Category Archives: Circus

About The Latest Show on Earth Circus.

What’s your GSD-Q?

What’s your GSD-Q?

Of course there are a lot of great personality tests out there.. Myers-Briggs, the Enneagram, EQ, etc.

The test I offer here, the GSD-Q is great because you only have to look at three simple diagrams and you can “type” yourself within a few seconds. The other great thing about the test is that whichever type you are, you can make an instant shift in every area just by adding a dose of the other two types.

Take a moment to clear your mind, breathe deeply, and sit comfortably. When you are ready, look at the next three images for about three seconds each.

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getting shit [stick-a-fork-in-it] done

getting shit [stick-a-fork-in-it] done

ever want to get shit ALL done? like there’s some project you’ve had hanging over your head for centuries, and somehow it’s never finished? i remember (and have perhaps distorted) an old wives’ tale about fisherman’s wives who would sew sweaters for their husbands at sea–but right before they got to the end, they’d unravel the thing and start over again–because if they finished the sweater and he was at sea, it meant he was dead. like my circus. that was a fun project. so many people collaborated. getting to work and play with the infamous benjamin turner (who is now on tour with the carpet bag brigade) was a dream come true (nightmare? just kidding, ben). but, fuck, it took a year to plan and a year to execute. and another six months to make the tour movie. and it’s all outta sync and i have to re-do it. it’s still not done!

perfectionism. a major obstacle to completion.

how do we know when to stop working on a piece of art (a film, a short story, an ice carving)? it’s like dating. you gotta check yourself. i’ve adapted the dating protocol to art. when i don’t know what to do in a relationship, i call friends who know me, tell the truth, and ask for their perspective. and i put that information on the table. i talk to the person and tell them where i’m at. i meditate on it. i sleep on it. i read about it. i write about it. i make art about it.

which brings us back to the art.

e. g. i’ve been ramping up my standup writing. and i had the bright idea to create a filemaker database to put all my ideas into so i wouldn’t lose them as easily. it’s also helpful to be able to sort them by topic for when i want to build longer sets. and i could even go back through my old notebooks and harvest the old seeds i sowed long ago! but then my mind said, hold the fuck on–you’re going to buy filemaker pro, load it on to the computer, build a database, go through all your old notebooks, and then write new jokes? that’s a couple of weeks’ work and you might lose the steam you had to write jokes in the first place inside a steam-sucking computer chamber! NO WAY. and then another voice said, MAKE A PHONE CALL to someone who has PERSPECTIVE. so i called my ‘comedy mentor’ (who knows how i work and how i shirk), told him the story, and he said DO IT! so i’m doing it. in the past, i would have spent a week just puzzling over whether to make the stupid database and not written a single joke. ah, progress.

and as for stick-a-fork-in-it-done? not gonna happen. maybe for dead people. my good friend brian’s motto is helpful for perfectionists (but not for imperfectionists): “better done than good.” am i wondering to myself, ‘is this blog entry good enough?’ yes. am i willing to stay up until 4:30 am again to perfect it? no. good night!

getting your shit together

getting your shit together

chapter 12 – how do you get shit done if you don’t know which shit to do?

so i found myself reading ‘what color is your parachute?’ this afternoon. but dattner, you say, you must have your shit together and get it done so easily. you have my own website and everything! look at what you do! you make movies, you run circuses, you tell jokes to people who laugh, you edit the news, you write screenplays, you act! you’re a model for those of us who were wondering what color our parachute was! your parachute is probably very clearly a specific mauve and eggshell pinstripe! and i bet it never catches on fire when you fire up that heater that excites the air molecules and makes it rise, and i also bet no one ever hides on the side of the basket and then climbs inside and tries to highjack you and your briefcase of money as you make your ascent and great escape! i bet that never happens! what more could you possibly need to know that would be found in such a book?

well, dear reader, much can always be learned… more soon.

circus tour on hiatus. (we’re recording a studio album.)

circus tour on hiatus. (we’re recording a studio album.)

