alexandra, Sara, Laura, Delysia, Francine, and the band Grandpa Musselman and His Syncopators.
It was wonderful seeing familiar faces, from past Speakeasy Dollhouse Bloody Beginning shows, in attendance. My lovely friend Victoria not only graced us with her presence, but dressed up as John Singer Sargent’s Madame X! It was incredible, as Sargent is a character in this show (played by the amazing actor E James Ford). Esther was wearing the most fantastic head piece of a jeweled peacock and feathers. She also made my boutonnière with a real callow lily, which many people were hesitant to sniff lest they be squirted with water. They have such imaginations our audience! It’s safe, I promise!
Solomon was also there dressed to the nines, no… tens! He got some in depth dancing lessons from the taxi dancers. Speaking of, Esther and I had a funny act going dancing around. I also had an epic 3min dance with the extraordinary WPIX traffic anchor Julie Grauert. I pulled out every dance move in my arsenal and she not only kept up with my nonsense, she kept me on my toes… literally! She’s super tall!
The second half of the night, I drew portraits of audience members. Let me just say, I was on fire. It’s not easy to entertain and draw and get it right the first time quickly. The guests crowded around to watch or wait their turn. One drawing I started of 2 wonderful lasses was cut short by a scene where the lights go out, but I finished the drawing in the dark. A lot of couples stepped up and the guys would step aside, I’d push them to get in the drawing. I have to tell you, the women were all so beautiful and elegant and the men were all chiseled hunks with classic good looks. It was so ridiculous, I REALLY hope some guests repost my drawings of them somewhere. If on twitter @SilentJamesL and on Facebook http://facebook.com/silentjames
The woman in one couple I drew loved the drawing but told me she’d rather have one with just her and I in it because her role was to flirt with Silent James. I took the drawing I did and threw it in the fireplace to hurry and start the one of us, all as a joke- there was no fire except for the burning passion for me her role suggested!
It was a very surreal experience, the nature of my part keeps me out of a lot of the story scenes so I didn’t get to spend much time with the actors in those. They are all so talented and I’ve gotten to know a few of them. It was also odd to be in a play with fellow actors I spend a lot of time with in the other show, but in this one I rarely see them. It’s like an alternate universe.
After the show was over and I could speak, I talked to Julie and she asked me if I should still be in jail (in reference to my character in the other play who gets arrested), to which I replied, “The police told me I had the right to remain silent!”
Apropos, I’m featured on page Three of “The New York Herald”. Joining me, are an extraordinary lot of gals and gents. The delightful and talented Taxi Dancers have got the moves, that really move me! Tickets for The Brothers Booth: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/506776
Painting of my dearly departed friend Dan Valle. It’s been five years, I miss him everyday. There’s a ghost bike in his honor at the base of the north bike path on the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge. He was one of my favorite people. Info here: http://ghostbikes.org/new-york-city/dan-valle
Painting of @WadeBarrett for a friend’s birthday card. Even among pro wrestlers, Bad News Barrett has the greatest job in the world!
An illustration I did for Kate Leinweber’s site: http://greenresonance.com/kids
She offers nutrition classes for children and adults. I love the work she does!
Do you remember these “NOT FOR KIDS” stickers they used to put on Anime vhs tapes? I always loved them. As a kid, it attracted me more to the videos, the design is just so funny. That kid is freaking out!!!
I think the first vhs I saw one of these stickers on was Akira. I’m a huge fan of the original 1988 Streamline dub, they redid it heinously for the dvd in 2001. It lost all of it’s poetry, charm and fun- but I just read today that the 25th anniversary blu ray has both on it. I guess they got wind of how terrible the new one was.
I think about the early days of anime in america. I imagine a room full of young adults so excited to be working on the english dub. Ambassadors of these tremendous characters that almost no one in the country knows of yet. Esther told me it was probably more like a dark and crappy studio with middle aged actor rejects smoking stogies in between takes and trying to hurry through the material to get to their next gig in New Jersey. Either way, it brings a smile to my face!
My favorites (because no one asked) are:
Ghost in the Shell- the original first movie. My favorite anime of all time! The music, the pace, the detail… magnifique!
Akira- means very much to me. The animation is insane. Except for the end, it is tip top.
Dominion Tank Police- transports me back to childhood like nothing else in the world. The music is lovely and the english dub is too hilarious!
Cowboy Bebop- my favorite series, a true masterpiece.
Unico in the Island of Magic- so, so, so insane. I love everything in it!
Dragon Half- wonderful mix of regular and deformed styles, so funny and original.
Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb (released by Manga)- one of my favorite films in general. A true original!
Castle of Cagliostro- it’s perfect!
Space Adventure Cobra- a new favorite series. The artwork is so incredible. The music, the story- it’s great!
Popee the Performer- so bizarre. I love it so much, it takes you to a very strange place. I could go on but I digress…
Ranma 1/2- one of the first anime I’ve seen and still one of my favorites. The characters and story lines are so funny.
Baccano!- another favorite series. A 1920’s/1930’s anime? Yes, it is glorious. Parts are slow but overall outstanding.
Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust- some of the most detailed animation of all time. Parts are really scary. I especially like the Marcus Brothers. The last 20 min is unbearable, but oh well.
Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood- the first season is a masterpiece, everything after is less interesting. Great US dub.
Nausicaä- my favorite Miyazaki, it’s brilliant!
Memories- All 3 parts are great but I love Cannon Fodder the most.
The End of Evangelion- amazing animation, crazy story.