Hooked

Hookedbill Today I’m featuring a different sort of Siren, New York City playwright Danielle Burby. The opening night of her new play Hooked is sold out, but if you’re lucky you may still be able to get tickets to one of the other nine performances at Bare Bones Theater Company.

Danielle is a writer-in-residence at Dramatic Question Theatre Company. She’s also a literary agent at HSG, and—full disclosure—she’s my agent. *resists urge to add lengthy string of smiley emoticons* When I asked Danielle about the inspiration behind Hooked, she generously provided the following about the play, and her creative process.

Hooked is about a three roommates in their early twenties—one a hopeless romantic, one with a hidden past, and one with a fear of attachment, as they navigate the world of modern-day dating, love, and friendship. For twenty somethings, casual sex is an expectation; it’s the price of admission. The hookup culture is a mentality that informs how people approach everything from one-night stands to romance. I wanted to examine how different characters with conflicting desires and priorities react to this strict set of cultural rules. Hooked explores how this plays out in one weekend that changes everything. I actually started writing this play for fun when I was a junior in college and, my senior year, it morphed into a much bigger project that my school went on to produce. That version of the play is so different from the one that Bare Bones is producing that it feels like a completely different show to me at this point. The characters are the same, as is the overarching plot (for the most part), but the actual scenes and dialogue, are almost completely new. I think a real turning point was when I decided to add a bit of a ticking clock and condense it all to one weekend. Before that, even though the same things happened, it sprawled over months. I like it a lot better this way. This play went through years of revisions, which was sometimes fun and sometimes painful. The actors are definitely breathing new life into the show for me. Sitting in on the rehearsals is so entertaining, although I always feel a little silly when I laugh at my own dialogue. I can’t help it, they make it really funny.”

Hear that writers? YEARS of revision. And let’s not forget, a ticking clock. Pace is so important, and Hooked zips right along. After reading the script, I asked Danielle if I could post a bit of dialogue—the way I usually post lyrics here on Sirenstories. This is the part Danielle chose. Love it.

TESS:
Okay, how about while we wait I tell you about the guy I went home with last Saturday?
EMMA:
You told me about him already. With the whiskey?
TESS:
No not him. That was Friday. I’m talking about the guy from Saturday. The one with the plaid shirt?
EMMA:
No you didn’t!
TESS:
Ok. Well. We go back to his place-which is a pigsty by the way-and we’re messing around and he’s a really good kisser and I’m like, this is going to be amazing and then he goes, “I don’t have a condom so we’re going to have to do this raw dog.”
EMMA
He didn’t!
TESS:
He did.
EMMA:
Oh my god I can’t believe he actually said that! You didn’t though, right?
TESS:
I’m not stupid Em. I was like, “Well you’d better find one because there’s no way we’re doing it without.” So, and this is no joke, he literally put on his boxers, took a pillow to cover, you know, his area, and ran out into the hallway knocking on doors and asking people if they could spare a condom.
EMMA:
Oh my god! How does this crazy stuff always happen to you?
TESS:
I have no idea.
EMMA:
Did he end up finding one?
TESS:
Well, this guy down the hall lost his keys and cell phone at the club and couldn’t get into his apartment, but he had a ton of condoms-which he definitely didn’t need, by the way-and so he said we could have as many as we wanted as long as we let him sleep on the couch.
EMMA:
And did you?
TESS:
Yeah, why not? It was a pretty good deal all around.
EMMA:
But, you had sex while a random stranger was asleep on the couch?
TESS:
Hon, if I’m willing to have sex with a guy I’ve just met why would I have a problem with a drunken stranger in the next room while I do it? At least we got the condoms!
EMMA:
You’ve got a point. (Beat) So was it good?
TESS:
(Overplaying it a bit.)
So. So. Good.
EMMA:
Lucky.

Check out Kyle Grant, Stephanie Kaltsas, Marina Montes, Miriam Korn, and Ravi Tawney, the cast of Hooked.

Jeff Bennett is the director of Hooked, and as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, opening night is sold out. Apparently this is one of the best pre-sales experiences ever at Bare Bones—congratulations Danielle! And congratulations to the cast and director as well. Break a leg, Sirens!

You can connect with Danielle Burby on twitter and fb. Follow the blog Danielle runs for HSG here.

All The Pretty Things Between

Face The King Lyrics copy 1

So. Hard. To decide.

Which Face The King song to feature. Because my head is all . . . blurry.

Being in love does that.

And Eric Zirlinger has a voice to fall in love with.

