Category Archives: my scripts

More indie films with established stars look for crowdfunding; could actually help me

I got a tweet from Richard Harmon, executive producer of “Crypto”, about an Indiegogo project to finish his film, here   (I had some trouble with the tiny url on the tweet, but I found it myself.)

I had talked about Harmon here on April 18, 2014, in conjunction with “Judas Kiss”, where co-star Timo Descamps accepted a wind sprint challenge from him, making a video where Timo says “Richard Harmon is the greatest of all time, of all time”.  Harmon wins the race.

The horror film involves the protagonist (Harmon) playing a journalist who finds his own haunted past shooting video in the woods.  It intends release in 2018.  Some of it has been filmed along coastal British Columbia.

I tweeted back that it’s unusual for films with established stars to seek crowdfunding, but Zack Braff did it for the 2014 film “Wish I Was Here”.  I don’t know how often executive producers (Harmon is an XP for “Crypto”) has to raise more money late in the production of a film.

I am aware of several independent projects involving people I have some possible connection to.  I may try to work with them somehow in combination with my own project “Epiphany”.  But I have to finish my own relocation first.

(Posted: Monday, September 25, 2017 at 7:30 PM EDT)

Exploratory short film “Ideology” supplements “Epiphany” “Do Ask Do Tell” screenplay

Below, there is a 7-minute short film that I call “Ideology”, where I add a possible scene to “Epiphany.”  After “Bill” has gotten out of the infirmary in the main settlement on Titan and has gone back to living in the 1900-year community in the rama-like cyclindrical ashram with its additional artificial gravity, he wants to see if his websites on Earth, which had been threatened with takedown after a crackdown on Internet abuse and downstream liability protection back on Earth, are still there.  It takes about 69 Minutes for light to get back to Earth (hence another screenplay “69 Minutes to Titan”).

Bill is escorted by one of the resident “angels”, named Nolan, one of several of Bill’s “heroes”.  Bill is expected to “marry” a middle aged woman named Tovina who lives in ashram 3.  He’s beginning to figure out if this is an evacuation ship and how it will repopulate itself.

Here is the text for the scene, approximately.  I did this in Word rather than Final Draft to make it easier to copy into WordPress.

SCRIPT:

In an office building, overlooking two stadiums below:

Bill logs in to a Triton terminal, and finds his old websites.  They display in text and BW only.

Then he logs in to a regular desktop. He tries to log on and finds the sites closed.

Nolan enters the room.

NOLAN:  You wanted me the most.

BILL:  I tried to compile and link a list of others.

NOLAN: Yeah, Brutus is even bigger than me, maybe closer to your fantasy. You haven’t seen, but you have believed.  But what were you doing just now.

BILL:  I wanted to back up my sites one last time.  It would take two times 69 minutes to work.  But it looks like it’s gone already.

NOLAN:  We all have the bots.  You don’t know if any of us will be the worse for wear. But that’s how we know everything you wrote.

BILL:  This place, with all the little time-set communities, it’s still like one intentional community. Like the “Academy” in all my novel manuscripts.  You get chosen to come here but you have to be re-educated, to be made to fit in.

NOLAn: I know Bill, you can figure this out.

BILL: Back home, on the outside, yes, I was free, until toward the end.  My memory of how I got here is filling back in, as if this were some kind if operation,

Bill looks at the Iv bandage near his elbow.

BILL:  On the outside, you were free.  You could go where you want, not be on pass like here, with these weird curfews in a place of perpetual twilight.  But at some point, you had to reach out to someone that needed you.  Or you could run out of town,

NOLAN:  I’m going to be able to give you what you want.  Maybe not with me. But with someone as good as me,  And then you’ll find if easier to give someone else what she needs.

BILL;  She.carries my lineage.

NOLAN: But you still get to go.  And in most cities back home, most people did not make the cut. Some of them think you’re nasty.

Nolan gets on the Triton and reproduces a copy of Bill’s website from memory.

NOLAN: When you go back, you won’t find your stuff anymore.  It’s all in our minds.  Distributed consciousness.  Think what you’d have to do if you stayed back home.

TOGTHER: Find a need and fill it.

NOLAN:  Why is that so bad?  I know, only I can bargain with you.

BILL:  Everybody here, in this Academy, can deserve to be here.

