It’s Friday. Turn up the music…

 

Everyone knows Purple Rain was a huge breakout film for Prince (that album was actually his SIXTH album!), but his best film was, without question, the concert film Sign o’ The Times.  Trust me on this.  I still have the film… ON VHS!!  YES, VHS.  No, YOU shut up – I’m old!

Trust me.  Just push play on these videos.  Turn your volume up.  ESPECIALLY if you’re at work. Everyone in your office will appreciate it.

 

Watching Prince play that guitar, Sheila on the drums, and Boni Boyer in this first video “I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man” is just amazing.  And watch the second video to see Prince and Boni double-down on the funk.  So good.  (The second vid is them combining two songs, “Forever In My Life” and “It” in a fantastic blend.)  This was 1987, but it’s absolutely timeless.

 

Amazing Anniversaries and Other Awesome Things

The last couple of weeks have been full of positive things.  Not everything, of course, but right now I feel like focusing on the things that are making life wonderful.

My son came home from Germany!  After 7 months, it’s great to have him back.  Now he’s prepping for Western Michigan University in the Fall.

Jeanne and I celebrated 25 years of marriage.  Can’t believe it’s already been that long!

This week is my 5 Year Anniversary of coming home from the hospital after my meningitis coma “vacation”, as my wife calls it.  So many memories popping up on Facebook, and nice comments from people.  It was 5 years ago yesterday that I came home after being gone for two and a half months in St. Joe’s of Ann Arbor.  So, as I do every year, I celebrated by taking them fruit and chocolate gifts, and “Thanks for keeping me alive” cards!  If you see a doctor, or a nurse – thank them.  They’re heroes.  Without those amazing people I would’ve missed my kids graduating high school, my 25th wedding anniversary, the pride of seeing my kids go to other countries and become independent amazing human beings… and so many other things.

Other great things:  Opened The Gin Game, the 76th production at Williamston Theatre, to great reviews and thrilled audiences.  Held general auditions for our upcoming 14th Season, which I am IN LOVE WITH.  Our summer show, which is a co-production with Tipping Point Theatre, opened at their space and is terrific, and I am excited to get it to Williamston.  The new season of Major League Baseball is upon us – and even though the Tigers are going to have a challenging rebuilding year, it’s going to be fun to watch.

Jeanne and I have had a fun time looking at houses lately.  We love the house we’re in, but with us entering the “Empty Nest” phase of life, we’re looking to downsize a little bit.  It’s been 17 years – I’m done raking so many leaves!  🙂   So, big changes coming there, which are exciting!

So much happening.  I hope things are going well for you, too.  Spring is finally here, and with the new warm weather and sunshine we can enjoy looking forward to what comes next.

Marking the day

It was five years ago today that I collapsed at home and was taken to the hospital, marking the beginning of an ordeal that changed my whole life. If you don’t know that story, click here!

It seems crazy that it was 5 years ago – it feels like it just happened, but at the same tine it feels like it was a lifetime ago.

I am so grateful to the amazing people in my life who helped my family and I through that time. As awful as that was, it taught me how wonderful people can be, and how precious our minutes are. As I enjoy these extra innings of my life, I hope you all remember to enjoy your lives too. Love loudly, savor the world around you, every moment you can. Be a force of awesomeness and drag people in your wake! There is so much beauty to see, so much joy to share, so many people to embrace, and such an unknowably finite amount of time in which to do it – Be Relentless!

Opening Night for SILENT SKY!

So excited to open this show tonight. It’s the first production of our 13th season which, in itself, is a really cool thing. Plus, the script is a beautiful piece of writing by Lauren Gunderson. Moving, funny, inspirational – and based on real people and real events, which makes it particularly wonderful to work on.

There’s something special about doing a play based on an actual person, especially one who did some amazing things but doesn’t get enough recognition for it. Henrietta Leavitt helped change the way we see the universe today, which is a pretty incredible freaking thing. She looked at the men saying “Nope, you’re a woman, you can’t do that” and went and did it anyway, and made the world a better place.

It’s also been a fabulous process – starting another season with my co-founders John, Chris and Emily is always a special thing, but then you add in the amazing team of people I got to work with on Silent Sky and it makes for an even more wonderful event. The cast, the production team, the stage management team – everyone is at the top of their game, and it inspires me to be better. PLUS – when you mix all of that with the tale of Henrietta Leavitt, who saw the world and knew what she wanted to do to make it better, and DID it – it’s hard not to come out of that process feeling like you A) have work to do, and B) WANT to do it.

So – here we are! This autumn will be full of cool work, and I’m excited to do it. Jumping into that can wait, though… until Sunday, anyway! Now we celebrate, and keep trying to make the world a better place, through storytelling!

The Stoics… some quotes on life and happiness.

Caretake this moment. Immerse yourself in its particulars. Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed. Quit evasions. Stop giving yourself needless trouble. It is time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in now.
Epictetus

True happiness is a verb. It’s the ongoing dynamic performance of worthy deeds. The flourishing life, whose foundation is virtuous intention, is something we continually improvise, and in doing so our souls mature. Our life has usefulness to ourselves and to the people we touch.
– Sharon Lebell, translating and adapting Epictetus, in her book “The Art of Living: The Classical Manual On Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness”

“Forget everything else. Keep hold of this alone and remember it. Each of us lives only now, this brief instant. The rest has been lived already, or is impossible to see.”
Marcus Aurelius, from Meditations, as translated by Gregory Hays

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I really like these 3 quotes – the way they fit together. The Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius quotes, in particular, are so similar, yet they approach the “Now is the only moment” philosophy from different angles. Heaven knows I’m no philosophy expert. I like the pairing of the three, though, and I’m not exactly sure why.

Maybe it’s because of Lebell’s final sentence “Our life has usefulness to ourselves and the people we touch.” That sentence rings out, for me, and connects in a way that makes me hope I can make that true. If we approach life as Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius suggest – and embrace each moment as vital, and maybe all we get – then making those connections with the people around us, each moment, is key to living well, right? Practicing an “ongoing dynamic performance of worthy deeds”, as Lebell says, while taking care and effort to “caretake this moment” feels like a wonderful mix of how to try and tackle every day. Lord knows, it’s not an easy task by any stretch. I mean, on days when the bills are due and there are too many emails unanswered in the inbox, and you’ve had to skip lunch and really just need a nap, it’s hard to embrace a “feel good about NOW” mindset…

But then again, that’s probably when I most need to.