Passion = Truth? How Jeffrey James Francis Ircink Sees The World? I love when people are passionate about something. That surging of emotion is the one honest measure of what truth is. It's a truthful display of how a person really feels about something or someone at that particular moment. That passion IS truth.

About me...

My photo
Greendale, Wisconsin, United States
Ex-producer of THE REALLY FUNNY HORNY GOAT INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, playwright, actor, singer, outdoorsman, blogger, amateur photog, observer & bitcher, Beach Boys groupie, Brett Favre fanatic, lover of everything Celtic and forever a member in the Tribe of HAIR. Spent most of my life in the Village of Waterford, a small town just outside of the Milwaukee suburbs. After 12 years in North Hollywood, Bel Air and Culver City, Cali, I moved back to Wisconsin in September 2009. No regrets - of moving to LA OR moving back to WI. Have traveled to Belfast, Ireland, Dayton (OH), Manhattan, Seattle, Cedar Rapids, New York, Miami and Sydney, Australia with my plays. Moved back into the Village of Greendale where I was born. Life is good.


Friday, July 31, 2009

A senator's masquerade ball in Washington, D.C., 1858.

"To that gay Capital where congregate
The worst and wisest of this might State;
Where patriot politicians yearly wend,
The Nation's fortunes, and their own, to mend;
Where snobbish scribblers eke the skanty dole
By telegraphing lies from pole to pole;
Where bad Hotels impose their onerous tax;
And countless Jehus sport untiring hacks..."

- from "A Metrical Glance at the Fancy Ball" by Major John De Haviland

Sort a reminds me of Washington, DC in 2009, no?

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TGIF! presents...Wang Chung's "To Live and Die in LA".

My homage to the city I've lived in for 11 years and 3 months. And the one I am leaving.

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"And that's the way HE was". Mr. Cronkite. 1916 - 2009.

I hope he died ashamed at what journalism has evolved into - in some cases.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

The "Beautiful Revolution" salutes Alisabeth Caraway!

Alisabeth is an actress/singer/photographer in New York City but she hails from Marion, Iowa (next door to Cedar Rapids). Though we don't know each other (except through Facebook) we have a lot of common theater friends in CR.

Alisbeth put this video together for the Target and Converse One Star's "Challenge, Create, Change" YouTube video competition - and she won. $10,000. Watch this - it's very good.

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Nino Jeff & my goddaughter, Gwyneth.

Gwyneth loves her godfather. Can't you tell?

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Origami No. 21. "An Act of Regeneration", by Ray Smith.

Ray Smith is my friend from Cedar Rapids. We met while working at Theatre Cedar Rapids - Ray worked behind the scenes on sets or tech. He used to write poems inspired by the various productions he worked on and then give copies of those poems to the cast members.

"An Act of Regeneration"
by Ray Smith

Of the mind
Forming illusions
Into action

Hiding shame
Under the bed
Shoved into the
Basement of our Soul

Living untruth
Seeking the appearance
Of reality
Making us worthwhile

The skeletons hanging
Their horrors hidden
Til the relationship
Demands them purged

I Am – We Are
Cutting through
Ridding ourselves of –
Raiment’s of illusion

Realizing wholeness
As we cut away
The guild

Realizing worthiness
As we let go
The shame

Left alone
With our Spirit
We are free
To be one again

To Be
All - things or any – thing
We are choosing
To become

In likeness
All We-Are

(Origami is sort of my catchword for a featured blog post that highlights my original writings - could be an excerpt from one of my plays, a poem, a song, a rant, a rave, a cursing, etc. Origami is the art of folding paper (the word is of Japanese origin). Or, it could be the creative juices of someone else I know - or don't know. So, within the folds of this particular blog feature you may find something really beautiful, meaningful or poignant.)

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Favre to remain retired. Dammit.

Favre told the Minnesota Vikings today that he will remain retired.

ESPN's Ed Werder said that Favre's decision not to play for the Vikings was incredibly difficult, and in the process he indicated that he is unlikely to ever considering playing again in the NFL. "It was the hardest decision I've ever made,'' Favre said. "I didn't feel like physically I could play at a level that was acceptable. I would like to thank everyone, including the Packers, Jets and Vikings -- but, most importantly, the fans."

Favre, who had shoulder surgery in May, experienced soreness in both ankles and his left knee during his private workouts in Mississippi. The pain would not subside and worsened as he continued to prepare for a potential 19th NFL season, which Favre considered proof that his health was too precarious to be trusted for a 16-game season.