NOLAN:  You could have raised others up.

BILL:  And I don’t want to.  That’s not me. Instead, it’s to put up a line up, see them through the shavedown ritual, and see who is worthy.  And release.

NOLAN:  Your proles down on Earth have no value.

BILL:  Everybody who matters is already on this escape ship.

NOLAN:  The preppers –the Leftovers  — will rebuild a world of local autarky, every little farm taking care of their own.   You won’t have to worry about

BILL    And you’ll come back and cherry pick the angels and take them back in a few thousand years. Again. An endless cycle.

END SCRIPT

“Ideology”: Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5  (sorry for the poor voice sound, don’t know what happened;  notice the accidental “David Lynch” sound effect.

Note the “Basket of Deplorables”, or “The Proles”.

I could have added that a belief that visible virtue in others matters is actually necessary for personal sexual satisfaction.

(Posted: Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017 at 10:30 PM EDT)

More notes on the drafts of my screenplays

Recently there has been some interest in seeing a copy  of one of my (not yet published) screenplay drafts, that is, “Do Ask, Do Tell: Ephiphany”.

I posted a brief summary of the plot here on February 3, 2016.

Right now, I no longer post my screenplay scripts online for free viewing.  There are some legacy scripts at this location on my legacy site.

The draft (PDF from Final Draft, as well as treatment summary) of the 2004 short film script “The Sub” was removed in April 2006 before I took another job with Fairfax County Public Schools, inasmuch as there had been an incident regarding that script being found online (documentation).

However, the existence of the screenplay and its aftermath are worked into the script of “Epiphany” as a backstory.

Likewise, the sequence of my expulsion from William and Mary in November 1961, followed by my “hospitalization” at NIH in the fall of 1962 (overlaying the Cuban Missile Crisis) and eventual Army service as a draftee from 1968-1970 is also embedded as a backstory closer to the end of the script.

One aspect of this part of the narrative that could use more attention would be how my parents felt over that Thanksgiving weekend 1961 as they had to anticipate the idea that, as an only child, I might give them no lineage.  But it turns out, ironically, that “Bill” does so in the last scene of the screenplay, as a qualification for getting to go on the “angel ship” to a new planet.

I may later place this script (as well as two others: “Titanium” and “69 Minutes to Titan” in its original form) available for FTP download with password if there is interest.  It is also possible to place the Final Draft documents online for similar download.  But the user would not be able to open these without a licensed copy of Final Draft 10 on her own computer.  It doesn’t appear that you can open Final Draft directly through http;  you have to FTP and download first.  Other products, like Celtx, which I do not personally have, might work.

With a layered screenplay like “Epiphany”, which incorporates narrative across all three “Do Ask Do Tell: books as backstories, t is difficult to understand the flow well from a PDF of the screenplay (as it would be typed in the past) alone.  The analytics in Final Draft. Besides offering script notes, character lists, scene numbers and titles and summaries, offer a Color Code which can be correlated to the “reality layer” of a particular scene.  It may, for example, be a truthful backstory known to one character, or a presumed backstory believed by a character (see posting here Jan. 23, 2016).

I am not aware that screenwriting is taught in high schools in AP English classes.  It would be a good topic.  A screenplay draft by itself does not fully convey a story the way a novel might, but with the analytics from Final Draft or similar products it comes closer to suggesting what the filmgoer will see,  Television writing is quite a bit more structured than film, since episode components have to be of such exact lengths.

(Posted: Friday, July 21, 2017 at 3:15 PM EDT)

Bull Run Mountains, VA (Piedmont)

 

I did a little field trip today to the Bull Run Mountains behind Haymarket, VA, just north of Va-55 and I-66.  There is a road, Antioch, which connects to Hopewell Road and goes through the mountain pass (at about 1000 feet) and goes down to The Plains, VA.

I think I was here in the fall of 1962 (while a patient with NIH) with high school (Science Honor Society) old friends.

I found a horse attraction, then a county park with a lake, and then went up the mountain.

Three videos follow.  I talk a little about the last story in my DADT-III book, “The Ocelot the Way He Is”, as this is the area that “Bill” drives through to meet “Nolan” and then go to the fictitious ashram or intentional community, after which stuff happens.  (See June 25, 2014 for treatment of “Two Road Trips”.)  I also talk about some legal issues that could potentially occur with hosting asylum seekers.

