Thursday, July 28, 2016

Heading to Key West

This will be the fourth time I've gone to Florida, but the first time I've flown there. I've driven twice and took a train last October. I really hate to fly but it's only a three hour trip.

I will report more from the Sunshine State.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I love you Sarah Silverman

All is forgiven!

Silverman, herself a fan of the Vermont senator, on Monday night brought the crowd at the Democratic National Convention to its feet with a rousing speech calling for party unity.
“To the Bernie-or-bust people, you’re being ridiculous,” Silverman said after heaping praise on both Sanders and Hillary Clinton, the party's presumptive nominee for president. 
“Not only did Bernie wake us up,” Silverman, 45, said, “he made us understand what is possible and what we deserve.
“I support Bernie Sanders and the movement behind him. And Bernie’s already succeeded in so many ways.”


Monday, July 25, 2016

Jock's father was Payne Whitney

I had actually heard of Payne Whitney long before I knew about Marilyn Monroe's connection to the Psychiatric Clinic named after him, thanks to this New Yorker cartoon, which I had already blogged about, almost six years ago - I commented on the inscrutability of the caption, and mentioned I looked up Payne Whitney and discovered he was a rich guy. Payne also has a mansion, a street and a gym named after him.

And for the record, Payne's father was named William Collins Whitney, and although his Wiki mentions he had horse racing investments, it doesn't mention his nickname was "Jock."

I still don't get the humor of this cartoon though - is it supposed to be funny because blue collar workers are talking about the lineage of a rich guy?




Sunday, July 24, 2016

NJATPWPC

Well NORMA JEANE AT THE PAYNE WHITNEY PSYCHIATRIC CLINIC finally has its premiere performance dates in the Venus/Adonis Thespis Festival: January 3, 7 & 8. I've already started the web site and logo - I think I might need to bump up the lightness on the text though.



And speaking of Marilyn Monroe, my Monroe aficionado buddy April VeVea has just published her book Marilyn Monroe: A Day In The Life and gave me a shout-out in the introduction. Whoohoo!

Monroe trivia - I've been re-watching MAD MEN (since I have a Netflix account now) and in the third season they mention Monroe's last movie "The Misfits" - one of Sterling Cooper's clients is concerned that her dog food company has falling sales thanks to the movie pointing out that horses end up in dog food.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

When worlds collide: Evan Marc Katz and Amber A'Lee Frost

Well it was inevitable - Evan Marc Katz, gender-traditionalist dating-industry huckster who likes to use men's rights activist lingo to categorize men (alpha and beta) admires leading Ladies Auxiliary brocialist feminist-hater Amber A'Lee Frost.

Katz and Frost are made for each other.

The piece that Katz links to by Frost demonstrates the deep hatred of feminists shared by Katz and the brocialists. Just as leading brocialist Hillary-hater Doug Henwood criticizes feminists much more harshly than he does the Koch brothers, Frost likes and admires Tucker Max and Neil Strauss far more than she does any feminists. Frost much prefers to harshly attack feminists, supported and encouraged by the brocialists at Jacobin and The Baffler. Frost previously defended misogynist men of the left - admiring men who are assholes and shitting on feminists is what Amber A'Lee Frost does. As a comparison - she's much less sympathetic to women talking about sexual assault in a public forum, calling it "industrialized confession" than she is towards industrial-grade assholes like Max and Strauss. No doubt Katz believes this indicates Frost would approve of him too, and he's probably right.


All kinds of inter-connections among the feminist haters. But the main connection between Katz and Frost is that they both want women to defer to men. Katz explicitly tells women to be passive - in order that they may have relationships with traditionalist men (who are single in much greater quantities than more enlightened men, and so more likely to increase his match-up hit rate and further his career); while Frost, along with her contemptible brocialists-at-arms Liza Featherstone and Doug Henwoood want feminists to shut the fuck up about glass ceilings or careers or even the universality of rape(!) because the men have more important things to talk about.

