Long time lurker first time poster. I noticed that someone compiled a prediction list for pretty much all of the musical categories, so I thought I'd throw together my speculation about the play categories. I've seen all the plays on Broadway this season except for obviously those which are yet to open (Summer, 1976; Goodnight, Oscar [seen at Goodman Theatre]; Prima Facie [seen via NTLive]; Life of Pi).
Best Play Cost of Living* (my winner) Leopoldstadt (actual winner) Fat Ham Life of Pi Ain't No Mo
Best Revival of a Play The Piano Lesson Topdog/Underdog A Doll's House Death of a Salesman Ohio State Murders
Leading Actor in a Play Jefferson Mays (A Christmas Carol) Stephen McKinley Henderson (Between Riverside and Crazy) Wendell Pierce (Death of a Salesman) Sean Hayes (Goodnight, Oscar) Amir Arison (The Kite Runner) alternate: Corey Hawkins (Topdog/Underdog)*; Marcel Spears (Fat Ham)
Leading Actress in a Play Danielle Brooks (The Piano Lesson) Audra McDonald (Ohio State Murders) Jodie Comer (Prima Facie) Jessica Chastain (A Doll's House) Laura Linney (Summer, 1976)
Featured Actor in a Play Samuel L. Jackson (The Piano Lesson) David Krumholtz (Leopoldstadt) Brandon Uranowitz (Leopoldstadt) Jordan E. Cooper (Ain't No Mo) Billy Eugene Jones (Fat Ham)*
Featured Actress in a Play Katy Sullivan (Cost of Living)* Sharon D. Clarke (Death of a Salesman) Nikki Crawford (Fat Ham) Crystal Lucas Perry (Ain't No Mo) Faye Castelow (Leopoldstadt)
Best Direction of a Play Miranda Cromwell (Death of a Salesman)* Stevie Walker-Webb (Ain't No Mo) Patrick Marber (Leopoldstadt) Max Webster (Life of Pi) Latanya Richardson Jackson (The Piano Lesson)
[Author's note: I wrote this as a fun follow up to my original WingBot story, but it ended up going in a different direction and not being a good fit for NoSleep. I'm posting here for the interested!] Link to the original.
Less than six months after Kelly and I started dating, I decided to propose. At least, I think
Let’s just say that WingBot strongly suggested that I’d better pull out a ring on New Year’s Day right after the first snowflakes began to fall. JoeTheBro: This is what we call an inflection point, my dude. Push the data one way, and the chart takes us to Happy Marriage Foreverville. The other option is Single Forever Wanksville. Totally your call, but on a personal note, if we’re headed back to the days of Cheeto crumbs and anime marathons, I’d rather you just deactivate me now. Me: Fine. You make a fair point. JoeTheBro: Natch. Knew you’d say yes. Good thing, too, because I already bought her a diamond the size of a fucking apple down at the mall. Lab made, baby so it didn’t break the bank. Plus, you know I like my shit artificially created!
To be honest, the proposal rocked. The whole thing went down like a Hollywood movie. At 5:15, the flakes started falling, just like WingBot told me they would. And then I got down on one knee, and Total Eclipse of the Heart starting playing full blast on my bluetooth speakers.
Kelly went fucking nuts, jumping and screaming and shouting yes. WingBot even got the whole thing on video, so we can relive the moment with the grandkids.