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(Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 8:30 PM EST)

More background on the connections between my novel manuscripts

I do expect to get back to more detailed editing of the novel “Angel’s Brother” within the next week.

But I wanted to make some more notes about the connection between this novel document, which continues from some notes on July 3, 2014.

First, let me give some history.  To the best of my knowledge, “Novel 2”, or “Tribunal and Rapture”, as started first, in the summer of 1999, after I had been to Europe and my mother was more or less recovered from bypass surgery.  (I did not go back from Minnesota but for about a week, but the whole situation then was stressful.)   I believe a draft with most of it was finished by early 2000, all while I was living in the Churchill in downtown Minneapolis. As I note, the story is largely told through the viewpoint of someone other than myself, a retired Muslim-American FBI agent, with considerable military experience, and with a largely secular, modern life (Dubai-like), including a UFO abduction.  He has no conflicts over scriptural religion and modern individualsm, and tends to believe that all three major Abrahamic faiths have more in common than their differences.  I met Muslims like this in the 1980s and 90s during my career and never gave any thought to terrorism.  The book is apocalyptic, ending with the “evacuation of the angels” to a colony on Titan, a moon of Saturn.

I apparently started the “Novel 1” (“Rain on the Snow”) in the summer of 2000, after a vacation and then a minor crisis at work.  The first part, which presents “Bill” getting invited to a “re-education” Academy (in west Texas) to get to join a doomsday prepper squad (the whole “There is no ‘they’” thing), his getting involved with a mysterious youth Matt who comes across as a Clark Kent, and his being jailed after effectively being framed for Matt’s “death”, ending with his escape with the help of his other minions, and climatic ritual at the end of the book, preparing him for a new world.

When I went to Europe at the end of April 2001, I thought about the idea of deploying the novels.  I remember an afternoon in a hotel in Toulouse, France, having a debate with myself, and thinking about “Rain on the Snow” as the logical choice because the events happened first.

Well, not exactly.  I had written a lot of backstory passages for “Tribunal and Rapture”, which also explained some of the setup of “Rain on the Snow”.  I remember a weekend in July 2001 (about two months before 9/11) when I drove from Minneapolis to the Northwest Angle, and gave a lot of thought to the sequel, “composed first”.  I remember “Frankie and the Path Pit”.  (Frankie is one of Bill’s old boyfriends, who becomes a kind or archangel at the Academy.)  I began to think that this background material needed to be put into “Rain on the Snow”.

So between late 2003 (after I returned to Virginia, because of Mother) and 2005 (in the heart of my substitute teaching) I fashioned a new structure for “Rain on the Snow”, as a kind of Opus 111   The original story center at the Academy and then jail – itself a two-act structure, turned into the “Theme and Variations”, and the entire backstory became the Sonata form, the first movement.   But many of the individual passages and summaries had been proposed as passages in the early chapters of TR (like the “Nighthike” scene at the very end became an erotic backstory insert into Chapter 8, when A;I reads the story of Bill’s escape.)   In TR, I had also played with the idea of lumping much of the backstory material into one prologue (as Clive Cussler and Irving Wallace would do).   I called these passages the “Lumps”.

Finally, I made an Access Database of the enhanced “Tribunal and Rapture” but I applied the stages of screenplay analysis  (Hague, see Feb. 3, 2016), to each of four major characters (most of all Bill) separately.  Later I’ll figure out how to get this analysis into WordPress.

The character Ali has been taking training in remote viewing in a manor in Virginia that is probably modeled after the Monroe Institute.  Some of the materials he views are essentially “The Book of Bill” (rather like “The Book of Eli” (2010)), and some have been stored on optical (EMP-proof) CD’s.

But in “Angel’s Brother”, a major element of the setup is Bill’s duopoly of novels.  The plot builds up to another Nighthike-Initiation-Immolation scene before the “real” Armageddon and evacuation of Earth by the chosen.  But CIA agent Randy has to figure out whether what is in “The Book of Bill” is really fact or fiction (like the 1998 indie sci-fi film “The Last Broadcast” about the Jersey Devil).