Yes, dating hucksters and brocialists have much in common in their attitudes towards women.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Sophie Blackall and the Caldecott Travesty

Speaking of illustration, what's my arch-nemesis, the draftsmanship-challenged Sophie Blackall up to these days?

Turns out she won the Caldecott Award in 2016, which is the highest award for children's book illustration. The judges at the Caldecott Award must be blind. I'm so glad I didn't go into illustration as I originally planned in college, I'd be killing myself right about now.

She won it for a book called "Finding Winnie" which puts me in mind of Dorothy Parker's review of "The House at Pooh Corner" - Tonstant Weader Fwowed up.

But hopefully this win, as appalling as it is, will convince Blackall that her strength really does lie in illustrating children books and she will stick with that and not submit her "art" to publications where I might be likely to come upon it.

Like this. Ahhhhh!


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Nice work, David Cowles



By way of Art.com I discovered this excellent caricature of Marilyn Monroe, probably the best I've seen. I'm thinking of ordering a poster version at art.com. Cowles is an illustrator and this is his web site.

Monroe seems to have been especially difficult to caricature - even Al Hirschfeld had a hard time capturing her, and he tried many times. In this illustration of "Some Like It Hot", the drawing of Jack Lemmon, disguised as a woman, looks more like him than Monroe looks like her.




Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Racist scum Milos Yiannopoulos plays the victim card

Notoriously racist, hateful right-wing scumbag Milos Yiannopoulos doesn't understand what "free speech" means. He apparently believes he has the right to violate Twitter's Terms of Service agreement and lead a mob of racist, sexist freaks to attack Leslie Jones for acting while black.

And because Twitter suspended his account, now he's the victim. Aw poor baby.
In a brief interview on Tuesday evening, Mr. Yiannopoulos said, “This is the beginning of the end for Twitter.”
“Some people are going to find this perfectly acceptable,” he said. “Anyone who believes in free speech or is a conservative certainly will not.”
He's a Trump supporter because of course he would be.



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Monroe pix from the Getty archive

I still haven't figured out what's what, but they let you embed their photos and these are some I haven't seen.

I am going to get a poster print of this one, since Michael Chekhov makes an appearance in my Monroe play.





Monday, July 18, 2016

Even more Shakespeare in the park


Two good actors as Ferdinand and Miranda - no idea what their names are.

The park in question this time is the The Westside Community Garden just around the corner at 89th between Columbus and Amsterdam. The play is THE TEMPEST, and it turns out I'd seen Shakespeare in this park before, a few years ago when I came to see my actor buddy Doug perform in a production of TWELFTH NIGHT there. Probably produced by the same company as this time, The Stag & Lion Theatre company. I didn't get a program, but I figured I'd just look up their web site to find out who the actors were - the one playing Caliban was especially good. Well the joke's on me - they don't appear to have a web site. Or a Facebook page, or anything else on the Internet except for an expired Backstage casting call for the role of Prospero.

One thing I especially liked about this production was that they made an effort at period costume rather than go the lazy route of modern-dress. Although, as with the MIDSUMMER production I saw a few weeks ago,  in which I said they should cast Puck with a female actor to address the gender imbalance, they should have cast Ariel with a female actor. And TEMPEST is even worse than MIDSUMMER for gender imbalance, in fact it might be the worst in the entire canon - exactly one female character. I think it might be the only Shakespeare play that has only one female role.

Speaking of that production of MIDSUMMER I saw, I took a walk to see my old Upper East Side neighborhood (and to meet my Fitbit daily steps goal) and ended up in Carl Schurz Park, when what should I see but the very same New York Classical Theater production that I saw in Central Park. Although it appeared that they were confined to one area of Carl Schurz, which could only improve the show without all the hiking from one location to another. I got there at the very end, with the rude mechanical performance of Pyramus and Thisbe for the court, and since I didn't stick around until that scene in Central Park, I didn't recognize the production.

But I should have known immediately who I was dealing with when, the second I aimed my cell phone at the actors on "stage" one of their photo-phobic storm troopers swooped in and told me I couldn't take pictures in this taxpayer funded "venue" they'd decided to appropriate.

