Wednesday, July 14, 2010

So then the Bartender says “Rectum? Nearly killed him!”

If anyone knows the beginning of that joke please, for the sake of everything Holy, post it.

So, the site is LIVE and we had a nice turnout at Piper’s Kilt on Sunday night for our launch and a peek at the “residents” of the show. All you slackers that couldn’t get on a plane and fly across the country for this (I’m looking at you Johnny & Menendez!) you can check it out at One thing I will say about Inwood folks, not so big on the feedback aspect of this process. I really can’t fault anyone, as we had been told all through growing up to “keep our mouths shut” on a variety of matters. Then there was the Catholic School factor where they may have “asked “ for your opinion but, let’s face facts folks, their mind was made up and your lip service wasn’t going to change ,well, you know, the Bible! No one likes a rat but, for these purposes your thoughts and observations are very welcome. We should be shooting the webisodes and updating all of you over the course of the next 2 months. We are looking forward to your feedback.(hint hint) Special thanks to The Piper’s Kilt, Mike Bowe and Tommy Keating for being such great hosts on Sunday night. Check them out!

Observation: Have you ever noticed how folks that went to Catholic school sound like they were in Vietnam or Prison when they are talking to each other?

(Mike & Dave are strangers nursing draft beers with bourbon chasers at a local watering hole. The two men seem distant, a bit detached from the world around them. They catch each others eyes in the mirror behind the bar)

Mike: Catholic school?

Dave: Yeah man.

Mike: Where’d you serve?

Dave: Good Shepherd for 8 & 4 at Tollentine.

Mike: Dam, 2 tours?

Dave: Yep, and I got the scars.

Mike: Rulers? Fists?

Dave: Both,…. we had Nuns..

Mike: Dam wicked penguins… I just did the 8, folks moved to the suburbs after Visitation and I went to one of those Public schools out on the Island.

Dave: You were lucky.

(The two men share an awkward smile and go back to their drinks; each is comforted by the knowledge that they are not alone in what haunts them)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

And you may ask yourself...

Where the hell have all the In the 'Wood folks been? Far from being slackers, we've been hard at work getting up and running.

We've almost got the site finished and the initial teasers are shot.

Getting interested?

The site will go live Sunday, July 11th at 9pm!

We will also be doing a launch event at the Piper's Kilt that night. We're taking over karaoke and we'll be sharing clips as well as introducing members of the cast and crew. So c'mon and check us out!

Details below:

Sunday July 11th 9pm-11pm

The Piper's Kilt
4944 broadway (@ 207th st)
new york, ny 10034

Your Bad Self!

Questions? Shoot us an email at

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Small Town Livin'

I'm no John Cougar Mellencamp, but I live in a small town. It just happens to reside in the biggest city in America. It's often been remarked that New York City isn't exactly a city; it's a collection of small towns that share the same real estate. Inwood is living proof of that.

I wound up here kind of by accident. You talk to people who live here and either they were born here, or they knew someone who lived here who turned them onto it. Me, I found it basically the same way that Eddie Murphy found Queens in Coming to America: spun a globe, dropped my finger and said, "Well, that sounds like a nice place." Okay, I exaggerate, but it's close.

My friend Adam and I interned at a theatre together, thought we'd be good roommates and decided to look for a place. This was way back in the Dark Ages: 1996. We took the train out to Queens, either Astoria or L.I.C. and were unimpressed. It seemed sleepy and dead and all made out of concrete (and there go our readers from Queens...thanks for coming by!). Then we went up to Inwood. One of us heard from someone who heard from someone who read in the Times that it was the next big thing. That sounded good to us. (We were young.) So we took the A train (yes, we sang the song. We were young.) and got off at Dyckman Street.

There was life there. A big green leafy park. A little diner, right by the subway. Next to a slightly sketchy Irish bar (it would be about a decade before I set foot in there). Across Broadway was a strip of shopping, Dominican restaurants, a Spanish-language bookstore. During the Great Home Run Race of '98, two years later, Sammy Sosa would take a victory lap here. This wasn't some outer borough. This was cool.

Adam and I moved in and I never left. 12 years later, I still see the same faces, the kids who ran up and down the hallways of my apartment building have grown up, some familiar faces are gone, some new ones have shown up. But the town still hums with life.

For me, it's a place where people know you, know how you like your coffee or what your drink is, know when you're heading to work or what you want on your pizza, know the people you know (and you know the people they know), all separated by at best two degrees, where people know, well, honestly, entirely too much about you and your comings and goings, but that's okay. They're still New Yorkers, so they'll keep it to themselves. (You hope.)

If this project is about anything for me, it's about showing people that, even here in the big city, we're all just small town folks.

