Stuff We're Saying

We read a lot of stuff, steal from a lot of sources, and collage them all together to make experiences for you. Our blog, Facebook, and Twitter feeds are the best way to find out what we’re thinking, saying, and doing — and to talk with us about it all.

OCTOBER 20, 2015 – AMERICA FOREVER REHEARSAL

Posted on October 20, 2015 by Haymaker

OCTOBER 20, 2015 – AMERICA FOREVER REHEARSAL

Connectomes — “a wiring diagram of all 100 trillion connections between the neurons of the human brain, an unimaginably vast and complex network known as the connectome.” – NY Times, Jan 8, 2015

Sebastian Seung

OCTOBER 13, 2015 — AMERICA FOREVER REHEARSAL

Posted on October 12, 2015 by Haymaker

OCTOBER 13, 2015 — AMERICA FOREVER REHEARSAL

Run for your goddamn life

Hold your breath the longest

Wrestle with a bear

STRUGGLE

1. Write a personal story about a difficult struggle that you’ve overcome. This should be a time when all the odds were against your success. But damnit, you did it. You won.
2. Convert your story into a recipe.
3. Perform your recipe-success story on a cooking show instructing the audience how to recreate your struggle turned success.

Balloon Breath: this is your fucking gift.

1. Blow up a balloon.
2. What’s in the balloon? Maybe let the balloon go flat. Maybe that reminds us of your breath. Maybe it sounds like a fart.
3. Blow up a balloon
4. What’s in the balloon? Maybe don’t let it go flat this time. Maybe preserve your breath in the thin plastic. Maybe tell us why it’s your fucking gift or soul or essence. Maybe tell us about the substance in there. What is it? What’s it do for you? Maybe explain it like we’re 12. Maybe try and sound technical, or not so technical. Just don’t be condescending. We want you to tell us honestly what the hell is in there. It really is a mystery to us. Maybe it goes flat again.
5. Blow up a balloon.
6. What’s in the balloon? Tell us what it means to hold it. To capture it. To turn your breath into a shape and object…a thing that exists in the world just like you do.
7. Maybe keep blowing up balloons. Maybe stop blowing up balloons and die.

James Victore Balloon

OCTOBER 6, 2015 — AMERICA FOREVER REHEARSAL

Posted on October 6, 2015 by Haymaker

OCTOBER 6, 2015 — AMERICA FOREVER REHEARSAL

Posing People

1. Prepare a recently deceased body for viewing.
2. Say aloud the thoughts, instructions, etc. as you’re preparing the body

Fridge Coffin Infomercial

1. Make an infomercial for refrigerators replacing coffins (see Jill Lepore’s “The Mansion of Happiness” below)
2. Make the theme music for the infomercial

Obituary — Reenactment

Stage 1
1. Performer #1 reads a recent obituary
2. Performer #2 reenacts the death of the person who died in the obit.

Stage 2
1. Performer #2 continues to reenact the death. With each revolution they should discover other aspects of their death, i.e. the geography of pain, the magnitude of pain, and the loss – physical/emotional/etc. etc.
2. Performer #1 should observe the reenactment first. Then at some point during the revolution, they should create another obituary of the dying person. This could look like any number of things: an oratory tribute, a categorized list of thoughts / senses / memories, a description of a random event.

Jill Lepore’s “The Mansion of Happiness” – p. 175-176

From a short story – “The Penultimate Trump” – by the father of cryonics, Robert Ettinger.
The plot concerns H.D. Haworth, who is ninety-two years old and survives only because his doctors have cobbled him together. “They gave him gland extracts, they gave him vitamins, they gave him blood transfusions. They gave him false teeth, eye-glasses and arch-supports. The cut out his varicose veins, his appendix, one of his kidneys.” Haworth, pursing immortality with the same ruthlessness with which he had pursued an ill-gotten fortune, pays a brilliant young scientist to put him “to sleep in a nice refridgerator until people really know something about the body.” … Haworth makes his arrangements in secret, sure that if anyone were to find out what he was doing,” everyone would demand a Frigidaire instead of a coffin.”
….
Michigan is also where freezers came from. The first refrigerator for home use was sold in 1918. It was invented in Detroit; refrigeration was an offshoot of the automobile industry. By 1923, the year after the Ettingers moved to Detroit, a company named Frigidaire, owned by General Motors and based in Detroit, began selling refrigerators in cabinets for home use. A chemist hired by General Motors developed Freon-12. In the 1930s, General Foods launched Birds Eye frozen foods, By 1944, more than 85 percent of American homes had refrigerators, but freezers were scarce. During the war, they couldn’t be had for love or money; their sale was banned for the duration. When the war ended, Americans had babies and built suburbs and bought appliances, including two hundred thousand freezers in 1946, and twice that many the next year.

