Monthly Archives: January 2010

January 26, 2010

My first off-Broadway show (which with luck will not be my last) opens one month from today.


Signs of Life is the story of a young girl who comes of age in the Czech ghetto Terezin, rechristened Theresienstadt by the Nazis, who filled it with Jewish artists, musicians, and intellectuals and turned it into a propaganda tool. Once she and her friends and family realize what lies in store for them, they begin to discover that some truths might be worth dying for.

If you live in or around New York and are interested in seeing the show, go to to buy tickets, which are $40-$55 unless you use the promotion code “AMAS,” in which case they’re $32-$47 ($8 off).

If you want to find out more about Signs of Life, you can go to, a fundraising site the writers set up, and/or, a site the producers set up. If you want to hear some music from the show, go to and check the sidebar on the right.

We’ve been in rehearsals for a week, and it’s going to be fabulous, if I do say so myself.

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January 21, 2010

This is the thing I always forget:

Rehearsing a show is fun.

Because you get to fiddle with all the little stuff. In between presentations (of whatever sort—readings, workshops, etc.) you’re spending your time trying to fix things that are genuine problems, like “The opening number feels disjointed and too long” or “We have three ballads in a row in the second half of act two, so we need to cut two of them or move them to elsewhere in the show.”

But once you get into rehearsal (assuming you’ve fixed most of the genuine problems you’ve been worried about) you get to play with the fun stuff. Like, today we decided that (for now at least) two characters who used to not sleep together are going to sleep together. We’re not sure it will work—there are later scenes that might be affected adversely by such a development—but we’re hoping we can keep it, because, hey, more sex is always better.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 2 Comments

January 18, 2010

I’m sitting in the first day of rehearsal for my first off-Broadway show.

This is kind of fabulous.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 6 Comments

January 11, 2010

My boyfriend is an insane lunatic who belongs in an asylum.

At least this is my contention; he for his part thinks rather that I am avoidant and passive-aggressive, which as we all know is a ridiculous idea.

In order to help me prove to him that I am right and he is wrong, I would appreciate your answer to the following question.

If you and your boyfriend/girlfriend/lover/partner/husband/wife/whatever are having a fight—say one of average proportions—and it gets to be bedtime and you’re sleepy but, even though you’re past the first flushes of anger, you haven’t resolved the issue(s) you’re fighting about yet, do you

a) say goodnight and you’ll talk about it more tomorrow and go to sleep, even though the fight isn’t over, or

b) stay up and talk about what’s going on until you’ve made up, even if it takes a few hours?

My boyfriend says that every relationship takes one option, or at least every healthy relationship; I contend that any couple choosing that option would very soon be imprisoned for attempted or actual murder.

Note, please, that to avoid protests on my boyfriend’s part I have worded the question as evenly as I could, without indicating which answer I want you to give.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 27 Comments

January 7, 2010


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January 6, 2010

So Michael Swanwick is teaching his week at Clarion [a science-fiction writing workshop], and one of the students hands in a long somber story full of angst and sodomy. Swanwick considers it and says, “What this story needs is more dinosaurs.”

The next story the student turns in does have dinosaurs in it, but it’s a piece of fluff. Swanwick shakes his head. “It needed more sodomy,” he says.

The student is flummoxed, and protests that he’s just trying to put into practice what he’d been told. Swanwick explains, to him and to the rest of the students, that writing is a matter of finding the appropriate balance of dinosaurs and sodomy.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 4 Comments

January 4, 2010

From page 21 of The Lobotomist, a biography I’ve just started reading of Walter Freeman, the man who popularized the lobotomy in the United States:

His earliest memory was a dramatic and disturbing image: the point of a pickaxe breaking through the wall of his nursery when the neighboring residence was being demolished.

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January 2, 2010

This afternoon:

E.S.: Ooh, your hands are really cold.
FAUSTUS: Just like my heart.
E.S.: No, because the temperature of your hands can be measured in Fahrenheit and Celsius, not Kelvin.
E.S.: …
FAUSTUS: A little obvious, but well done.
E.S.: Hmph.

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January 1, 2010

Then of course there’s always “each one more _____ than the next,” which is what “each one more _____ than the last” seems to be turning into.

“He saw before him a room full of nubile young men, each one handsomer than the next.”

Which is to say that they get uglier and uglier as they go. Which isn’t really what was intended to be conveyed. At least I hope not.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 5 Comments