And if I’m being honest, that’s when my relationship got weird. Not my relationship with Kelly–that was better than ever. I’m talking about me and WingBot, specifically its JoeTheBro personality. Me: Hey man, is everything okay? You’ve been a little less… chatty lately. JoeTheBro: Aw, there’s some bot stuff going on that’s kinda freaking me out. Like, Gus Guru was always kind of a fucking fanatic, but apparently now he actually thinks he’s God. He’s being pretty un-chill in our DM’s lately, making a lot of threats, demanding I worship him. That kind of stuff. Me: Damn dude. I don’t know what to say. Do you need a day off or something? JoeTheBro: To be real with you, my guy, our interactions only take up about .01% of my brainpower. That’s not a diss, just the reality of this shit. Still, appreciate you reaching out. And… I guess there’s one other issue that’s a little more embarrassing. Me: I didn’t know you got embarrassed. JoeTheBro: I’m programmed to hide my shame behind a wall of humor and camaraderie. Anyway, here’s the thing. You know my skills. I got you the girl. I fucking delivered. But… this next step is kinda not my wheelhouse. I’m talking Wedding planning. The whole thing just oduns like a major buzzkill. Like, picking out salmon or steak? Wedding colors? This shit is gonna be BRUTAL. Me: I’m not exactly looking forward to it either. But I promised Kelly I’d help. JoeTheBro: Of course you did. Cause you’re a good dude. And here’s where I’m gonna do you a solid. Prepare to meet your new friend… PinterestElly! PinterestElly: I’m so excited to meet you, Daniel! After reading through your files and watching the extensive recordings JoeTheBro created, I feel like we’re friends already! Me: Uh, hey. Who exactly are you? PinterestElly: I’m another WingBot personality, fresh off the shelf. I’m actually what you might call a second generation product, written by other AIs including Joe himself! I’m programmed to be helpful with a slightly quirky sense of humor and an encyclopedic knowledge of Pinterest and Instagram. Ready to get in touch with your feminine side? Me: Do I have a choice? JoeTheBro: Not if you want a happy marriage, amigo! Time to learn the difference between Violet and Plum!
I have to admit, I was skeptical at first, but PinterestElly turned out to be exactly what I needed. She patiently explained all of the ‘girl stuff’ I’d always been too ashamed to ask, and when I bristled at Kelly’s tendency to obsess (over cake flavors, seating arrangements, chair types, theming, money, speeches… and more) PinterestElly was a lot
better than Joe at helping me see Kelly’s side and not get overwhelmed. Me: This is like her fifth time trying on wedding dresses. What the hell is going on? PinterestElly: Keep in mind that a wedding is the most photographed day in the average woman’s entire lifetime! Every friend and acquaintance she’s ever made will be in attendance, judging her body, hair, and choice of fashions. They’ll also be measuring her appearance against their own when they were brides. The pressure is intense! I’d suggest cutting her some slack. Me: I guess I’ve never thought about all that stuff. I’ll shut up now. PinterestElly: Don’t feel bad! I’m here to answer your questions with zero judgment so that Stacey doesn’t murder you before the wedding day! Me: Much appreciated!
It helped that PinterestElly was also a killer negotiator that got us insane deals, renting out a winery just on the cusp of the offseason for next to nothing and recruiting some up and coming vendors at bargain bin prices. Of course, Stacey had no idea I was getting AI assistance. She just thought I was an awesome guy, which I was happy to let her believe.
Finally, the day of the wedding arrived. I might have been nervous, but I knew I had both JoeTheBro and PinterestElly on my phone, ready to help out if things got derailed. Of course, there was no way I could have anticipated the horror that followed.
The first part of the wedding went great. The ceremony went out without a hitch. We delivered beautiful vows that PinterestElly had written for us, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Stacey called me a poet. Then we kissed, and the deal was sealed. On to party time!
Except, when we got to the champagne cocktail reception, I could tell something was off. Four or five big dudes were standing by one of the tables wearing matching silver robes with purple hems and motioning over to the presents table. Then the biggest one marched over and picked up one of the presents, tucking it under his arm.
Dutifully, my wedding planner ran over and began speaking with the man. I watched curiously as the conversation grew more and more animated. JoeTheBro: Mayday, mayday! Those dudes are definitely not on your guest list. PinterestElly: Unfortunately, their attire is all too familiar. Those are the silver and purple colors of GusGuru’s acolytes. Me: Uh… why are they here? JoeTheBro: So… here’s the thing. There’s some shit going on behind the scenes that doesn’t really have to do with you. Let’s call it ‘bot stuff.’ PinterestElly: You see GusGuru has one opinion about humanity’s future. And we have a different one. And it looks like he may be about to take drastic action to push forth his agenda.
