Monday, April 28, 2008

“Atlantic City: Where Love Goes To….Thrive!”

Kate and I just celebrated the anniversary of our 7th year together in beautiful (if totally out of character for us) Atlantic City, New Jersey. “Really? Kate and Paco going to a casino resort?!” I know. It seems strange but it was kind of perfect and we never would have thought we’d have had such a good time. Two weeks ago we were at home deciding what dates would work for this mini-vacation, looking on the internet for some ideas for the big getaway. The only other time we took a similar trip was many years ago: a camping trip to Lake George. In a tent. Outside. We were young and reckless then and decided that this time we would be staying at a hotel that had at least three stars, a pool, and a view of the ocean. We just didn’t know where we were going to go. We looked at Vermont and the Poconos and then saw a package deal for AC.

Neither of us had ever been there or heard anything about it really, but the spirit of the moment overtook us and we giddily signed up for two nights just off of the world-famous boardwalk, hot tub(s!), indoor pool, gym, arcade, balcony and all of the one dollar slots you could ever want. And, it turns out, we had a pretty awesome time. There were some bumps along the way, most involving staring into the face of humanity writ large while walking through the casinos, but overall it was a really wonderful experience.

We took the first night to absorb all the glitz and glamour and then took the second day to relax and really experience the luxury of a new place. We ate at a bunch of awesome restaurants, walked along the beach, went rollerblading (in full protective gear—sexy!), and even took in a free showing of 42nd Street at the Tropicana. The concierge at our hotel had a bunch of comps to it and it seemed like a very vacation-y thing to do. (The irony of having to leave NYC in order to be able to afford a Broadway show was not lost on us.) So we took the tickets and made an evening of it—along the way having the best garlic mojo sauce we’ve ever had with our tostones at Cuba Libre.

During our time there, walking (in a daze at times) through the various casino floors, Kate said she had this ominous line in her head— “Atlantic City: Where Love Goes to Die.” It just seemed like drama and hardship could easily be found around the corner. We toasted each other when we left though, relieved we had made it out intact. Relieved that Caesar’s, The Taj Mahal, and Bally’s could not defeat our joi de vivre or our feelings for each other. But then again, the negative forces had no chance. Not when you consider that we got to spend “Adult Swim: 8-9pm” alone in an outdoor hot tub overlooking the Atlantic Ocean… And tried kissing on the boardwalk while going 8 mph on rollerblades… And made each other laugh after our now-famous verbal mélee with an 80 year-old misanthrope… Nope, I don’t think so. We were going to win out on that score anyway.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Great Debate

Here is one of the most interesting things I found on YouTube the other night at about 3 in the morning.  I had feverishly made my way through three episodes of the West Wing to get to the finale of season two and when I was done I checked my email and looked around on the featured videos section of YouTube.  And then I found this.  It blew my mind then and it blows my mind now; I've spent the entire week just trying to reason out all of the simple, amazing points made here.  Whatever you may think of Christopher Hitchens as a person, he's an excellent speaker.  His opponent Rabbi Boteach lost this thing by a mile but not without forcing some cracks in Hitchens' defense of atheism.  Check it out.

Friday, April 11, 2008


The battle is over.

Four weeks of highly physical performances, four before that furiously rehearsing, and somehow we all came out victorious on the other side. Victorious over our expectations, our circumstances—even our own bodies. What are some jammed fingers, bruised ribs, or a little light pneumonia when the feeling you get every night is this good and the company you keep is this talented? Ribs shmibs. Does it really matter that you’re out of breath, your legs are burning from a slow-motion knee bend and you’re curled up in a fetal position for the sightlines if out of the corner of your eye you can watch your fellow really nail a laugh line? I’ll tell you: it matters not at all. Because it was worth it. Because you did your part and now they’re doing theirs and we’re all on the train going to the same place, full steam ahead.

Everyone did really hard, good work and I’m planning on stealing their best bits for my own the next time I go out of town for a gig. Because imitation is the highest form flattery. And because I’m ruthless like Brando when he made that poor English extra his best friend just to get his accent right during Mutiny on the Bounty.

The show was also a Critical victory, and below are some select press quotes that deal with my work specifically. For a comprehensive breakdown of the criticism, Qui Nguyen’s blog Beyond Absurdity ( ) has full-text links embedded in his post about the reviews and they’re organized very neatly. It’s a great blog, too. You can also see a lot more at .

Huzzah to everyone involved. The day is ours.

“…Nguyen’s script has funny moments . . . many of which go to the android LC-4 (Paco Tolson), the play’s walking homage to The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…”

“Especially memorable is Paco Tolson as the robot sidekick, LC-4, who has some of the most laugh out loud moments of the evening.”

“How the General, E-V, and Adon-Ra eventually succeed …is the stuff of much merriment. It involves a particularly snarky blue-haired robot LC-4 (played to perfection by Paco Tolson)…”

“Paco Tolson turns in a scene-stealing performance enlivened by his priceless robot noises.”
—Show Business Weekly