"I had to be careful not to commit for the wrong reasons,'' Favre said. "They were telling me, 'You went through all this, you had the surgery and you've got to finish it off.' But I have legitimate reasons for my decision. I'm 39 with a lot of sacks to my name."

Here are just a few of Favre's NFL records:

consecutive starts by a QB = 269 (291 including playoffs, 2nd all-time)
wins = 169
completions = 5720
attempts = 9280
pass yards = 65, 127
pass TD = 464
ints = 310

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Monday, July 27, 2009

"Billy Balfoor" semi-finalist for Short & Sweet/Brisbane!

My latest 10-minute play, "Billy Balfoor Wants An Apology", made the semi-finalist cut for Short & Sweet/Brisbane, the largest ten minute theatre festival in the world, with additional festivals in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Singapore and Malaysia. 550 entries were submitted. 103 made the semis...only 7 of which were from the U.S. 40 make the final cut (a process I have issues with).

Two previous shorts - "Pass the Salt, Please." and "The Bed" were also semi-finalists for Short & Sweet/Sydney. This is becoming a habit - being a semi-finalist. I'm on a mission to make the finals this time around. I'll keep you posted.

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Don't think of a monkey!

A collection of primates found in the McCann-Glover home in Tujunga. That line - "don't think of a monkey" - is Donovan's.

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Barnsdall-Rio Grande gas station

The Barnsdall-Rio Grande gas station in Goleta is just up the road from Tom Nowak's place - my non-blood uncle's brother. Goleta is the next town north of Santa Barbara. I've driven by this place dozens of times and - since I'm moving back to WI any day now - decided to snap a shot of it and do a little research on it. Click on READ MORE! and have look at the California coast you've probably never seen.

The Barnsdall Rio Grande service station was built in 1929 and is one of the most architecturally significant service station in California and perhaps the United States. Constructed in the popular Spanish colonial revival style of its time, it was designed by the same architectural firm that was responsible for many of the attractive Richfield service stations of the same time period.

One of the most notable features of the station was its vertical elongation. It covered only 450 square feet at the base but soared 40 feet into the air. The third floor of the tower held a 2,000 gallon water storage tank which provided pressurized water to the station.

The station was situated at the entrance to the oil field owned by the Barnsdall-Rio Grande Oil Company and was intended to be a corporate showpiece. The first operator of the station was D.M. Tinsler. Under his management the station received a beautification award from the Garden Club of Santa Barbara and the Montecito Roadside Committee. The Montecito Roadside committee was particurlary concerned about the unsightly accumulation of signage around service stations and along the roadways. The contest judges declared the grounds to be “finely kept” and relatively free from signs. In the years to come the station would receive many other awards for “excellent appearance”.

Today the station is located on a side road, but when it was originally built is was on the Coast Highway (now 101) and undoubtedly attracted the attention of the highway traveler. Even if the motorist was not in need of services they would be compelled to stop just to admire the architectural beauty of this unique station. If the service station didn’t stop them, the adjoining restaurant would.

Seeking a partner for this wildcatting operation, the Rio Grande Company combined with the Barnsdall Oil Co. to explore this unproven location. They began drilling on June 1, 1928. They had agreed to drill to 3,000 feet at a cost of about $10.00 a foot and if the well didn’t prove out at that depth to give up. At 3,160 feet, the drilling supervisor asked for permission to pull the plug. As a last ditch effort before giving up they asked the geologist Morgan to have one last look at the final coring. Morgan detected traces of petroleum. They drove the bit ten more feet and struck a gas pocket, at just over 3,200 feet they found the oil. It was a gusher generating 180 barrels per hour.

The petroleum was so prolific that the company did not have the capacity to refine all of it as it was produced. While the storage and delivery facilities were being built Barnsdall and Rio Grande made arrangements with Seaside Oil Company to take all of the surplus flow.

The speculators behind the Barnsdall and Rio Grande Oil Companies were rich, paying $650,000.00 in taxes on their first year strike alone. Although the cost and design of the small flagship station seemed extravagant, the expense was nearly insignificant relative to the earnings of the rich oil reserve behind it along the shores of Ellwood in Santa Barbara County.

I'm gonna deviate from the story for a second. Little known fact: during WWII, Japanese fired 16 shells at this exact location of the West Coast. There were no injuries but $500 damage was done to a shed and catwalk at the seaside Barnsdall-Rio Grande Oil Co. field along Goleta Beach.