“so what’s next?” is the most innane party question. it seems that once a reputation for leading thrilling and unconventional life has been established, it must be kept up, like the plucking of unwanted eyebrow hair. sure, you can wear neon green leg warmers or drive a motorcycle into a pool just once and your feats will be immortalized. people will not forget how the neighbors’ pool had to be drained and the crane brought in, how the water-logged bmw sat in the yard, rusting for several weeks before the french exchange student bought it for parts for a tenth of the price you paid. you don’t have to run another goddamn thing into a pool again.

but invent, book, produce, star in, coddle, merchandise, tour, feed, and generally run a circus for a year, and everybody–friend, fan or critic–needs to know, “what’s next?” well, i took a few months off, and when i want you to know what’s next, believe me: you’ll know…

the end of days

the end of days

well, the end of these days:

you know that day. that endless repeating day that begins at around 10 am. the roommates yelling “you have no love in your heart!” and the sun creeping through your eyelids. you think your way out of breakfast and back into sleep. that day that actually begins at 11:40. the checking of email and bags under eyes. the tired-from-too-much-sleep. the imagining one is self-employed, when in fact, one is simply un-employed. the power walk to the post office and the bank and finally to the cafe for a day of writing, interrupted by that cell phone call from back east. the bar of sweet gooey walnut confectionary crap and the guy with glasses typing on his mac, telling you about all the other people he talks to who sit on the very couch where you’re sitting, asking the very same questions you’re asking yourself, that people all over san francisco have asked of themselves for decades… “who am i?” “what do i really want to do?” and “should i get a laptop?” the brief flash of the idea for the greatest reality show ever. the fantasy of selling the idea and making too much money. finding a personal trainer. really never eating sugar again. dating in hollywood. one-on-one time with deepak chopra and/or ellen. renouncing your interest in fame and fortune. adopting the baby from bolivia and the concert with ‘death cab’ that finally ends landmine casualties forever. an international peace treaty that dissolves armies in every corner of the earth and sends the money instead to schools and diplomacy and mediation. and art. that day that now turns colder and wetter and windier and darker sooner and begs a nap. more checking of email as the day melts away and you make it out the show, the meeting, the class, the video store. those days are coming to an end.


it seems like only a year ago when i was getting ready for new year’s eve 2004. and it began with a bang.. the year of the circus. the first paid gig at the punchline. 10 minute sets at cobb’s. kostume karaoke at the odeon. fighting the landlord for rent-control (and letting him win). four stars from film threat magazine. the pre-cancerous (and now fully eradicated) freckle. the magic bus trip. the buddhist acting class. the new job in Television. the innovation of polyamory, and the ensuing disillusion therof. the myriad stunning self-revelations.


and this new year, spiraling upward, hurddling toward a stillness, triumphantly and humbly making new and better mistakes. writing that book? taking the class in rhetoric? the summer in brooklyn? the one-woman show? moving to la? positive cash-flow? finishing that damn screenplay? a new and wildly resolute committment to making an utter fool of oneself on stage? or better yet, some heretofore unimaginable version of the future thrusting itself into reality?

PORN-E-OKIE, ODEON BAR, NEW YEAR’S EVE, 2004. five bucks.

so if you find yourself wandering the misty streets of san francisco this new year’s eve, you’ll fit right in with the misfits of the odeon. join us. we’ll be singing all the karaoke favorites but shockingly all the background video is porn. and it all matches up with alarming serendipity. i’ll be hosting the show with chicken, jascha at the door, flash and phoenix at the bar. you’ll find us in top form, in heels and bunny ears, in nurse outfits and jail jumpsuits, in boas and bibs, in to celebrate the triumphs and mourn the losses of the passing annum, squeezing as many sins as can be squozen into the last hours of the old year, all agreeing that some particular moment that evening when the hands of the clock are aligned (though many will shout erroneous numbers as we try to count down to midnight), will be the most important moment of transformation, empty of expectation, brimming with excitement. and that next moment, the one after, smelling the sticky floor of the bar, our hands collectively braced against the peeling paint of the black and red walls, dizzy from too much of something or not enough of another, at once alive with open, delicate hearts in the face of our own future, and frozen, our hearts already breaking in anticipation of the first disappointment of the new year. but not yet. no. make this big new year give you a big fat smooch on the cheek–and then turn your head real quick so she hits you smack dab square on the lips.