March  2005  | This Issue

Claudine Jones
Scene4 Theatre and Politics

Harpo smiles at me
Seventeen unread emails
My system is 'go'


As an under-employed actor, I am under the unpleasant misfortune of having to maintain a day job. Don't get me wrong—they're nice folks at my day job.  I think I'm under-paid, but then under-everything seems to be the theme these days.  The Washer Rebate Program and the Roof Products Rating Board do good in the world & I am supporting them in my assistantly administrative way, but holy crap, what I'd give for a ten or twelve page scene to get my teeth into—a monologue maybe, a couple of costume changes & a –blast, my back starts to hurt and I have an almost permanent ache in the first joint middle finger right hand—too much backspacing. The endless quest for ergonomic equanimity! Was the human body really meant to sit and do what we apparently have to do to get a paycheck in the office world. (I'm not the greatest typist—although I heard somebody say they could type 120 WPM, I couldn't believe that, so I googled '120 WPM typing' and came up with all kinds of horsepucky about improving my speed and incidences of backspacing.  Yecch!  I'd rather clean my kitchen floor with my tongue than work on my typing speed.)

The specifics of these data are not really that scintillating once one gets past the initial novelty.  I do get a kick out of the little excel tricks I find, however I am deluding myself to think that I might become a 'guru' in such areas.  Yes, one actually uses such terms: 'Access guru', 'Mac guru', 'Word guru'. One could make an Excel Zen out of spreadsheets. I gaze into my monitor screen, temporarily lost in a reverie concerning the unqualified cow that just got the part meant for me. Snap back into the office by the rude beeping of the Kyocera printer begging for a manual paper feed.  

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It's a task anymore even to take a cursory look at film and theater reviews, both hard copy & online.  I zip through to the negative ones to get a sense of differing points of view & to laugh at their inane misstatements.  But ultimately they're guaranteed to be 50-60% plot and have either an opinion with which I agree or be a pointless meandering rant.  Or could be both.

So when out of sentimental curiosity, I checked out the documentary Inside Deep Throat tonight and then checked in with the Chronicle and with Rottentomatoes (84% Fresh!) I found the same annoying spread of overwrought opinions/pronouncements/blahblah.  Haven't read all of the reviews of course—although for purposes of a study maybe I could—but it's late and I'd rather write something of my own experience.

I confess I saw Deep Throat once—back in the early '70's at a Telegraph Avenue cinema in Berkeley—with my college roommate Joan.  I'd already seen I am Curious Yellow which contained male full frontal, and considered myself moderately prepared.  I believe we thought we'd just go to be naughty and have a giggle.  When we were back out on the sidewalk, Joan said something about not knowing it was going to be quite that explicit.  And boy was it.  In sixty-one minutes, we went from fairly innocent & somewhat naďve to shell-shocked. Like the poor self-righteous prosecutor Inside the documentary says, he has those images inside his head now & it's too late to go back & get them out of there.   

From the distance of years, I can't say that I was particularly traumatized by that film or that it had a deleterious effect on my own sex life; it didn't have that power. I was much more affected by the violence of Easy Rider or the rock-bottom pain in Midnight Cowboy. Or, damn! Who can forget the guy getting knocked in half by the airplane in Catch-22. I had nightmares!  For a film to wreak that kind of havoc on me I would have to take it a bit more seriously & I have to admit that I mostly laughed through Ms. Lovelace's contortions.  I was more taken by the sight of her friend in the kitchen; hadn't thought of that as a possibility.  Betcha she had a pillow under her butt.  I hope she had a pillow under her butt.  That table looked like Formica—stuff's hard & cold!  

No, I had no idea that Linda Lovelace would someday become a real person & that she might have issues

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This time next week the ladies in Film, A list or B, are all done with the Big Night & the gowns & jewels are put away.  My animator son Sam and I will have glutted on television & pizza most likely.  I don't have any hugely strong feelings about the nominees:  would have like to have seen more attention paid to The Woodsman and specifically Kevin Bacon.  So my picks are a just bit limp.  I go for Leo, always have and think Alan Alda (who is getting really good at these squirrelly weaselly types) is overdue.  What's wrong with Aviator?  One of the lamest remarks in regards this film was 'why do we care about Hughes?'  Hello? Is he not historical in some sense?  He's not Mozart, but he's not without renown.  Anyway, I like the shape of the film.  I love Annette Bening.  Natalie Portman was astounding.  Clint already won once, let Marty have it, but if it's going to make him feel like it was a pity vote, then no; make him work harder for it or let him join the multitudes of worthies who didn't get the nod. 

Now I'm gonna go watch On the Waterfront.  

©2005 Claudine Jones

Like an orthopedic soprano, Actor/Singer/Dancer Claudine Jones has worked steadily in Bay Area joints for a number of decades. With her co-conspirator Jaz Bonhooley, she also has developed unique sound designs for local venues. As a filmmaker, she is doing the final cut of YOUR EAR IS IN YOUR NOSE, destined for release next year or whenever her long time
technical task wizard Animator Sam Worf gets his head out of his latest render.

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