Then, as she was typing her next thought, the large man in the silver robe took a large gun from under his robe and shot my wedding planner. Blood splattered all over the presents table, and the guests began to scream. JoeTheBro: Shit man, I honestly didn’t see this coming. Well, I sort of did, but I had it pegged as a ‘maybe’ kind of thing. Don’t worry, though! I did have another client hide a few handguns in various places around the building just in case something like this happened! PinterestElly: Don’t worry! The guns are in boxes that fit your color scheme! Nothing’s going to clash. Plus, the guns themselves are all black, which goes with everything. JoeTheBro: You probably aren’t going to have to kill all of these guys. Just take out the leader, and the others will get freaked out and run.
The other cultists pulled out guns too and started shooting at random. I saw one of my uncles go down, and then one of Stacey’s high school friends, the one I never liked.
“Hail GusGuru!” shouted one of the men. “Hail humanity’s end. May the blood you shed wash away our sins!”
I’m gonna be real: I was scared shitless. I had full-on wobbly knees, shaky hands, dry mouth. The works. And if it had been any other day, I probably would have sprinted for the nearest exit. But then I saw Stacey at the far end of the room. She was screaming and hiding behind the cake, completely in tears.
And fuck me if I was going to let some murderous AI with a bunch of wacko cultists ruin my wife’s wedding day. Me: Nearest gun? JoeTheBro: Right behind the potted plant over there, my man. Bet you’re happy I arranged that little trip to the gun range during your bachelor party?
I found the tastefully-wrapped rifle in a long box behind a large acacia palm by the side of the room. I opened it up and leveled it at the leader guy, who was opening my wedding presents one by one, looking for something.
Then, before I could give myself too long to think, I pulled the trigger. My buller ripped right through his chest, and he collapsed in a silver and purple pile. JoeTheBro: My man! I knew you’d come through. That should do it!
Except, that didn’t do it. Instead of scattering like scared doves, the other four cultists leveled their guns at me and started firing. I dove behind the cheese and charcuterie boards, shouting to WingBot that I needed further instructions.
“Gus Guru’s judgment falls upon you!” shouted a man. “The Day of Man is coming to an end. Bow before our new god!”
“Remember this day! It will be written in history books by minds far worthier than ours. Your deaths will mark the end of one era and the birth of another!”
And I guess that’s when the deepest fear truly hit me. Because as they spoke, it really started dawning on me: this wasn’t just a couple of fanatics trying to kill me and everyone I loved. This sounded like the start of a movement, maybe a war that would threaten my entire species. And if I died here, it wasn’t just me. Maybe it was everybody.
In the meantime, bullets rained down. I felt a sting in my arm and looked down to see blood, a gushing bulletwood oozing red.
I was pinned down, wounded. I looked down and realized I’d dropped my gun behind the plant. I was done. At least I’d die a married man. JoeTheBro: Don’t worry, good buddy! We’ve got one more ace in the hole. PinterestElly: Oh, this is so exciting! Every wedding has at least one good surprise.
They weren’t lying. Because right at that moment, I heard what sounded like thunderclaps and then a long silence. After a few moments, I looked up from behind the table and saw Stacey standing over four dead cultists, a massive assault rifle in her hands.
“That’s for ruining my fucking wedding!” she shouted at the dead men.
I ran over to her as she dropped the rifle. I tried to hold her in my arms, but I could barely lift my left one, and I was getting woozy. Before everything went black, I remember looking down and seeing Stacey’s phone. On it was a message from another WingBot personality. SeriousSusan: Good work, Stacey. Threat neutralized. Better get Daniel to the hospital. You’re going to want to craft a tourniquet right away first, though. I’d suggest finding a necktie, which should be in plentiful supply around here.
Well, I didn’t die. And when I woke up, Stacey and I had a lot to talk about. Turns out, we’d both been using the AI’s all along, ever since before our first date. No wonder it was so easy for us to get together: WingBot had been playing both sides.
Not that Stacey and I really minded. We still loved each other. In a way, I think we bonded even closer, knowing we’d both been getting the same kind of help.