Above: Filming at the Barnsdale-Rio Grande station during The Postman Always Rings Twice, with Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner.

Might as well give a status report since this made it to the top again. The guy that is responsible for the Beanie Babies, Mr Ty Warner is now the proud owner of this historic service station building. It came with the adjoining golf course that is built where the oil field tanks once stood. Warner has purchased a number of flagship Santa Barbara properties thanks to all of those Beanie Baby millions (or was it a billion?).

He has done a remarkable job of restoring and or remodeling many of these famous properties including the Santa Barbara Biltmore Hotel and San Ysidro Ranch, despite having to put up with endless nonsense from every group that thinks that they should have a vested interest in anything that gets done in Santa Barbara.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mike Farrell's, "Of Mule and Man". Read it.

"Not since Steinbeck's Travels with Charley in Search of America has there been a more beautifully written and compelling journey into the heartland of America. Mike Farrell celebrates his beloved country with great honesty and sincerity, with humility and grace. A beautiful and courageous book."
- Ron Kovic, author of Born on the Fourth of July

Mike Farrell - actor, writer, director, producer and social activist - pens a poignant journey of his travels across the United States in his rented Prius, "Mule", while promoting his autobiography, Just Call Me Mike: A Journey to Actor and Activist. I thought the most appropriate manner in which I could discuss this book is to just reprint the email I sent Mike:


Received Of Mule and Man on Wednesday. Finished Saturday morning. Should’ve finished it sooner, but with the impending move back to WI I was interrupted. Otherwise, couldn’t put it down. Your penchant for storytelling is remarkable – second nature. You’re writing is perfect. Interestingly, those who’ve read my plays overwhelmingly say that my style of writing dialogue is…well, it sounds natural. Like, this is how people talk. And isn’t that how a play should read - as if it's real-life (at least, those that do, in fact, reflect real-life)?

Obviously, I wasn’t aware Shelley broke her hip. Ouch! I trust the healing process is going well. My thoughts are with her. Interesting to think how the book might have read with her along for the trip. And your son got married! Very nice…congratulations to him and his bride.

Random thoughts. That paragraph about “who needs the radio” and talking to yourself? Hilarious. Do it all the time. I’ve always said ‘if I don’t listen to myself talk, why should I expect others to?’ Loved the cover design of the book. Loved “riding” along with you throughout your incredible cross-country journey (what…no stops in WI???). After having read your bio and now this book, I can’t help but think how striking the similarities are between you and your character “BJ” on MASH. The book, unequivocably, gets 5 stars (I may blog about it - 1,000 hits a week...who knows who I can influence to read it).

Finally, though we DO share commonalities in our social and political beliefs, we also share differences. But that’s beside the point. Your unwavering passion for your beliefs is admirable. I love the word “passion” and I love passionate people – even those I disagree with on certain issues. (There’s a reason I named my blog, PASSION = TRUTH). I would follow you into a firestorm because I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you would have my back, as I would have yours. Nobody’s perfect. You nor I. But I find you to be an honorable man (which is the same word your son used when I had those beers with him a few years ago). THAT is an important character trait.

Ha – you’ll get no argument from me that I believe you’re lucky to have Shelley in your life. But – she’s also very lucky to have you in her’s.

When’s the next book comin’ out, dammit!!??? I’m ready for more…

Best regards,
Jeff Ircink

PS – if you ever run into Mule again (or a relative) give her/him my best

And yes - Mike emailed me back. If you click on the Amazon banner at the top of the blog page, you can order Mike's book from there.

Book cover design: Jon Resh
Front cover photo: Chris Downie/Ninja Monkey Studio
Author photo: Patricia Williams/Human Rights Watch

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Montana & Elway to Favre: Play football.

In case anyone cares, NFL Hall of Famers Joe Montana and John Elway both chimed in in favor of Brett Favre playing his 19th year with the Minnesota Vikings.

So all the naysayers just shut the hell up.

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Inara George & Van Dyke Parks.

Saw them last night at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica. What a wonderful evening of music! Inara's voice was familiar to me before - probably from "Morning Becomes Eclectic" on NPR in Los Angeles but otherwise I had never heard of her. Parks, of course, is known (among many other things) as the lyricist on The Beach Boys' infamous Smile album - the one Brian Wilson abandoned but later released in 2004.

First time I've seen either of these performers in person. I found myself dozing during the show - and that's not a bad thing. I didn't fall asleep and I didn't miss a bit of the concert. It's just that Inara's voice, the pictures she paints with her songs, the lyrics and the music happily lulled me to this very comfortable place, which made listening to both Inara's and Van Dyke's performances extra special.