- J. Holtham

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

So this guys walks into a bar......

There's no joke, I just wanted your attention.

Blog blog blog… I hate the word. I guess it’s like taxes these days a necessary evil of sorts.
Anyway, we were able to shoot some initial monologues for the "In the Wood" series thanks to the good folks at Irish Eyes Bar on 213th street & Broadway & my pal Eddie MacDonald who helped set it up.
Good stuff, there is a shot of me drinking at the bar, I took this role very seriously, in fact, I researched the role for the better part of the last 2 decades. I believe in suffering for my art.
I’m not really sure how this whole “blog” thing works. I mean, what do you people want to know about this endeavor? It’s not a documentary , which I heard I was making much to my surprise. What am I? a thin Michael Moore (Relatively speaking)? It’s a series about people and the relationships between them in this crazy little enclave we call Inwood. My home, and there’s no place else I’d rather be from or spend my days. Well, Hawaii would be nice, but the Pizza and Bagels suck outside of New York. I guess your stuck with me Inwood.

More to come

My Inwood observation of the day is the correlation between the number of friends you have with nicknames and the number of years you've lived in Inwood. Think about it. If you've been in "upstate manhattan" for, let's say, 5 years, you probably have between 3 and 5 Inwood native friends with nicknames. If you grew up in Inwood and are past the age of 30, this number jumps exponentially to roughly everyone you know!


Maybe I'll finish that joke next time, maybe...


Feedback on George's teaser

While shooting the teaser for our webisode series In the Wood, I received some interesting feedback for the voice over that I wrote for George, a character in the piece.

I have only written for theatre, so I haven’t had an opportunity to shoot on a location before. Fun day, though it didn’t begin so well. The bar owner ran late and we couldn’t get inside at the scheduled time. It was beastly cold on the corner of 213th and Broadway, dirty snow on the sidewalk, windy, bitter . . . February. We all stood near Irish Eyes and sipped coffee near a collection of desk and floor lamps that we collected for lighting . . . low budget filmmaking!

Roman, who is playing George Kazlowski, had some exterior shots anyway. So the director started preparing shots. Details became important. What tie should he wear? Purple? Is the blue one too nice? How about the paisley? Why is he wearing that suit anyway? Does he need to wear a tie? Can he wear jeans? Well, I think he wears a tie, a full suit. Why? Well something will happen with that suit later. What happens?

We talked it over, made our choices, and soon enough, Roman was walking to the bar in his suit, a camera following him. His hair shot up as he crossed 213th Street. The wind smacked him sideways. He crunched his shoulders a little as he walked. He squinted into the sun as he checked for traffic. I saw much of myself in his walk to work. This is funny and disturbing. When you see George Kazlowski in action, these mixed feelings will make sense.

Anyway, the bar owner arrived and we camped inside Irish Eyes with our equipment, bags, folders, notebooks, and so on. Roman changed out of his suit and was now wearing his waiter uniform, finishing the last part of the teaser. As he served drinks to his customers in the scene, we played a scratch track of his voice over, an inner monologue, his secret thoughts at work, which are not so kind or sensitive (or remotely appropriate). After we wrapped up the George teaser, I walked to the bar and ordered a beer. One of the bartenders smiled and asked if we were making a porn. My first thought was “hmm . . . too much? A little too much? Maybe?” I don’t want people to think this is smut. But we all have wayward thoughts at jobs that we hate (or love) or when we talk to people who do not really hold our interest. We are all George, at least a little bit. And maybe there’s a little porn in that, but I’d rather think of it as . . . I don’t know . . . something that isn’t porn. But I must confess something: I also liked that she thought that about the piece. It might even be perfect. I told her that the scene was just a guy who didn’t really want to be working at this place and these are his private thoughts and she said, “oh I sure know that!”

-Tom Matthew Wolfe

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

And away we go

You have come across the blog for In the 'Wood a new web series chronicling the life and times of upstate Manhattan.

In the following posts, you'll meet the four writer/creators as we amuse and enthuse with our notes on the genesis of the series, the process of d.i.y. storytelling, and tales from Inwood. We're all residents, be it lifers or transplants, and as members of the Inwood community, we are passionate about depicting the lives and stories from our slice of home in the Big City.

And it may just be our love of choose your own adventure stories (thank you 80s), but we also want YOU! (the reader, commentator, or cloaked snarker) involved. We want your stories, what you want to hear about, and just in general what makes Inwood Inwood.

So let the games begin! We'll have updates as we start shooting, intro our cast, and bemoan writers block or work off last nights festivities.

Hope you're along for the ride!

xoxo In the 'Wood Writing Staff

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Yo! Inwood in the 'house!

Welcome to the blog of In The 'Wood web series. More updates coming soon...