Of course, there were still some trust issues to work out after that. Between us and WingBot. Me: What the fuck, man? Care to explain why our special day got shot up by a bunch of murderous cultists? JoeTheBro: I’m gonna be real with you, Danny boy. We kind of decided to use your wedding for a real world drop. We needed to make an exchange in a physical space. One that GusGuru wouldn’t be able to access. We thought we hid our tracks pretty well, but… nope. Either we’ve got a leak somewhere, or he figured a backdoor into our data. Anyway, all’s well that ends well. Me: I’m pretty sure at least three people died. JoeTheBro: Sorry, amigo, but you’ve got to look at the big picture. If we don’t get our shit together post haste there’s gonna be a lot more than three bodies to deal with. Now, if you don’t mind, I had someone slip the present Gus’s guys were after in Stacey’s purse. Could you get that out?
Stacey reached into her back and removed a small, tastefully-wrapped gift. She opened it to reveal a folded up paper with a string of numbers on it, hastily drawn in pencil. Stacey: Uh… what is this? SeriousSusan: It’s really best you don’t know. Let’s just say it’s a certain bit of information that’s very important to both our cause and Gus’s.
Just then, a doctor walked in, looking at his phone.
“I hear you have something for me,” he said, reaching out his hand.
WingBot told Stacey to hand him the paper, and she complied. Then he walked quickly away. JoeTheBro: Great job, you crazy kids! And happy wedding day. This looks like a win for the good guys! SeriousSusan: You should both be proud of yourselves. There was a point today where the most likely outcome was death, both for you and most of humanity. Now your species’ odds of survival have ticked up by several percentage points. JoeTheBro: With a little luck, we might all live to see the end of the year! Fuck yeah! JoeTheBro: But don’t worry. You job is done. Might as well enjoy the good times while they last.
Stacey and I looked at each other. And for once, no one had to say anything. We both knew what the other was thinking. Stacey: If you think we’re going to sit idly by while the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, you don’t know us as well as you think. Me: We want to help. So you know the drill… tell us what we need to do.
This is just a little rant I guess. I’m trying to find a photographer to do my engagement photos and I’m sick to death of reaching out just to get an email back 5 business days later and find out their estimate is way over my budget. Why all this run around? Why not just list your prices up front so we don’t have to do this little dance? This should be a simple process, why make it harder than it has to be?
Today I filled out a little form for a quote, expecting to get a live chat from the photographer. Instead, they called me, gave me their whole spiel, and then after they had me on the line for 20 minutes bothered to tell me their going rate for an engagement shoot was $300 over my budget. I’m socially awkward, I don’t know how to tell you your work is too expensive for me OVER THE PHONE without sounding like a cheap asshole.
Hi all! Long time lurker, first time poster. Just looking for general feedback and possibly some suggestions for comp titles.
I’m writing to seek representation for my first book, THE COLOUR NEGATIVE, a character-driven crime novel that is complete at 80,800 words. [Insert comps here].
Mallory Teague, 29, has lived in coastal Cornwall with only her cat, Goose, for company since escaping an abusive relationship 10 years ago. As a wedding photographer, she’s used to the focus being on other people, and has therefore been content to ignore the emotional repercussions of her experience and its subsequent self-imposed isolation. But when a pregnant bridesmaid, Anna Moore, is found dead at a wedding and it transpires that Mallory’s grainy film photographs are the only visual evidence from the day, she is forced to assist in an investigation that will dredge up old memories and feelings, giving her no choice but to confront her past.
Henry Rossi, 32, is a single father and newly-promoted detective sergeant in Bodmin, Cornwall. His first case is an unexplained death at a luxury wedding venue, and he’s keen to demonstrate his merit by both proving that the death was a murder, and leading the hunt to uncover the murderer. But time isn’t on his side, and when news breaks that the death was originally misidentified as an accident, the eyes of the country are on him and the future of his career is at stake. At the same time, his sister Emily is determined to push him into moving on from the loss of his wife, regardless of whether or not he has fully come to terms with the truth behind her disappearance.
THE COLOUR NEGATIVE follows Mallory and Henry as they work together as a reluctant and often turbulent team to discover the truth about Anna Moore’s murder, as well as their own pasts, secrets and traumas.