I got one anyway. But still. Fuck you New York Classical Theater and Actors' Equity for this antiquated, senseless no-photography rule applied to an outdoor public park. This is bullshit.

New York Classical Theater once again feeding at the public trough while forbidding photos.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Peter Thiel: worst person ever

I've been a Paypal user since its very earliest days, but I've recently discovered what a pack of rightwing assholes its founders are.

And especially Thiel:

Exhibit A:
Thiel, a self-avowed Ayn Rand fan who thinks that women’s suffrage has undermined the greatness of capitalist democracy and that freedom and democracy are incompatible, is a rather more familiar figure: a man with a distaste for the messy realities of the political present, over-enamored with his own intellect, and unaware of his own blind spots. If you’ve spent enough time on Twitter, or in the great comments sections of the internet, you know this type depressingly well. In truth the only thing really scary about Peter Thiel is that he has enough money to buy his own serious reception.

Exhibit B:
Thiel has been secretly financing lawsuits against Gawker Media for several years. He recently confirmed his involvement in Hulk Hogan's invasion of privacy suit against the company and said he is supporting other suits as well.

In Silicon Valley, where both liberals and libertarians have deep-seated fears about Donald Trump's candidacy, Thiel is something of a rarity: a billionaire tech entrepreneur who openly supports Trump.

Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and Palantir, is an active venture capitalist. He is slated to be a California delegate for Trump at next week's convention.

In a recent interview with CNN, Trump said "I have great respect for Peter."

It's hard to figure out if Thiel has any ongoing association with Paypal, which is now owned by Ebay. If I find out there is still a connection I will find an alternative to Paypal. I don't want a single dime of my money going to misogynist, fascist-dictator-loving Peter Thiel.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Elizabeth Warren rejects Evan Marc Katz's advice - lives happily ever after

Dating advice huckster Evan Marc Katz likes to tell women to be passive. He also believes, like a Men's Rights Activist, that men are divided into alphas and betas.

Luckily for her, Elizabeth Warren never listened to Evan Marc Katz-style advice - and women have been told to be passive long before Evan Marc Katz decided to rebrand that piece of patriarchy-bolstering advice as his very own.

Elizabeth Warren:
I proposed to Bruce in a classroom. It was the first time I’d seen him teach, and I was already in love with him, but watching him teach let me see one more thing about him — and that was it. When class was over and the students had cleared out, he came up to me and asked, somewhat hesitantly, “Uh, what did you think?” 
“What can I say? Will you marry me?” 
He stared back at me. It was not the first (or last) time that I gob smacked him. If I was a hard-charging, go-to-the-mat-for-whatever-you-believe kind of professor, he was more of a scholarly, camping-out-in-the-archives-poring-over-an-old-legal-manuscript kind. I’m usually the one with the wild schemes, and he’s usually the voice of reason, calmly explaining why it isn’t a great idea to paint the ceiling dark purple or rip all those unknown vines out of the overgrown flower bed by hand (lesson learned: poison ivy).

But he blinked a couple of times, then jumped in with both feet. “OK.” 
To make sure the deal was sealed, I smiled and said, “Good. Let’s do it.” 
It made no sense at all. Bruce was teaching in Connecticut, and I was teaching in Houston. And besides, there was the small matter of the fact that I had a complicated life: two children, both of my parents and my Aunt Bee popping in and out all day, a red station wagon and a mean little dog that bit people. Bruce had lived with none of the above — children, seniors, station wagons or dogs — but he never hesitated.
We got married 36 years ago today. It made no sense at all, but maybe that’s how love works. All I know is that I’m sure glad I asked — and sure glad he said yes.

Happy anniversary, Sweetie! I love you.

I totally get Warren's feelings. There's something incredibly sexy about a man being articulate and sharing his knowledge in an open, accessible, non-snobbish way. That and a man who can do impressions and accents/dialects - both incredibly arousing.

