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    Uncle Toots: I've Had It with The Gays

    Uncle Toots takes on Prop 8, DOMA, and The Gays.

    "The country's got hemorrhoids."



    Valerie Harper as Rhoda Morgenstern

    Last week, I wrote a little about Valerie Harper and Rhoda Morgenstern, plus showed a very early-in-the-process sketch of a piece I was working on. 

    Well, here's the completed work:

    ...and the sketch:

    Watching Valerie on her talk show appearances last week, plus disc after disc of RHODA, really inspired me in so many ways. I'm happy with this illustration. It says more about how I feel than anything I could type.

    "Don't go to the funeral until the day of the funeral." – Valerie Harper


    Valerie Harper as Rhoda (In Progress)

    Valerie Harper has been in the news lately. Her willingness to share her story is another reason why she, and her work, effects me so much. After being with my grandma through her final month through her moment of death, a time like this serves to reminds me, once again, how important life – and living in the present moment – is. It's something I remind myself of frequently.

    I started working on this tribute to Valerie as Rhoda. It'll be done in a couple days. I'm not really satisfied by my previous effort – which Valerie Tweeted me that she loved, and it also ended up on Playbill in a video interview with her – so I figured there's no better time than right now to work on Valerie/Rhoda, and what that means to me, again. Or, maybe, that dissatisfaction is just a sign of growth.

    Valerie, if you see this, please know you've had a great impact on my life and artistic career. Secretly – or, not so secretly, depending on who you talk to! – I've always thought you'd be the perfect person to play my grandma, Josephine, who introduced me to Rhoda in syndication on late night TV in the early 1980s. (It was a Friday night and I was up much later than I should have been, but Grandma didn't mind.) I wish you much love, peace, and strength...and more love. Listening to I, Rhoda and watching your interviews, as I have been these past few days, you do have it all around you.

    Back in a couple days with the finished work!

    UPDATE, March 18th: The completed work


    The Excavation: Signage

    A sign, featuring my illustration for Theater Ninjas' The Excavation, on display during performances at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

    A comma before an "and" in a list is always satisfying.


    The Excavation at the Cleveland Museum of Art

    Tomorrow night is opening night! I cannot wait to perform this show, and some of my favorite characters (Erato, Maurice, plus some new ones) again! This will be an event you won't want to miss. 

    Illustration by Ray Caspio

    Theater Ninjas' 2011 hit The Excavation has been resurrected as part of The Cleveland Museum of Art's latest exhibit, "The Last Days of Pompeii: Decadence, Apocalypse, Resurrection."

    Explore this living museum-within-a-museum as zany professors, peaceful gladiators, puritanical performers, ecstatic archaeologists, and rude puppets celebrate the life and death of the famous city that was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. 

    •Performance Days: See The Excavation in the Ames Family Atrium - March 1st performance requires admittance to the CMA MIX event; future performances are free!
    March 1 @ 7pm
    March 20 @ 7pm
    April 12 @ 7pm
    April 28 @ 2pm
    June 12 @ 7pm

    •Ninja Days: Fridays and Sundays, Theater Ninjas are installed within "The Last Days of Pompeii" exhibit. Enhance your exploration of Pompeii through a blend of site-specific performance and interactive story-telling. Fridays (3pm-7pm) and Sundays (12pm-4pm)
    March 8-May 19 (excluding March 29 & 31 and April 12 & 28)
    Admittance to the special exhbit required.
    No regular exhibition tours on Ninja Days.

    Directed and Devised by Jeremy Paul

    Lead Creative Team
    Ray Caspio, Ryan Lucas, Cassie Neumann and Renee Schilling

    Performances Featuring
    Davis Aguila, Ray Caspio, Katelyn Cornelius, Cassie Goldbach, Val Kozlenko, Ryan Lucas, Cassie Neumann, Michael Prosen, Renee Schllling and Lauren B. Smith

    Ninja Days Featuring:
    Davis Aguila, Ray Caspio, Lauren Fraley, Valerie Kilmer, Ryan Lucas, Cassie Neumann and Renee Schilling

    Technical Direction by Chuck Karnak

    The Excavation 1.0 was Created and Performed by
    Ray Caspio, Katelyn Cornelius, Stephanie Ford, Ryan Lucas, Noe Montez, Cassie Neumann, Michael Prosen, Emily Pucell, Renee Schllling, Adam Seeholzer and Lew Wallace

    Special Thanks
    Jon Seydl, Bethany Corriveau, Temple King Productions, Lola Rothmann and Benedictine High School

    Support for Theater Ninjas' project has been provided by the Cleveland Museum of Art's Painting and Drawing Society, Dr. Nancy Clay-Marsteller, Antoinette Miller and Mr. and Mrs. John D. Schubert.