OCTOBER 1, 2015 — AMERICA FOREVER REHEARSAL

Posted on September 30, 2015 by Haymaker

OCTOBER 1, 2015 — AMERICA FOREVER REHEARSAL

Connectome

We’ll work on the Connectome scene from the script. Think about how your existence could be systematically organized onto a database. Think about just two minutes from your day. What senses did you use and how? Did the senses make you think about other things? Did they make you remember precious moments or a to do list or something sexy? Did you have an original thought during those two minutes? What was your body doing? How many times did your heart beat? How many breathes did you take? Etc. etc.

Pain

1. Imagine the most painful way you could die. On a notecard, describe it as a story.
2. Suggest a behavior modification that would prevent this painful death, i.e. if getting burned to death by a fire started from your own cigarette is the most painful way you can imagine dying, then stopping smoking is an example of a behavior modification that would prevent this death.
3. Think of a product or service that could relieve the pain entirely.
4. Hand the notecard to someone else to perform

No Blink Game

“that drive for life is so strong that the opposing objective experience cannot maintain itself.” That is, we want to live so badly that we cannot bring ourselves to believe that we will die.”
-p 45 “The American Denial of Death”

1. Two people sit across from each other. It’s a contest. Who can stare longest into the other person’s eyes without blinking wins. Play a few times.
2. A referee is added to the game. The ‘ref’ is a serious gal or fella. They take winning and losing very seriously. Deathly serious as a matter of fact. The ref arranges the two contestants for maximum level of competition and signals for the game to start and end. They say strange things like: “The more serious you are about winning, the better you’ll be.” “Don’t give in” “Don’t lose.” “Don’t give up hope.” “Fight it.” Play a few times.
3. Create Image: Turn the two contestants toward the audience. Dim the lights. The ref also should face the audience, and continue their duties of directing the start and end of the game and as the external motivational force.
4. Create Image: Turn off the lights completely. Light the heads of the performers. The ref – unlit – starts the game again. Audience should see eyes staring into the light without blinking. Struggle is key for the audience to note. Maybe the ref tells us something about struggle or struggling, over and over. Once a person blinks, they should keep their eyes shut and the light on their face/head should go out. Once both contestants are finished, and everyone is in darkness, the ref can start the game again -the lights shining again on the faces – or s/he can finish the game saying -”It’s all over now.”

***See Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” for a similar game***

SEPTEMBER 26, 2015 – AMERICA FOREVER REHEARSAL

Posted on September 25, 2015 by Haymaker

SEPTEMBER 26, 2015 – AMERICA FOREVER REHEARSAL

The Feeling of Loss

1. Through a gesture or phrase of movement, show us your feeling of loss:
—for an object you did not want to lose
—for an argument where you were wrong but wanted to be right
—for time spent doing something you later intensely regretted
2. Put all three gestures or phrases together
3. Pair up, combine your moves
4. Pair up again, combine all the moves
5. Dance

How To — “Coping Guide”

“…still another type of literature on death and dying has recently emerged. This latest literature can perhaps best be described, with no flippancy intended, as of the “how-to-do-it” variety, instructing survivors on the most dignified and rational ways of coping with the deaths of loved ones and of preparing for their own eventual demise.” – p. viii – ix “Death in America”

Performer #1 – Turn to the audience and speak to them like a four year old child. Tell them about their grandmother’s death today, the logistics of what happens to the body (from death site to funeral), and where the essence/soul of ‘grandma’ is now.

Performer #2 – Turn to the audience and speak to them like your neighbor, an acquaintance you have seen from afar, waved occasionally to over the years, and really always meant to have over for a drink or slice of pie. Yesterday you noticed an ambulance. Today, you arrived home at the exact same moment. They’re flagging you down. You wave. You ask how their day was and maybe that you saw the ambulance. They tell you how their spouse had a heart attack and died. Tell them how they’re going to recover, cope, move on – etc.

Performer #3 – Turn to the audience and speak to them as if they’re God. Give her instructions on how to cope with the death of all her creations.

No Blink Game

“that drive for life is so strong that the opposing objective experience cannot maintain itself.” That is, we want to live so badly that we cannot bring ourselves to believe that we will die.”
-p 45 “The American Denial of Death”

1. Two people sit across from each other. It’s a contest. Who can stare longest into the other person’s eyes without blinking wins. Play a few times.
2. A referee is added to the game. The ‘ref’ is a serious gal or fella. They take winning and losing very seriously. Deathly serious as a matter of fact. The ref arranges the two contestants for maximum level of competition and signals for the game to start and end. They say strange things like: “The more serious you are about winning, the better you’ll be.” “Don’t give in” “Don’t lose.” “Don’t give up hope.” “Fight it.” Play a few times.
3. Create Image: Turn the two contestants toward the audience. Dim the lights. The ref also should face the audience, and continue their duties of directing the start and end of the game and as the external motivational force.
4. Create Image: Turn off the lights completely. Light the heads of the performers. The ref – unlit – starts the game again. Audience should see eyes staring into the light without blinking. Struggle is key for the audience to note. Maybe the ref tells us something about struggle or struggling, over and over. Once a person blinks, they should keep their eyes shut and the light on their face/head should go out. Once both contestants are finished, and everyone is in darkness, the ref can start the game again -the lights shining again on the faces – or s/he can finish the game saying -”It’s all over now.”