Obviously I loved the show as I bought two of Inara's CD's after the show - on sale! I was fortunate to have been invited by my new Julie who just so happened to be Inara's music instructed at Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon when Inara was just a child.

Thank you, Julie, for the invitation. Gonna miss McCabe's as a music venue (once I move). Great show, indeed. Oh - check out the websites for both Inara George and Van Dyke Parks.

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#55 - "Grace Notes from a Bohemian in Wanderlust". Aunt Ruth's cottage.

("Grace Notes from a Bohemian in Wanderlust" is a series of posts about my 3.5 week May vacation in Seattle, Chicago, Milwaukee, Lake Tomahawk, WI and Miami. They are in no particular order.)

My father - relaxing at his sister's cottage in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin. My Aunt Ruth has had this place for...a while. It's on indian reservation land. We always try and stop in and visit while we're fishing up at the Rainbow in Lake Tomahawk. Click on READ MORE! and let's take a peek at my Aunt Ruth's cabin.

Dad, Uncle Tom (deceased) and Uncle Fran. The Ircink brothers.

When I lived in Bel Air, CA, I had a Christmas tree up year-round. I had it up for two reasons - one, it was my way of commenting that the "Christmas Spirit" should live on 365 days a year and not just during the Christmas season, and two, it reminded me of my home in Wisconsin - the Up North feel of cabins and woods and evergreens. The bitch who owned the property where I lived and worked in Bel Air thought I was nuts for keeping my tree up year-round.

I guess all the Ircink's are nuts then, Barb. My mother has two trees up year-round as well.

My Grampa Ircink's lure collection.

The Ircink clan. Back row, left to right: Aunt Ev, Dad, Uncle Tom, Aunt Ruth, Aunt Mary (deceased), Uncle Fran. Front row: Grampa and Grama Ircink. The occasion of this picture was my grandparent's 50th anniversary. Myself, my father and brother got wasted. :)

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Friday, July 24, 2009

American Apparel. Britney. Part Trois. For "James".

That saucy company who's models are as intriguing as their apparel continues to intrigue Internet browsers - and people who've stopped by PASSION = TRUTH.

"James" recently wrote 'DUDE BRITS SO ON! MORE PIX IS WAT I SAY.'
July 22, 2009 11:42 PM

Well here's more of Britney for you, James - and the direct link to AA's model you can have Britney all to yourself.

In case you're wondering, this is only 3 of the 5 pictures in this lovely Britney montage - I just can't show the rest. You can see them here.

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TGIF! presents..."The Beauty Within" from "Starmites"!

From the 1995 Theatre Cedar Rapids production of "Starmites" . Love this musical! I portrayed Space Punk, leader of the band of boys called Starmites. It was our holiday show and a huge success. Though nominated for multiple Tony awards, it failed to win any and closed on Broadway after two months.

You know, this musical is like "Blood Brothers" - another musical I appeared in. People either love it or hate it - no middle ground. Janelle Lauer(left) and Lisa Bohn (right) portray mother-daughter.....ohhhh it's all confusing. Look it up - and enjoy the song.

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Will he or Won't he? Favre & the Vikes.

Last week former Green Bay Packer and New York Jet QB Brett Favre announced he'd make his decision about whether or not to unretire and play for the Minnesota Vikings. Apparently, Favre then upped his deadline to tomorrow (Friday).

Will he or won't he?

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Kismet" is the damndest thing!

So I call my best friends in California - Donovan and Maria - and tell them I'm not coming over tonite 'cause I'd just have to leave Saturday (for a theater event with my buddy, Michael Carrera) and then return to D&M's Sunday morning for a birthday party at Jay & Susie's in Pasadena. Follow me? Why not move my visit with D&M Sunday through whenever? Makes sense to me.

Then I get a FB email from my new FB friend, Julie, who works with Eric Lowen (of Lowen & Navarro fame...Pat Benatar's song, "We Belong" - L&N wrote it and I've seen them perform a number of times). Turns out Julie has tickets to see a duo at the world-famous McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica Friday (tomorrow) night. schedule is now open.

The duo is none other than Van Dyke Parks and Inara George. Who are they? Parks is the co-writer of most of the songs on The Beach Boys' infamous album, Smile, Brian Wilson's 1966 follow-up masterpiece to Pet Sounds that was to be his "teenage symphony to God" but never saw the light of day (until a 2004). And I've never seen Parks perform. Inara George is a singer-songwriter who's the daughter of Lowell George, the late founder of the rock and roll group, Little Feat.

