Tuesday, December 8, 2009

30 Tiny Truths - 1

Tonight, along with fellow gents John and Adam, I got to see the Neo-Futurists perform their show Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind. The Neo-Futurists are a Chicago based Theater Collective of Writer/Actor/Directors with a goal of dynamic, irreproducable, interactive, and collaborative performances. Too Much Light is their most succesful and longest running show. Now in it's 20th year, it is an attempt to perform 30 original plays in one hour. A menu is given to the audience, with a title next to the numbers 1-30. A clothesline runs across the stage with those same numbers. Throughout the hour, audience members call out the numbers as the Neos act out each one of the plays, in a different order every night - their only connection being that all of them are in some way inspired by the lives of the performers, and that everything onstage is true. The results are alternately funny, moving, or audacious and completely original. Every night of this run, taking place at Woolly Mammoth, 1 to 6 plays will be replaced with new original work making no two shows the same.

This is a kind of theater I wish hadn't been created yet, so I could get in on the ground floor.

Inspired by the Neos and their focus on art from their own lives, and the truth, I'm going to be posting 30 Tiny Truths - one for each of the next 30 days. A small moment or anecdote of truth taken from somewhere in my life, translated and shared in blog form instead of theater.

I haven't told any of my fellow Gentlemen about this yet - if one or more of them want to tag in and tell a truth one day, they are more than welcome. And if not, I'll be writing all 30. Either way, you'll have 30 tiny truths in 30 days.

1. Places I Remember

My first kiss took place right here in the basement I live in now.
I was in tenth grade, she was a senior. Her name is Rachel, and she's now pregnant and engaged. We haven't spoken in several years - not out of any bad blood, just time. Her brother later became a close friend, a band mate, then an acquaintance - and now little more than a stranger.

We had been hanging out with people that night, friends who I found out later had been trying to leave us alone for hours, which I obliviously thwarted over and over again. We watched 'But I'm a Cheerleader,' which was and is a weird ass move, and the beginning of some crazy anime. Eventually the others went upstairs, ready to take her home. I asked her to wait, and kissed her in front of the brown armoir that's still out there now. She started laughing in the middle, reminded of a scene in the movie where a clueless jock tongues out the inside of his actually a lesbian girlfriend's mouth in exaggerated fashion.

It wasn't a perfect kiss.

But otherwise it was sweet. She was happy, I was happy, and we liked each other.

We used to drive around as a group at night, listening to Oldies 100, calling requesting songs, singing and screaming in Ari Levin's lexus. The DJ started to recognize us and called us 'The Frat.'
That night I dedicated a song to her - The Beatles' 'In My Life' - her graduation song - that she listened to in bed. I may still have the moment on a casette somewhere in my room, taped live off the radio just under a decade ago.

She left for Israel days later, and whatever brief feelings had started weren't able to survive the distance. We lost touch while she was gone and never really got back into it, though we used to run into each other more than we do now.

It's a pleasant memory, aside for the hysterical laughter - mainly the song - but one without any real feeling attached.

My first kiss is pregnant and engaged. Soon she'll have a husband and a child, a family. And outside of being happy for her in this distant sense, I feel like the acknowledment of that moment - a real end of childhood realization - should affect me in some, even tiny, way; and I'm surprised by how little it does.


Jstone said...

Cute story. What's the truth?

Jason Heat said...

'My first kiss took place right here in the basement I live in now.'

I think the Truth will always be the line right after the title. Truth as in something that is true, rather than life lesson to be learned, if I wasn't clear in my description.

Jstone said...


Got it. Makes sense.

Ozkirbas said...

So, in accordance with your definition, a "truth" may range from something as simple as:

"I really like cheese"

to something far more nuanced:

"... and that was when I developed a fondness for cheese, as it represented - throughout my life - the perfect metaphor for relationships ..."

Jason Heat said...


Patrick H. Ouzts said...

I am a big fan of creative non-fiction. Mainly because my memory must be broken. I can't even remember my first kiss; may I pray she doesn't read this comment.

I have it narrowed between two girls and I have two fabulous situations which may or may not have actually happened, but they are what I remember.

I wish truth was easier, but perception always gets in the way.

All that being said, I really like the idea of first kiss as a right of passage. I am trying to identify what might be the American man's passage into adult hood. There just doesn't seem to be a moment where a male goes from boy to man that is gender specific.

Any thoughts?

Jason Heat said...

I have been thinking about this question a lot since you asked it, and I honestly don't have a good answer - I'm not sure there is a universal moment.