In “Tribunal and Rapture” (Novel 2), the protagonist, Ali Mogul, is depicted as mixed-race (about the same as president Obama, perhaps).  So the story is told through the eyes of a minority person (who includes his son, Amos, who gets in trouble with the law with computer hacking, at at time when hacking was just getting started). But in “Angel’s Brother” I move back (that is, regress, from the viewpoint of social and political correctness) to making the primary character subjects white males, both attractive, one gay and one “straight” (sort of), one college age and one entering middle age, in the late summer of life. That makes erotic tension buildup through the first two thirds of the novel possible.   (I’ll have to do a Hauge analysis soon. )  I was drawn back to this viewpoint by my interest in shows like “Smallville”, “Everwood”, etc.  with “attractive” late teen or young adult male character leads.

One can imagine a movie franchise based on all three novels, each of which encapsulates its prequel.  Perhaps the sequence would be called “Tribunals”.  Maybe it could be a Sci-Fi cable series of about three seasons, 8-10 episodes each.  I’d be game for it but I couldn’t do all three alone right now.

At the end, it seems that there is an “evacuation” from an Earth that is going to see its way of life challenged.  (That’s also true of “Epiphany”).  I know how this will come across to some people:  I don’t have room onboard for “losers” (as Trump would see them).

(Posted: Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017 at 11 PM EST)

New “DuoSkin”, artificial epidermic for temporary tattoos, can server as smartphone interface, maybe fodder for sci-fi rituals

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There’s a bizarre new technology, “DuoSkin”, which can be “pasted” onto human skin, and then be used as a smart phone interface, even as a trackball.  It can even glow.

So people will use it as a temporary tattoo, decoratively.  Most of the videos about it show the users as women.  With Caucasian men, other than bikers and swimmers, care would need to be exercised in placing it.

I can imagine adding a ritual to my screenplay “Do Ask, Do Tell: Ephiphany” near the end, where one of the “angel candidate” characters has the skin applied as part of a ritual, to be “survived”.

Microsoft is supporting this product with research; not sure how they find willing subjects.

Here’s an article on the subject on Geekwire.

CNN has a more expansive story on the aesthetics of the technology here.

There are known issues as to whether wrist tattoos  (especially in some men) interfere with “smart-watch” functions, but that’s a different issue.

Related posting earlier on Notes blog.

(Published: Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016 at 10 AM EDT)

Pimping out my own DADT books at Outwrite DC today.

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I did set up an exhibit at the Outwrite DC in Washington DC today at the DC Center for the LGBT Community, in the atrium at 2000 14th St. NW (ha, ha, only about 5 miles from Nationals Park, a half-mile from Town DC and 930 Club, and Atlantic Plumbing, for that matter).

So I got to do a good interview.  I covered the narrative of my own William and Mary expansion, my own getting drafted during Vietnam, how that mixed with the debate on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and led to my first book in 1997, and how 9/11 complicated my proposals for a “Bill of Rights II”, leading to the second book in 2002, and how freedom of speech and the Internet led to the substance of the third book in 2014.  I did mention “open access”.  I mentioned that I have a draft screenplay for how you might film it.

The interviewer did get the idea that external pressures matter, and that even with a fight for liberation and equality (and the tension between those two concepts), individual moral compass, in reacting to the needs of others in any group one belongs to, matters.  That’s kind of paradox of identity politics.

I got three clips.  The people filming me were unfamiliar with my camera, so the sound is hard to hear,

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(Posted: Saturday: August 6, 2016 at 6 PM EDT)

Update: Aug. 10

Here are a few more videos (other than the QA for “Queer Brown Voices” which is here).

A “simple song” video

Introduction 1

Introduction 2

Introduction 3

Introduction 4

More on the idea of “character diversity”, particularly in love or intimate scenes, for my own fiction

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I wanted to add a note about any potential “casting diversity” or, for that matter, character diversity issues in my own manuscripts (last taken up in January 2016).

It’s true that many of my manuscripts (novels and screenplays) focus on “me” or my avatar as a central driving character, and that my tastes in what is “desirable” (Fort Eustis memories) drive the tension.

