Today, I got to stop by Brian and Sara’s to pick up the much-anticipated and fresh off the press posters for UK Theatre’s production of Titus Andronicus, described as “Shakespeare’s slasher play.”
I’m excited about this for many reasons.
Reason #1: I’m the art director for UK Theatre’s advertising for this season, which has been enormously gratifying. Gratifying mostly because of my decision (reason #2) to engage Cricket Press to develop the imagery for the season, a task at which they have excelled. I’m a huge fan and working with Brian Cricket has been a delight of many facets, from his cheery demeanor to his amazing screen artistry, to his using me as a possible biting target for his doggie.* (more on that at the end)
Here’s what the poster looks like— but it hardly does justice to the actual printed thing. We’ve collectively hashed out some of the details through email, and thus, a number of strangers have seen it along the way (like on airplanes) and I delight in their responses. It’s a little shocking, right? (Reason #3) Oh, the joy… UK Theater loves it. I love it. Brian loves it. As I’m prompted to say to Brian when praising his work: “People are gonna be dyin’ in the streets over this!”
That’s an ultimate compliment, by the way.
*Now, let’s talk about, the Cricket Dog, Otter: He’s a fine pup, what you might call a bit rambunctious. Every time I’m over at The Cricket Abode and Complex, I’m aware of savage barking coming from … somewhere in back. Apparently, the Crickets have some trepidation about their doggies and visitors, so Brian tends to sequester them when I come over.
This time was different, though. I was getting out of my car and Brian popped out to the driveway and sez: “Hey, Mick, would you mind to help me with a little experiment with my dog?” I sez: “Sure!” I’m like that.
Brian gives me a handful of doggie treats, and the following instructions: “When we go in the front door, DON’T MAKE EYE CONTACT and DON’T TALK TO OTTER. After a minute or two, give him these treats.”
Maybe I’ve got a bit of trepidation. Maybe I didn’t tell Brian the story about the dog who nearly bit my fingers off. (another tale, another tail!) But still, I’m nothing if not game, and that’s just in my blood, even if some of said blood sometimes leave my body.
So we hit the front door, and as we walk in, Otter comes charging at me, full bark and growl on, a blur around me of snapping and air-nips, millimeters from my jacket and treat-clenched fist.. nnnnnnnnice doggy! niiiiice!
there’s barking! there’s staunchness! there’s guardianship! It’s the things some of us most admire in the canine species.
Returning to the here and now, I ain’t got nipped yet, but I ain’t rulin’ it out, yo. I know how it is, though: Some call it a gift… I’m like some kind of combination of Dr. Doolittle and Mr. Rogers: animals and kids love me. Can’t explain it. Except Otter, maybe. Maybe? He’s barkin’ up a storm and I’m doing my job, not looking at him, holding my winning hand of pup treats, like a champion poker hand. Don’t let ’em see ya sweat…
Otter isn’t easing up the pressure, but Brian sez: “Okay, give him the treats!” Which has me a little worried. Still, I open up my palm, thinking, “I’ve got ten fingers for a reason; These five may not be totally necessary.”
The thing is, Otter doesn’t really notice my treats and keeps barking—y’know–“GET THE HELL OUT INTERLOPER!”
Brian’s, like, “Look, Otter!—treats! Mick’s got treats!”
Otter’s, like: “OUT I SAID!!”
Mick’s, like: “Please leave at least my thumb and forefinger…”
But then—after the darkness, the dawn! The smell of treats wins the day, and Otter gobbles them out of my hand…
Minutes later, I’m drowning in dog spit. I’m getting licked to death. And after a few very tense minutes, Otter and I are BFF.
What kind of day did you have, anyway?