B. Iden Paynes

It's one of those Autumn days that I remember so well from living in California, where it's chillier inside than it is out.  Not quite sure why that happens, but it gives me a nostalgic feeling nonetheless.  There aren't many things I miss about California, but sharing an apartment converted from a home, one in which Jim Morrison lived during his college days (people used to stop and take pictures of the house, which confused me until I figured out why) with my dear friend Berv, is definitely one of those things.  And eating at John O'Groats on Sunday mornings, slathering butter on biscuits as friends from my own college years sit tightly around a table and talk about our lives.  I miss that.  The sense of community. 

It's funny, because LA is not a place that fosters community.  Everyone is chasing their very specific version of the Hollywood dream, and this is a singular pursuit which tends to leave no room for casual friendships and allies (unless they can somehow further the aforementioned dream).  It causes people to become flaky.  Causes people who were already self-involved, actors, to become even more self involved.  But those college friends of mine were true, lovely people who knew each other before we got to the land where you can't really trust anybody, and I was very grateful to have them when I lived there.  I miss them.  Miss being close with them. 

In other news, I went to B. Iden Payne Awards on Tuesday, and it was quite a time.  Next year, I've made a personal promise to myself that I will have at least two drinks, because without the drinks, watching other people's drunken speeches isn't nearly as much fun.  Highlights of the evening included the musical performances from the cast of Passing Strange, and from Jill Blackwood of Zach's production of Ragtime.  Both made me emotional and stirred up empathy and zeal, and both made me want to rush the stage to be as close to the performances as possible.  I do think the ceremony could use some tightening up, but thought the committee did a wonderful job putting on a show, wrangling a bunch of heavy drinking theatre people, and providing lots of juicy and powerful, as well as hilarious moments.

 I did not win, but my dear friend Libby Detling sure as hell did, and I was so happy to see her take the stage with hutzpah and humor.  Best speech of the evening, for my money.  Was also so happy to see John Austin share a win for "best youth performance".  He flew in from college in Boston to be there, and I couldn't have been happier for him.  He's one of those idealistic, sincere and shining souls that I expect to see great things from.  Since I'm sending out congrats I also have to say huge congrats to winners Carl Booker (for costumes), Chris Humphrey (for best actress in a comedy) and John Vander Gheynst for musical direction.  This is John's second win in a row, and I'm not surprised as he's extremely talented and his musicianship is amazing.  I was a little surprised Molly Wissinger wasn't paired up with him in the nomination as vocal director, since it seems as if the two people split the duties of what is often one person's job, but nonetheless I'm real happy. 

Joe Hartman