Saturday, May 31, 2008

The NWS has issued a tornado watch for the Natl Capital Area until 5pm today.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Pain at the Pump is a Pain in my Rump

Cheapest gas prices in your area are found HERE , on AAA's Fuel Price Finder website.
This is absolutely insane. I REALLY wish I had a bike!

Worst First Pitch Ever. to see she is finally dressing her age..
...just ridiculous.

Undisovered Tribe found!

An undisovered tribe has been found! Imagine how freaked out they were seeing a helicopter for the first time and not knowing what it the story here...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Andy!

A very Happy Birthday to DC's own BAD SANTA, Andy Brownstein. I hope that there is a cookiepuss in your future today, my friend!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day 2008 - Photos

We had an impromptu barbecue last night, inviting a few folks over sort of last minute to grill out and celebrate with us. I had the best time! It was great to reconnect with Andrew and Katie, always great to see Eleasha and Kara Tameika Watkins, and I believe that most of the Stephen Schwartz Project cast was in my backyard, too!

Matt spent a lot of time working on the yard, and I thought that it looked great!
He even had the idea to bring the downstairs couch outside for more seating options! This proved to be a fantastic idea, as we barely had enough places to sit!

Buddha enjoyed a game of monkey in the middle between Kurt and Laura.

These are some cute shots of Andrew,Katie, Annabell and Eleasha...

Other Random Party Shots...

We had a great time and I can think of no better of a way to have kicked off Summer 2008!
Thanks for coming!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I hope this show comes to DC...

Because They Have No Words, the true story of one man's journey into "the chaos of animal rescue efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina," is making its Chicago area premiere at the Piven Theatre in Evanston, IL.
The play has done very well in California, where it started out. It garnered two L.A. Stage Alliance 2007 Ovation Award nominations.
I think that the story sounds beautiful.
I hope someone here snatches it up so that I can see it!
More on the Piven Theatre Workshop and the play, Because They Have No Words.

Kurt Boehm is playing a Bunny. Nuff Said.

(from left, Cyana Cook, Jennifer Timberlake and Danny Pushkin) keep a young bunny (Kurt Boehm) awake.
Washington Post had a cute little article on Kurt's forray into bunnydom.
Goodnight Moon runs at Atlas Performing Arts Center June 6 - June 22.
Click HERE for more info.

My New Favorite Song...Madonna and Justin Timberlake in "4 Minutes to Save the World"

A Summer Home

I got a wild hair tonight to situate my back yard to it's usual summer form. I drained the pond and refilled it, swept the patio and pulled out old faithfull (the old tent).
Is this picture a snapshot from a moon landing? No. It is the skeleton of the tent.

I then cleaned off my summer throne and got it ready for many nights of movie viewing outdoors...(always the first film watched outside is JAWS.) It just seems right.

This is the finished result of my work.

Highlights include the line up of chairs (like at a 50's sock hop)...

I love this outdoor room that I create every year with small differences. This is my Summer palace.
Summer has officially arrived in the Smith/Conner/Halbrook house. The first outdoor movie showing of Jaws will cement this on Monday afternoon.
Goodnight, Arlington.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Colorado Tornado

In case you didn't see this footage, you should check it out. So so scary. Imagine being one of those cars on the road.

Dear readers,
I got this e-mail in, and felt the need to pass it on in it's entirety to you to let you know that the Shirlington/Signatue garage is still a mess with no explanation.

Please let me know what you find out w/ the towing. I was towed last Friday at 12:45 am and got there 5 minutes late after they towed me. Another person in the garage said they came thru and took 10 cars, mine being one of them. I called Federal Realty and spoke to a guy who claimed to be the manager at 301-998-8100. He was a jerk and said it was basically my own fault b/c there is a sign telling you that you will get towed. I pointed out there are no hours listed on the sign and that I was parked in a library spot from 8 pm to when I was towed and that I was told I could park there in the past since the library is not open. Anyhow, I called the tow company and they gave no help either. The manager at Shirlington Library agreed that it was a shame and she would look into it but don't call her for at least a week b/c she is really busy with other stuff. So anyhow, please let me know if you need anyone else to get involved in this and I will be more than happy too and please keep me in the loop of what you find out.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I watched this film this morning at like 6AM (I couldn't get back to sleep). I am in total love with it! I LOVE this trailer..."Dynamite CAN'T STOP IT!!"

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Keeping Afloat...

