I spent the morning rehearsing by myself, trying new ideas and tonight I ran scenes for a few hours with my assistant, Rachel. I feel ever so much better. Sleep! What a difference it makes for me plus having the time to work quietly, marinating in Moises notes from yesterday, and working through some glitches.
One of the things Moises talked about yesterday after the “stumble through” was how he feels that we’ve become a real company. He said the mutual support and love that has developed within this collaborative is palpable and is as important as what we see onstage. I agree. We are coming together and there is a feeling of safety and a shared commitment to each other and to the play as a whole.
This afternoon I had my second and last singing lesson. Deb Lapidus is so amazing in the way she finds metaphors to help me understand what she’s getting at. I asked Rachel to video the lesson to try and give you a quick sense (click here to see the video). Hey, it’s not that I have a lot of singing to do, but for a brief moment, I am out there all on my own with the opening bars of Kyrie Elaison and I have been terrified of it as my children can attest to. I practiced incessantly over Christmas to the point where they were making fun of me. I will bribe them not to laugh when they come see the play.
After that, I had a Pilates lesson and asked Rachel to video that as well. People often ask me what I do for exercise these days so I thought a little “show and tell” would be nice. I am a relative newcomer to Pilates. I had been going to a gym, I still lift weights and hike, but I have had a rotator cuff “issue” for quite awhile and the physical therapist recommended Pilates. It’s must what I need and I found a studio, Pilates on Fifth, owned by identical redhead twins who were former Rockettes. One of them, Kimberly, is my instructor. It’s somewhat hard to hear, but while she has me on the “reformer” working legs, she is explaining that originally, Mr. Pilates developed his equipment for soldiers who were bedridden. They needed something they could do while flat on the bed. (click here for video)
Then, I am telling her how worried I had been that the economic crisis would negatively impact her business. After the New Year I was thrilled at how busy they still were. I reminded Kimberly that I started my own Workout business in 1978 when we were also in a recession and that it, too, had been successful in spite of the economy. As she said, staying fit is at least one area where you can have some control when all else seems beyond our control.
I specifically asked Rachel to film Kimberly working with me on a brand new kind of equipment that originated in Norway. It’s called ActivCore and Pilates on Fifth is the only studio in NY that has it right now. It is very intense and their clients seem to really like it.
When I got back to my apartment tonight I received an email from my friend, David Zeiger. I first met David in 1971 when he was on the staff of a GI coffee house in Killen, Texas, near Fort Hood. I was there as a supporter of the powerful GI Movement against the Vietnam War. David later became a documentary filmmaker. One of his recent films is “Sir, No Sir!” which tells the little known story of this GI Movement. He interviewed me for this documentary and used some excerpts from my film, “The FTA Show,” which toured and performed for soldiers outside military bases in this country, Hawaii, Okinawa, the Philippines and Japan. David has subsequently bought the rights to and re-released “FTA.” His email was to alert me to this review by Docurama Films:
Star in the Newly Unearthed, Controversial Documentary
That Disappeared 37 Years Ago
New York, NY January xx, 2009 – Docurama Films brings you the infamous lost 1972 film FTA, now available for the first time. Capturing a fascinating slice of the Vietnam anti-war movement, FTA follows two-time Academy Award® winner Jane Fonda and Golden Globe winner Donald Sutherland on their Free The Army (or, more popularly, “F*** The Army”) Tour, the anti-war and pro-labor show that rallied and roused dissident GIs stationed along the Pacific Rim.
The film first hit the silver screen in July of 1972, but after one week was removed from all theaters without explanation. All prints of the film disappeared and for the past three decades it has only been available through bootleg copies. Now, after 37 years of silence, FTA will premiere on the Sundance Channel on February 23rd, and hit stores February 24, 2009.
“Viewing FTA today is like opening a long-forgotten time capsule. The film’s true power comes in the frank, often rude comments from the servicemen and women who openly question the purpose and planning of the American involvement in Vietnam.” – Phil Hall, Film Threat
FTA is a gritty mix of rollicking performances and GI interviews, juxtaposing lighthearted political satire with the somber realities of war, occupation, and the absurdities of military life, a barbed rebuke to the staid USO program. From Okinawa to the Philippines, stirred by the show’s provocative message, the members of the U.S. military find courage to speak out candidly in front of the camera.
Fonda and Sutherland are joined on stage by an all-star cast of musicians and activists including folk musician Len Chandler, songstress Rita Martinson, and comedian Paul Mooney. A fresh look at the Vietnam anti-war movement through the songs and skits that shook a generation, this film will leave you singing along with the fired-up men and women of the military. Foxtrot, Tango, Alpha… F*** the Army!
Premiere Screenings of FTA in Los Angeles and New York
Friday, January 30
7:30 pm at the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles
FTA Cast Members Q&A After Screening
Monday, February 2
7:00 pm at the IFC Center in New York
Q&A with Jane Fonda After Screening
Broadcast Premiere February 23
On the Sundance Channel
And, dear Blog visitors, if you are interested in knowing more about “Sir, No Sir!” It is available everywhere on DVD
TWO THUMBS UP® Ebert & Roeper
Nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary
Audience Award Best Documentary–Los Angeles Film Festival
Jury Award Best Documentary–Hamptons International Film Festival
Seeds of War Award–Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
Jury Award Best Film on War and Peace–Vermont International Film Festival
Nominated for a Gotham Award and International Documentary Association Award
See you next time.