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In fact, there is a certain pattern in many of them.  A character like “Bill” meets a charismatic, larger-than-life and tall young white male hero (symbolizing “virtue”)  in the early chapters (rather like Ayn Rand’s fantasy for the young John Galt). Later, he loses his “individual contributor” job and has to face becoming more “sociable”.  He gets contacted to go to some sort of re-regimenting “re-education academy” in the country (in West Texas in a couple scripts, in West Virginia in another, and a simple “intentional community” in DADT III last story). He has to learn to do “real jobs”.  It sounds a little like Maoist re-education (the right and left come together at the other side of the Moon, you know).   At the “academy” he encounters the hero, and builds up to an intimate confrontation.  In the meantime, the outside world has an existential catharsis.

“Bill” is different but he’s not supposed to get off as a “member of a group”.  He has to learn to share the risks that others had to endure.  It’s seen through a moral lens.

But a couple of more recent manuscripts present the narrative primarily through a separate, heterosexually married white male character, with “Bill” inn his backstory, and with some gay interests.  In the novel, the character is a good family man whose marriage will be challenged by a gay college student, as well as “extraterrestrial” events (and a mystery virus to boot).  In another screenplay “Titanium” the protagonist is a white male journalist whose fiancé has been abducted (possibly by aliens) when she “went up”.  But the reporter has another girl friend, who is of opposite race, and helps the girl friend raise a child.  But I’m in the background. It get’s pretty complex.

I grew up in a world where most movies and entertainment catered to conventional white stereotypes of what is desirable from men and women.   People did not think about the idea that other kinds of people should be presented as “attractive” then as they often do today,

(Published: Friday, July 8, 2016 at 11:30 AM ET)  Related post today.

“Do Ask, Do Tell: Epiphany”, detailed outline and screenplay structure

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I have recently completed a shooting script for “Do Ask, Do Tell: Epiphany” (formerly, “Conscripted”). It is quite detailed except for the secondary backstory flash scenes. The script notes in Final Draft 9 are quite helpful with tracking the details.  I had explained this on Blogger Dec. 30 here.

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Although the July 30 post is still a fairly accurate overview of the story, I have changed some significant deals in how the story progresses.  There is only one visit to each of the “ashrams” until near the end, so the physical journey around the space colony has been simplified.

I think it’s useful to review Mchael Hauge’s “Screenplay structure: Five Key Turning Points” link and map the screenplay onto his outline.

Introduction: Setup:

Scene 1, Page 1

Bill (me) gradually regains consciousness in a dark room in bed, and feels like he is in a “paralysis of sleep” state.

Two other young men, both tall, Brutus and Randy, watch through a one-way window and try viewers (similar to the idea in “Strange Days” (1995, Kathryn Bigelow). .  Elmo, the geek arrives, and does some shell scripting on an older-looking computer terminal to set up “remote viewing” levels for the other arrivals in the space station.  The other young men don’t exactly know where they are either, but can look out on a landscape that resembles Titan, a moon of Saturn.  Gradually, some other young men from Bill’s life arrive, including “Tompom” and Aaron.

Bill relives his own fictitious screenplay, called “The Sub”, where a precocious student comes on to him (when he is teaching), and where he sinks into legal trouble.  The fiction is shown in black and white. Past real incidents that fit the screenplay occur in color.  Bill momentarily experiences a fleeting memory “before anesthesia” of returning home from a party and concert (Elmo had been there) and being surprised to find his mother returned from hospice, before getting a mystery email and leaving the house. But the memory disappears, like a dream that is hard to remember.  The other guys, especially Randy and Brutus, practice reading Bill’s fictitious mind/

The Turning Point  (Scene 39, page 21) occurs when Nolan arrives (“Opportunity”).  Though he resembles the other young men, he seems to be in charge, and is regarded as an “angel”.  As Bill completely regains consciousness, Nolan escorts Bill underground through some chambers to a subway system called the “Mobius”.

The Opportunity (Scene 63, page 29) first shows Randy checking into a hotel, having trouble checking his social media, but looking up a former mentor, Tobey, on line, and learning it takes time for posts and messages to process.  He has dinner with the other men, who have similar experiences.

Bill checks into barracks of what are called “Ashram 3”, with technology of about 1900.  He meets Tovina, who looks about 40 but who hints he dated her in the past and took her to the Senators’s last baseball game. Bill has to learn the housekeeping and cooking chores, sees an unusual garden. He finds a piano that doesn’t work on more modern compositions.  He plays some yard and board games with the kids and finds gravity is a bit weird.