Friday, July 15, 2016

No Jamelle Bouie, Robin DiAngelo is not helping

I was very disappointed to see that Jamelle Bouie cited Robin "intentions are irrelevant" DiAngelo in his latest piece about Donald Trump.

The first time I ever heard of Bouie was when he used my blog posts as a resource - because I had been documenting Razib Khan's racism for years -  to make a case against Khan when Khan was up for a steady writing gig with the NYTimes. I mention this fact in my anti-racist bona fides (bottom of this post and on the right-hand side of this blog.)

Thanks to social media, there are times when people are falsely smeared as racists - I have had that very thing happen to me. The thinking seems to be that because black people have been treated horribly on the basis of their ethnicity, it's now appropriate to turn the tables and treat white people badly on the basis of their ethnicity. You can casually smear a white person as racist, for any reason, if you feel like it because black people have suffered. And you will be considered a hero by many on the left, as Mikki Kendall was.

This is not justice. This is revenge.

It's one thing when social media zanies like Mikki Kendall promote revenge, but Robin DiAngelo has taken that revenge-based approach and codified it into a series of lectures and workshops given to established, respectable organizations. One of DiAngelo's techniques is to bow to the personal prejudices of some people in order to discriminate against others, on the basis of ethnicity. Now it certainly wasn't the intention of the woman who cried to distress a POC - she was expressing sadness for what happened to a POC - but since Robin DiAngelo's belief is that intentions are irrelevant that means that bigotry against a white person is perfectly acceptable, even if what they are doing is expressing sympathy for a POC.

This is why Robin DiAngelo is so incredibly pernicious, because she packages garden-variety bigotry as social justice.

I completely agree with Bouie's article about Donald Trump and racism. And Bouie does not lump all white people together. As he notes in his piece:
For its American Values Survey, the Public Religion Research Institute asks respondents whether “discrimination against whites is a significant problem.” In last year’s survey, 43 percent of Americans—including 60 percent of working-class whites—said discrimination against whites had become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities.
But as far as an identitarian like DiAngelo is concerned, "43 percent of Americans" saying discrimination against whites had become a bigger problem is meaningless - because as far as DiAngelo is concerned, 100% of white Americans are racist. She says exactly that - that your beliefs and actions, as an individual, ethical-decision-making human being are irrelevant.
if we are well-intended and do not consciously dislike people of color, we cannot be racist. This is why it is so common for white people to cite their friends and family members as evidence of their lack of racism. However, when you understand racism as a system of structured relations into which we are all socialized, you understand that intentions are irrelevant.

So because we are all socialized in the system, we are all the same. DiAngelo does not allow for individual human beings becoming aware of, and consciously rejecting the existing race-based system of structured relations - at least without paying Robin DiAngelo to run a workshop.

All white people are equally racist to DiAngelo because all white people are equally white.

This absolutely does not help the race problem in the United States. I resent very much being lumped in with a member of the Ku Klux Klan because Robin DiAngelo has decreed that my individual beliefs and actions mean nothing - only my ethnicity matters.

Just like people of color, white people resent being lumped together with others in a negative way on the basis of some physical trait. So naturally Robin DiAngelo is only going to fuel white resentment in her wrong-headed approach to social justice.

Robin DiAnglo is not helping.

More of my thoughts on Robin DiAngelo.

My Anti-Racist Bona Fides
Because the reflex response of all Social Justice Warriors/Identitarians like Robin DiAngelo is to smear their critics as racist, here is my statement on racism:

Although I was smeared on Tumblr by infamous bully Mikki Kendall and identitarian extremist K. Tempest Bradford (and thanks to the cozy relationship between Tumblr and Google, the smears show up in Google search results on my name), in fact I have a long history of opposing racism, and the evidence for the past 10 years is on this blog. Unhinged extremists like Kendall and Bradford don't care to know anything about the strangers they randomly smear. That's why they and the people who promote them like Verso books are horrible and don't help solve the problem of racism in the United States.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Preach, David McCullough!