Well, as always, life goes on. Katie passed on Friday, and my family has been mourning her loss. In the interim, much has gone on.
I told you all earlier that I was going to start the tanning salon job last Thursday. That got postponed till (today) Tuesday. So I will teach children, then drive straight to the tanning salon. Details to follow.
I am financially in wreckage since SPIDERWOMAN closed, and yes I have several projects upcoming, including A SMILE TO HIDE THE PAIN at Signature in June, and an upcoming cabaret there in July, I am trying to make a living on many part time jobs. This is NO living. I had hoped for employment theatrically this summer, but that has fallen through, so it's CANDLES, teaching camp, Tanning Salon, and TICKETplace for me all summer. Sleep? I'll sleep when I'm dead.
So also adding to this attempt at making what I would were I employed gainfully theatrically, I agreed to do lawn maintenance on a beloved friend's yard this coming Sunday. This was a fantastic development, as I often forget that I know what the hell I am talking about when it comes to landscaping (a career that I careered out of back in 2005). Walking through his yard and observing what needed attention with the trimmers, I was reminded what an eye I do have for lawn care and maintenance, and was actually excited to start work on it Sunday. Anyone need lawnwork? I love transforming something. Whatever the product that I am transforming is: an old piece of furniture that I refurbish, pieces of cloth and rubber into a ghoul, wax blocks into candles, whatever the clay, I love to shape it.
Can I just say that is almost $4??? Food is more expensive than ever....a clear measure of that is this: I bought 2 ears of corn tonight for $1.00.
This same time last year (I always hanker for corn on the grill this time of year), I could buy 4 ears for a dollar. This is only a small indication of how your money flies out of your pockets. With a piece-meal life like mine, when you are broke one month and barely treading water the next, it gets trickier.
On a movie front, I am REALLY into mutated nature-creature films right now. Mainly from the 50's...(atomic age radiation based terror of giant crabs and spiders attacking a city)...just becuase they make me happy. I feel like this genre of horror is going to make an Eco come back soon. It is the next phase of horror now, as environmental horrors are larger than ever. Horror will go here next. You wait and see. Soon enough giant insects will ravage Washington, DC on the silver screen again.
Eco-horror has been high on my must watch lists of Netflix rentals. More on this soon.
What else?
I saw the Stephen Schwartz Project at Metro Stage, which has one week left. I enjoyed it, and while I had a few issues with staging, thought that the ALL DC CAST sang their ASSES off, and sounded amazing. Go check it out, the tickets are inexpensive.
I also reconnected with another friend tongiht, who recently installed an addition into her house, and a lap pool into her house. (hence the photo at the top of this post). We swam and had a great time tonight. We will surely be going over there more in the future.

Oh, it also has a High Def TV that you can watch as you are swimming...ahh, the life...

SO all in all, life is hand to mouth for me, as it is for most.
I am exploring cabaret themes right now, and have stumbled upon (thanks to Matt and my Mom) a funny premise that I will just say would be a TV show setting. More to come on this hatching idea.
So, in closing on this early Tuesday morning, if you need candles, lawn care, or a man to sing his ass off, call me. I'm free all summer.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Katie Smith - In Memoriam

My brother James' dog, Katie passed today. She and Rusty were the best of friends. This sad news comes 9 weeks to the date of Rusty's passing. Too soon.
Katie was the first Smith dog to be an inside dog. She was my brother's dog, and he insisted that she stay inside, and would not bend from that. Look at could anyone say no to that face?
Katie won all of our hearts, and soon came Rusty, and they became best buddies running through the yard and rolling each other.
I would like to think that they are doing that as I type this.
Katie was a beautiful creature, and as sweet as she could be. I will always remember her tender demeanor, but also remember her fierce barks when a stranger approached. She was an amazing creature all told.
I will always remember her and Rusty chasing each other in our back yard in Pennsyvania. The two of them running in green grass with skies of blue ablaze above them. That is where they are now. Reunited 9 weeks after Rusty's passing, running together again, Rusty bathing her in kisses as he always did.
God bless Rusty and Katie, together forever.
In Loving Memory.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Well, I thought I would open with a cute image of Buddha and Albert.
A brief synopsis of my life right now:
I am still working at Ticket Place, started teaching theatre games for Fairfax County Schools after school on Tuesdays, making candles, and just got another job at a tanning salon in Old Town Alexandria, which I start on Thursday.
I also am doing this in June:
Bowen McCauley Dances Kander & Ebb
Bowen McCauley Dance company puts their contemporary style and spin on Kander & Ebb standards. Signature regulars Stephen Gregory Smith and Eleasha Gamble will accompany the dancers and sing the music of Kander & Ebb.
It’s an exciting evening in the theater by “the area’s premier dance company” (Danceview Times).

Tickets range from $34–$150.
June 12 – 15, 2008
In The ARK

And I have word that yes, you will see a new cabaret by me this summer at Signature...details to follow!
I designed a SUPER Deluxe Basket of candles for Kathy Fuller's daughter's high school silent auction. Here is what it looked like at the end:

She seemed happy with it, and if she is so inclined, will comment and let readers know where and when you can place your bid on this auction piece.