The first song I heard by the New York City based band Face the King was All The Pretty Things Between. With one chorus—the band had me. It’s just such a . . . Lemonheads thing to say. (Yes, they’re still around, who knew?) All The Pretty Things Between. It’s a book title. A movie. A life. Plus, the infectious, poppy chorus reminds me of the Stone Roses, on a really good day. Caffeinated.

Then there’s The Science Apart, which takes its cue from the early music of U2. And You, Me & the Sound, a whirl-around-the-room song, that again, makes me think of Bono.

But I think The Stage is the Face The King song I love the most, so that’s the one I’ll post.

“Well I just want to be

Onstage

When the lights go down . . . ”

On their website, the members of Face The King call themselves an “independent alternative hard rock band”, and they definitely are. But on The Stage, the first verse is whispered, and the languid vocals of the first chorus have a delicate beauty that builds until Eric Zirlinger slides into a falsetto so full of yearning . . . it’s like a spill of late afternoon light.

By the end of the song Zirlinger is practically shouting, and that works too. If you’ve ever wanted something so badly you’ve cried for it, you’ll feel this song.

I imagine Linkin Park fans in particular will love The Stage, and some listeners might even say that the song is graced—just for a few gorgeous notes—by the spirit of Jeff Buckley.

 

You say that I’m a dreamer . . .

But you’re calling my name

You say that I’m failure . . .

But you’re calling my name

 

Well I just want to be on stage,

When the lights go down

I just want to be on stage,

When the lights go down . . .  

 

You say that I’m a liar,

But you’re calling my name

You say that I’m an alien,

But you’re calling—you’re calling my name

 

I just want to be on stage,

When the lights go down

I just want to be on stage,

When the lights go down . . .

 

They’re calling my name

They’re calling my name, (I just want to be)

They’re calling my name, (I just want to be)

You’re calling, You’re calling, You’re calling my name . . .

 

I just want to be on stage,

When the lights go down

I just want to be on stage,

When the lights go down . . .

 

They’re calling my name, (I just want to be)

You’re calling my name, (I just want to be)

You’re calling my name . . . 

 

Face The King is Eric Zirlinger (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Dan DelVechio (lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Joey Dammacco (bass, synth, backing vocals), and Randy Palumbo (drums, percussion).

Singer Face The King

Face the King Guitar

Face The King Bass

Face The King Drums

PS Great news: You can get these songs for free, along with one more. A stadium ready, anthemic tune called The Burning and The Falling Down. The five songs comprise The Sound, a preview EP that’s newly released in anticipation of the band’s full length CD.

I don’t know how long Face The King will be giving away The Sound, but for now it’s available to download.

And then you can listen to it over and over.

Using Music to Protest Mountain Removal

2:3 Goat

Stream of Conscience from the New York City based band 2/3 Goat (pronounced: Two-Thirds Goat) is more than just a great bluegrass song with an edge, it’s a powerful protest song in the vein of the legendary Pete Seeger.

And that’s it. I don’t want to waste another second on words. You must listen to this track, and then please, spread the word.

Music has the power to change the world, and I hope the metrobilly of 2/3 Goat does exactly that.

Although I don’t often post video, I’m including the music video for Stream of Conscience here, because it’s amazing, and because it will show you what mountain top removal mining looks like, if you don’t already know. Plus, it gave me goosebumps. I’m happy that 2/3 Goat found Sirenstories, and proud to feature their music on the blog.

A few words about the video from 2/3 Goat:

“Protest footage (courtesy of Jordan Freeman) is from the March on Blair Mountain, a march to save historic Blair Mountain from being demolished by mountaintop removal. The 2 men on the sign: Sid Hatfield, sheriff of Matewan, WV, and his deputy Ed Chambers. The pro-unioners were shot and killed on the steps of the courthouse while awaiting trial. This led to the Battle of Blair Mtn (1921). 2/3 Goat is against the destruction of any Mountains. They are all part of our rich history and our livelihood.”

Stream of Conscience is the title track to the second album from 2/3 Goat, and was recorded entirely on vintage equipment. Get Stream of Conscience here.

Learn more about 2/3 Goat and earn yourself some karma points by liking their fb page, thank you!

Do Sirens Wear Sensible Shoes?

I love this lyric:

Moving Day, I tore up your picture and packed the frame.

Check out Moving Day by Sensible Shoes.

Catch Sensible Shoes tonight at the Orchard House Cafe, NYC.

Read my earlier blog to learn more about the Vermont based band Sensible Shoes the group film director Jonathan Demme says, “Rules the blues news!”

Click on the poster to connect with Sensible Shoes on fb.