From the NYTimes:

Mr. McCullough, raised in a Republican home and now aligned with no party, said the prospect of a Trump presidency so distressed him that he felt he could not remain publicly detached. “When you think of how far we have come, and at what cost, and with what faith, to just turn it all over to this monstrous clown with a monstrous ego, with no experience, never served his country in any way — it’s just crazy,” he said. “We can’t stand by and let it happen. The Republican Party shouldn’t stand by and let it happen.” 
“I should say, I’m a registered independent,” he added. “I’m strongly in favor of a number of Republicans both past and in our own time. It’s not as though I’m doing this from lifelong ideology against Republicans. By no means.” 
Mr. McCullough said he contacted Mr. Burns after seeing him tell this year’s graduating class at Stanford University that despite 40 years of avoiding advocacy in his work, he no longer had “the luxury of neutrality or ‘balance’ or even of bemused disdain.” After a few conversations, Mr. McCullough said, the two men came up with a plan: “Why don’t we see if we can round up some other people who care about the American story, and who have given so much of their life’s work to it, see if they are willing to step out and make themselves heard.”

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Spotlight

I finally got around to seeing the movie Spotlight and thought it was very good. But frankly I'm surprised it wasn't more controversial. I thought it made very clear that the Catholic Church is a criminal enterprise, the way it freely enabled pedophiles to keep attacking children.

Unfortunately there are too many people who have made a deal with the Catholic Church to give them eternal life in exchange for a few prayers and weekly Mass attendance, and if it turns out that you have to sacrifice some children in order to keep the deal going, well, that's what you have to do. Eternal life is a pretty big fucking deal.

On the other hand, you don't need to be a member of the Roman Catholic Church in order to hang onto Magic Jesus - plenty of people have considered themselves non-Catholic Christians, entitled to make deals for eternal life since 1517.

There's no excuse to remain a member of a criminal organization that uses its wealth and power to try to destroy women's bodily autonomy. None.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

The Pink Hulk in Paradise

HULK LIKE DRINKS
Paradise Factory that is - my friend Valerie David performed her last show of her PINK HULK run Friday night and I was there.

The show now includes something I hadn't heard before in previous readings - when URINE TOWN was being developed, Valerie was in the cast, but she had to drop out thanks to cancer (the first time - her two bouts of cancer which she successfully beat is the topic of her show) but...

VALERIE

I was afraid I would never be able to sing any of the songs in URINE TOWN onstage.
(the look on her face tells us "until now." She sings lines from the opening number from URINETOWN.)

Valerie has a very good voice and she really belts the song. It was one of the highlights of the show. And she had gotten permission from the authors first, of course.

The photo above was taken at the bar we went to after the show.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Wine on 20

Well the Upper West Side really does have everything I could possibly want. I happened to be walking on 84th Street, the next block over, when what should I see but a French wine bar - the fourth in a chain apparently, called Vin Sur Vingt.

Oh lah lah! I still haven't figured out why it's called Wine Twenty, none of its four locations are on 20th Street. They seem taken by the fact that vin and vingt are homophones in French.

And look at their wine selection. Tres bien.

On the week I moved in, The West Side Rag reported they were coming, although based on their Twitter account it seems like they only just opened in June.

When I was a kid, I liked to think of myself as a tomboy since, from my earliest days, I could see that boys got a better deal than girls. But as an adult, and in spite of the fact that my daughter and lesbian friends consider me to be kind of "butch" (like Diane Keaton) my tastes definitely run, if not towards the more girly, then the more fancy.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Suck it Ayn Rand LOL

My daughter, who has a good sense of what shows I'm going to like (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Orphan Black) recommended "Frankie and Grace." I had heard of it, and knew it starred Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, so I was definitely already intrigued. Well it was available on Netflix, which I caved in and subscribed to, so I tried it out. I definitely like it. It's more complex than I had expected. And by the seventh episode I really liked it because Lily Tomlin's Frankie, who is kind of a hippie, decided to start a Twitter account.

The dialog:

          Mike 
      (tech support guy)
Are you sure to send your first tweet? 

          Frankie
I sure am Mike.