Ha...Inara's husband is director Jake Kasden, son of writer/director Lawrence Kasden, and director of the flick Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, starring actor John C. Reilly.

And today, I just emailed my friend from Cedar Rapids, Mark, my favorite clip from Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, featuring Reilly as Dewey Cox and Elvis Presley, whom I adore.

Ain't that "kismet"? Whatever it is, it's pretty fucking cool.'s a great introduction to that funny clip from Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.

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Gordon McConnell. Director of "Pass the Salt, Please." in Miami.

I never had the honor of meeting actor/director Gordon McConnell, who directed my short play, "Pass the Salt, Please.", at City Theatre's Summer Shorts Festival 2009 in Miami this past June. He wrenched his back and was unable to attend the festival the weekend I was there. I finally got an email from him via Facebook:

"nice to hear from you and sorry I missed you. I really enjoyed your play, best of the bunch as far as I'm concerned..."

I would normally ask Gordon's permission to post his quote on my blog, but I didn't feel the need - I mean, why wouldn't any director think the play he directed is the best play of the bunch?? Gordon really did a superb job on the show. Jeff was VERY happy.

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Favre throwing the pigskin around in Hattiesburg, MS.

At a recent high school football workout in Mississippi, someone commented, "(Brett Favre) was crisp on short timing passes and was hitting receivers in the end zone from about 50 yards away. He attempted a few deep passes off bootlegs and usually hit his targets in stride...Favre's spirals held true and he proved he still has plenty of zip when he tossed a deep pass to a college receiver who dropped by to work out. The pass split the receiver's hands and hit him in the face."

"He's a senior from Southeastern Louisiana, so I put a little more on it," Favre said with a smile.

WR Micah Williams from Oak Grove High in Hattiesburg, Miss., told the AP, "He's still throwing hard like he used to...Still with zip. Hard. If you don't wear gloves, your hands are going to be through."

Favre commented, "With the small ones (receivers), you've got to learn to take a little bit off when you throw it," Favre said. "I haven't had a parent call me and say, 'Are you trying to kill my son?' "

Favre recently said he'd make his decision whether or not to come out of retirement once again to play for the Minnesota Vikings this season by July 30. He then upped his deadline to this Friday.

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My roommate's whacked dog, Domino.

I'm not sure how much of Domino's behavior here is just "playing" or is she, in fact, psychotic?. She does these weird forward jumps while running like some sort of showhorse and she performs these nutty aerial twists like she's an Olympic diver. You be the judge.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I'm gonna kill Shelley Edlin! My FarmTown addiction.

Above: My "avatar" - Jeffrey James. My farm is named after my dad's R&R trio from the late 50's, early 60's, the Glenn Mar Trio (wait - that name doesn't even make should be Glenn Mar Farms; I'm an idiot). I fashioned by avatar with a blue mohawk because it stands out while I'm in the middle of the marketplace trying to get hired by some other farmer. It's chaos...I can't even explain it.

If you're not aware (or your dead), Farmtown is a game where you and your friends design, grow and maintain your own farm. It's quite intense, complicated, realistic and addicting. There are currently over 11,948,808 monthly active users and I have 17 friends that partake. Many of the players I interact with I have never met.

My high school friend Shelley emailed me and said, "hey, you should do this...there are some people from home on it and it would be fun!". Now I desperately want to kill her! What's interesting is that you not only "farm" your own farm, but you can hire out to other farms and harvest and plow their acreage. By doing so, the farm owner makes more money and the worker makes money - and both parties accrue experience points so you move up the ladder and can aquire additional seeds, buildings, animals and more property to farm. Do you even care? Thought not. Silly muggles.

Above: One stage of Del Mar Farms on Facebook's Farmtown. It's changed since then

How does this affect my life - or anyone else's? It doesn't. It's a stupid game and it's wasting all our time. But it's addicting and competitive as hell and, if nothing else, it's helping me to communicate with people I already know. I could regale you with all sorts of Farmtown stories but you wouldn't understand or care unless you play the game. If only my father knew his 44-year-old son is addicted to this. He'd have me committed.

Look for my series, "The Further Adventures of Jeffrey James Avatar in FarmTown" , here and on Facebook. It's a hoot. At least I think it's a hoot. Alright, gotta get back to Del Mar Farms - I should say "Glenn Mar Farms" now - my coffee is ripening.

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