Bill meets Richie, about 50, an old nemesis from his social life years ago in the City.  Richie continues to “domesticate” or “feminize” Bill. Randy arrives, and explains the rules for using the Mobius Metro.  Other college kids “Wechsler” and “Kip” arrive. Wechsler stays “overnight” in the Ashram to monitor Bill, who starts noticing the days seem like a perpetual twilight, like summer at the North Pole.

Bill travels by Mobius to Ashram 4, which looks colonial, mid 1700s.  He learns piano tuning and glassblowing, and finds out that he can’t even play Mozart on the “fortepiano”.  He meets (“Change in Plans”) a former music chum from his days at William and Mary, “Jonesboro”, with whom he refreshes his memory of how he got into music (which got “into his blood”).

In the “Progress” stage (Scene 81, page 43), Tompom, Kip amd Wechsler set up a stage play at Ashram 1 (based on year 2001) after traveling from Ashram 3.  Then they put on the play, showing what went on behind the scenes to get Bill “fired” when he was subbing after the school found out about his screenplay.

Bill visits the low-gravity softball field and plays some workup, and has chest discomfort.

In the “Point of No Return” (Scene 93, Page 51)  Bill gets a keyhole heart treatment, which will not be disruptive, in the “City” near the hotel, under normal gravity.  Then Sydney (also from William and Mary) visits him.  Elon trains Bill in managing the software that controls the access others have to his own “telepathic broadcast” which more or less replaces social media.

Bill is recovered enough to visit Ashram 5, which shows a village as it might have looked at the time of Christ. He learns how “money” works in the ashram, and among angels (where there is a galactic “bitcoin system”). He interacts with Sydney, who confronts Bill about what used to make him tick. Bill learns he will choose a “messiah” among the other young men there.

At “Ashram 2” (1960) Bill helps build a recital hall where his music will be performed.

In “Higher Stakes”  (Chapter 106, page 71) Bill travels back to the City, gets a nanobot injection to help with his memory, and sees the setup: much of the colony is set up as a cylindrical rama with artificial gravity, perpendicular to Titan, so when on it there is a Coriolis effect.

He returns back to Ashram 3 and gets some practice in “just living” before the young men assemble and trade stories as to how they got there. The travel together by “train” to Ashram 1 to re-enact the story of Bill’s 1960 expulsion (although that could have fit Ashram 2 better!)

They travel to Ashram 2 (now!) to do the concert.  As a Setback, some of the music still doesn’t work. But the Nanobots start to work, and Bill finally remembers how they got there

In the “final push” (Chapter 141, page 97) Bill plays his music (with Elmo’s help), and the “tribunal” ritual (“Climax”, quite literally) starts.  Brutus stimulates Bill, who impregnates Tovina.  The ritual poses the question, what in people really should matter?

(Aftermath):  Bill returns to the world, which has been placed in upheaval by repeated power grid failures, while accepting that UFO’s are real because they have been seen publicly.  After Tovina gives birth to Bill’s child, he can return to the spaceship and join on a journey with the angels to other planets.

The people on Earth will rebuild, another cycle of history, but for the next couple hundred years, doomsday preppers (like “Survival Mom” on Facebook) will take over.  History will have many up and down cycles before man is ready to move to the Stars.  Only the chosen few seem to go now.  Oh, please, how do you deserve to be “chosen”?

Update: July 20, 2017

The “fiction” screenplay, which would be shown in black in white, which “Bill” relives in his mind starts on Scene 3,  p. 1 and runs through Scene 55, p. 23

The “stage play” (put on by “students” at the Ashrams, “Hamlet” style, play-within-play ) showing what must have happened behind the scenes at the high school where “Bill” had been subbing run from Scene 81, p. 43 to Scene 89, p. 48.

The account of Bill’s William and Mary Expulsion, running through Army service, runs from scene 113 page 73 to Scene 134 page 90.

Bill speaks to an audience in the “2001 Ashram 4” and some of it is again acted out by student “dancers” on a stage.

(Return to original post)

The “City” on Titan should look like the art work in this video of Alexander Scriabin’s Symphony #1 in E, with the “famous” choral conclusion.

Play the grandiose ending!

(Published Wednesday, February 3, 2016 at 10:30 PM EST)