***See Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” for a similar game***

Objects

“I once asked my friends if they’d ever held things that gave them a spooky sense of history. Ancient pots with three-thousand-year-old thumbprints in the clay, said one. Antique keys, another. Clay pipes. Dancing shoes from WWII. Roman coins I found in a field. Old bus tickets in second-hand books. Everyone agreed that what these small things did was strangely intimate; they gave them the sense, as they picked them up and turned them in their fingers, of another person, an unknown person a long time ago, who had held that object in their hands. You don’t know anything about them, but you feel the other person’s there, one friend told me. It’s like all the years between you and them disappear. Like you become them, somehow.” p. 116 – “H is for Hawk”

1. Haymaker brings in a collection of objects.
2. They place the objects around the room.
3. You chose a location from your past where you might find all of these objects. Be specific in your mind’s eye about where you are, when it is, etc.
4. Walk through the location. Develop a pattern, etc. Change your pace, adjust to the weather and the time. Use a flashlight, if you need to.
5. When you happen upon an object: Stop, pick it up, consider it, and then tell us about the “unknown person a long time ago, who had held that object in their hands.”

SEPTEMBER 24, 2015 – AMERICA FOREVER REHEARSAL

Posted on September 24, 2015 by Haymaker

SEPTEMBER 24, 2015 – AMERICA FOREVER REHEARSAL

Famous People Deaths

“Writing in 1907 Robert Hertz, a young student of Emile Durkheim, noted that in virtually all cultures the death of an important leader brought on a significant response by the society at large, while that of someone less critical to the functioning of the community was often barely noticed…The death of an important individual thus brings with it serious damage to the social fabric, and a natural and spontaneous effort is then made by the society to compensate for the loss.” p.x “Death in America”

1. As a group, list famous people’s deaths.
2. Try not to think too hard. The goal is to list them as quickly as you would count together from 1-60 or say the alphabet.
3. When you say a name, or hear someone else say a name, that you vividly remember the death, please say aloud: where you were, what time of day it was, how you felt about it. Share this information with feeling, but again be quick about it.

Existence Dance

“We all come into existence as a single cell, smaller than a speck of dust. Much smaller. Divide. Multiply. Add and subtract. Matter changes hands, atoms flow in and out, molecules pivot, proteins stitch together, mitochondria send out their oxidative dictates; we being as a microscopic electrical swarm. The lungs the brain the heart. Forty weeks later, six trillion cells get crushed in the vise of our mother’s birth canal and we howl. Then the world starts in on us.” – p. 468 “All the Light We Cannot See”

1. Use the above text to make a dance
2. Restrictions:
—The text must be heard by the audience while the dance is performed. It can be recorded or spoken live.
—Please insert or layer on sound effects

The Feeling of Loss

1. Through a gesture or phrase of movement, show us your feeling of loss:
—for an object you did not want to lose
—for an argument where you were wrong but wanted to be right
—for time spent doing something you later intensely regretted
2. Put all three gestures or phrases together
3. Pair up, combine your moves
4. Pair up again, combine all the moves
5. Dance

Euphemisms

“For the phenomenon of death has become something of an acute embarrassment to modern man: in a technological world that has effectively ruled out of order explanations of a mystical nature, man is brought up short in his inability to understand or give meaning to death.” — p.vii “Death in America”

“Even the words for death and dying are bypassed in much of everyday language by means of euphemism. It is not the disquieting ‘I die,’ but rather the anonymous ‘one passes on,’ ‘one ends his days.’ We ‘exit,’ ‘cease,’ become ‘defunct’ or ‘demised,’ but rarely die. The military makes death impersonal, and prevalent entertainment treats death not so much as a tragedy, but dramatic illusion.” p. 44 “The American View of Death”

“Jessica Mitford’s controversial treatment of ‘The American Way of Death’ provides countless examples of how the funeral industry, and the American people, still refer to death euphemistically. Funeral directors call themselves ‘grief therapists,’ the room where the body is laid out ‘the slumber room,’ and the total scene of the casket, flowers, and corpse, ‘a loving memory picture.’ The euphemistic manner in which we handle death exemplifies the proscription against talking directly about death; it reveals our desire to protect ourselves from the reality that is death.” p. 36 “The American View of Death”

1. Pair up.
2. Have a conversation about a fictional person that just died.
3. RESTRICTIONS:
—Never use the words die, death, or killed in the conversation
—During the course of the conversation, give a description of what happened to the person who died.
—Be embarrassed that they died.
—Be specific about why that wouldn’t happen to you.