Other than that, I have watched 4 great movies that I will post about tomorrow, but till then, I am posting this while talking to my Mother, who is having trouble formatting Word documents as I am talking her through it.
So I must go.
Till tomorrow eve,

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Candles By Stephen in your home...

Here is a picture that my Mom sent me tonight. This is a picture of her table already set for Mother's Day dinner tomorrow. I love how she used the green cloth napkins and the white linen table cloth with her Mother's Day gift (the May candle) as a centerpiece. I also love the Mother of Pearl base that ties it all in.
And with this photo, I thought of something fun to try to do. Those of you who have purchased Candles By Stephen and have them in your home, send in photos of how they are displayed. We will have a vote in poll and the winning photo's display will win 6 June candle tarts or floating candles (winner's choice).
So those of you who have purchased my candles, start sending in your photos! E-mail them to

I would love to see them in your homes!

Tuesdays are Sundays at Carvel...

I forgot to share this with you, but I remembered today. My buddy Andy Brownstein wrote a very funny blog on his blog about Cookie puss. Who you may ask?
Find out HERE.

Friday, May 09, 2008


This photo comes from Playbill's article on Arena Stage's upcoming revival of The Mystery of Irma Vep.
The photo is of two of my favorite people, Brad Oscar and J. Fred Shiffman.
I can't wait to see this, as they will no doubt be hysterical, but also because the play is truly right up my alley!
Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


One of my favorite Stage Fathers, Harry A. Winter is interviewed OVER HERE at DC Theatre Scene. I hear he is truly fantastic in 1776, and am sure of it. Take a listen, it is a frank and funny little interview. Just hearing his voice brought back good memories.
Go and Take a Listen!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I Feel the Earth Move Under my Feet...

Ok, there was totally a small earthquake in Northern Va today. The epicenter was in Annandale. It was at 1:30pm. Did you feel it? I did! I actually just thought it was thunder rumbling, but then looked out and saw no dark clouds. After a "?" moment, I think I just shrugged it off and went on typing my previous blog entry.
It wasn't until after I went to go teach at school for an hour that I came home and checked my e-mail and found these two alerts from Arlington Alert:

"The National Earthquake Information Center, via FEMA Operations, is reporting that Northern VA has experienced rumblings equivalent to an earthquake of magnitude 2 to 3. It remains unclear if this was an actual earthquake, or due to another cause. Arlington OEM will continue to monitor. OEM/LCS Sent by Arlington County OEM to All users (e-mail) through Arlington Alert"

? and then this:

"The USGS has confirmed a magnitude 1.8 "micro" earthquake occurred near Annandale, VA at 1:30pm. There have been no reports of damage or injuries."

Sooo...did you feel it?

Stephen, Buddha, and the Tent Worm Trail

I fortunately had the day mainly off today, and I got the pug harnessed up and took him on an expedition of sorts. While on our walk about a week ago, we found a location in Fairlington where I noticed the presence of Tent Worms in abundance. I thought that since it was such a nice day, we'd go investigate with the camera.

We meandered down through the lovely green freshness of the path. Passing gorgeous azaleas in bloom and Irises of many hues. Birds were singing, butterflies were on wing and the sky was baby blue. The sun was positively glowing, shining its light through the freshly sprouted tree leaves and lighting them up with its beams.
We started down a walking path that runs near a small forest and behind a little section of houses in Fairlington.

Well, almost immediately after taking this path, Buddha, seeing the "No Dumping" sign on our way,got down to business. Buddha has a great disdain for authority.

I told him and myself out loud that we had to be very careful and watch our step, as we didn't want to step on any of the little woolly worms. He of course didn't know what the heck I was talking about. And almost immediately after I said it, I felt the sickening squash beneath my feet of a poor little woolly worm gone home to Jesus!
UGHHHH! I cursed to the oak trees above!
I hate taking the life of a poor little caterpillar, even granted that en mass they can destroy acres of trees. They don't do it maliciously. They don't have some master mogul Caterpillar laughing in a leather easy chair and smoking Cuban cigars plotting out how they are going to strip this forest and put up "Tent Worm Town" and sell Tent Worm tee shirts and Bobble Head Tommy the Tent Worms.
They don't really think that way.
They probably think only on a base level.
They are just hungry.
I surveyed the sidewalk stretching out ahead of me and observed several of them ahead, and made note to myself to watch my step.

When you take a close up look at them, they really are kind of beautiful in an odd way. The patterns on their little bodies are intricate and interesting. And while I am a little loathe to see any insect gathering in large groups, I started thinking of this path as Tent Worm Trail. They all were very busy and on their way to somewhere.
After some research on my own, it turns out that they build their little tents in the tree with many different rooms and layers. The tent always faces the side of the tree that gets the most exposure to the sun. They leave their tents in the mornings to spread out and feed. They scatter in all different directions and find a tree to feed on. And get this and tell me it isn't pretty amazing: The leave a pheromone trail on their way out to explore, and if they find a successful feeding area, they leave a different pheromone trail on the way back, letting others know it found a good place. Those caterpillars then follow that trail and so on.
Their digestive system can only work above 15 Celsius, so here is why they make many levels and rooms in their tents. Depending on how warm it is outside or cold, they adjust to another room. Every room holds a different temperature. They sit in these rooms and then their digestive system digests the leaves they just ate. Since their digestive system is only designed to handle young leaves, time is of the essence to them, and they immediately go back out and eat again after the food is all digested. They go back and forth like 3 or 4 times a day.
Me and Inspector Buddha saw an area in which they seemed pretty heavily grouped, which was a hand rail next to the sidewalk.

Here they are clearly following that pheromone trail, Inspector Buddha said.
No. He didn't.
I'm lying.
The dog doesn't talk.

Here is another shot of their equivalent to the Tent Worm Turnpike.

Well, as much as this Science Expedition of ours was fun, Buddha was lagging behind at this point as the mid day temperature soared into the eighties, so we headed home, making sure that we watched our step. It was fun to research and observe something random today, and learn how intricate and truly amazing life can be down to it's simplest levels. Who knew all of that even happened.

So readers, I am glad to have passed on this truly useless knowledge to you, but above all else please watch your step out there!
Steve and Inspector Buddha

Monday, May 05, 2008

Buddha Jones' Diary

(all photos by Channez McQuay)
Boo had his annual check up today at his vet, Caring Hands in Arlington. I love them, and they are always fantastic with him. He had quite the stressful visit there today, what with 2 different shots, blood taken, and his anal glands expressed!
He is currently passed out downstairs in bed, which is a sure sign that he doesn't feel good. When he is too pooped to watch tv, watch me work around the living room, or to see if I am eating anything of interest, he is definitely not feeling well. He always goes through this on vaccine days. It is hard on his little body.
He will feel much better in the morning. He always does.
What I found interesting was that in his exit papers that they give you for your own records, they include a weight history.
What this has told me is that my little Boo fluctuates in weight almost the same as I do. For him, it is 2 pounds that he fluctuates within, with me, it is about 10.
He is truly my dog.
Here is the weight chart:
10-10-06 20 lbs
03-27-07 18.60 lbs
07-21-07 19.60 lbs
10-17-07 18.20 lbs
10-31-07 18 lbs
02-21-08 21 lbs
05-05-08 20.20lbs

Well, like anyone else, he gains weight in the winter and loses weight in the summer.
Despite this fluctuation, our vet told me that he was in the best shape of any other pug that he has seen. He has seen adult pugs of Buddha's 5 year old age at 30 lbs!
So we are doing all the right things. His diet change (to an all natural diet that we cook for him: carrots, green beans, chicken, chicken livers, chicken gizzards, whole new potatoes) has done very well by his skin. He has not had half of the allergy flare ups that he used to.
So, that is the skinny on Buddha's Annual Check Up!

Sunday, May 04, 2008


(Photo by Scott Suchman)
Just a really cool picture for Spider Woman that I love.
From left to right: James Gardiner, Matt Conner, me, Natascia Diaz, and Kurt Boehm.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A LOT late

I just randomly was e-mailed this little review of tick,tick...BOOM! that I never heard (you can listen to it on the site) or read (you can also read it).
It was on
It made me miss our little rock show.
Good night, Arlington.

Can you guess what I'm doing?

Look at the scene of mayhem in the Smith-Conner/Halbrook kitchen. Yes, the crazy candle maker has been slaving away over a hot stove most nights this past couple of weeks. Business is busy, which is good. But look at this crazy mess!

I have now expanded my equipment and gotten multiples of things that I need, but man, they are everywhere! I do clean up after myself when I am done so that Matt and Ryan don't dump me into one of my own vats of wax.

But despite all of this mess, look at what my recent work has yielded! Here in this picture you see much of the May candles, some April candles, a beach themed candle, and a preview of the June candle. Can you guess which one it is?

I'll take you a little closer. How about now?

Yes, here is a preview of June's candle. I think I am going to make the white stripe near the top instead of the bottom, but the same colors will apply. It is scented with Sun Dried Cotton, Eqyptian Cotton, and Fresh Linen. It is clean and crisp and the perfect complement to the clean air of June.

And may I remind you all again that Mother's Day is the 11th, one week from tomorrow!
A Candles By Stephen purchase or subscription would make the perfect Mother's day gift. Imagine the joy of your Mother recieving a different scented and beautiful candle each month of the year starting with Mother's Day!
Visit CANDLES BY STEPHEN today and place your order before time runs out!