           Mike
And you're sure you want to make it that profane?


          Frankie
Abso-fucking-lutely.


          Mike
OK bring the cursor up to the blue button and three, two, one click it.


          Frankie
Did you get it?

           Mike
Yeah. The whole world did. You're part of social media now baby.

          Frankie
You're the best.

           Mike

No you are @suckitaynrand

How can I not love that? I really like the Frankie character more than Grace, but  I have to say, Jane Fonda especially looks amazing.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Fireworks

This year I saw Fourth of July fireworks on the roof of an apartment on Park Avenue which belonged to a friend of a friend. I'm not that big a fan of fireworks but I wanted to hang out with my friend. But her friend, the one who owned the apartment is a horrible person who declaws her cats and is completely unapologetic about it. I ended a friendship of five years standing when I discovered my friend declawed her cat. And I'd do it again. I think it's horrible and cruel to do that to an animal. I'd rather have scratched up furniture than declaw my cat.

But I got some cool pix at least.


The happy face fireworks are pretty trippy...


I admit I upped the color intensity in a photo editing app




ESB obvs








Monday, July 04, 2016

Scammer time Part 3

davigoldd was apparently not at all offended when I offered to send money in Reichsmarks. And he made sure to tell me the internet has dangers. What a consummate gentleman!




Sunday, July 03, 2016

Scammer time part 2

I really got davigoldd's attention when I said I would send him money. He immediately came up with ways to convey the money to him. Although davigoldd is probably a woman, since "my daughter" would be calling me should I be insane enough to give a random stranger my phone number.

There was a long pause after I asked him/her to speak German to me. Looking up Guten Morgen, no doubt. And then the considerate confirmation that this was indeed German.



Saturday, July 02, 2016

Scammer time Part 1

Every now and then I just get the urge to mess with scammers on social media. They're usually incredibly stupid (or at least so unfamiliar with English and/or American idioms) that it takes a lot for them to get a clue. I think I finally wore old davigoldd down with my nonsense.



Thursday, June 30, 2016

Christopher Hitchens has gone down in history as the man who said women aren't funny - JUST LIKE I PREDICTED!

My daughter made me watch The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt when I was at her house the other day and so now I'm binge-watching the series. It's definitely a mixed bag - sometimes it's laugh out loud funny especially for its randomness - when it isn't trying too hard to be random - but sometimes it makes me cringe. It can be gross and I hate the dumb-guy humor of Kimmy's stepfather.  I certainly didn't immediately adore the show as I did when my daughter introduced me to Orphan Black. But I'd still recommend it.

The show is at its best is when it is mocking New York's ultra-rich, especially women who marry old rich men - and to my chagrin you do see far more attractive women/gross old men couples on the Upper West Side than any other place I've lived. So it hits home - and speaking of home, I recognized my neighborhood, including Summit Rock in several scenes in the show.

I also know two actors who had bit parts in the series. Plus I once personally spoke directly to Richard Kind ("Hey there. The playwright whose play you are performing in - he's my Facebook friend.") who played Kimmy's GED teacher in one episode.

I started Googling to find out more about the show and the actor who plays Kimmy, and I was thrilled to discover that she, Ellie Kemper, is not just an actor but a talented comedian (no, I will not use the uselessly gendered term "comedienne" any more than I'll use the term actress) and not just that - in a Ted Talk she makes a direct reference to Christopher Hitchen's infamous Vanity Fair article. Here it is.



This was recorded before she was cast as Kimmy - her on-stage persona is not all that far from the character.

But the best thing about this is that she mentions writing a response to the Hitchens piece in GQ - but it's not just a response, it's a full-on, pitch perfect parody of Hitchens piece and evolutionary psychology. Kudos to you Ellie Kemper. Here it is - read it.

And of course I predicted, five years ago, that Hitchens would go down in history as the guy who said women aren't funny.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Featherwood and the idiocy of the Far Left

The contemptible Liza Featherstone is claiming she will vote for the new Ralph Nader, Jill Stein of the Green Party, because she's "afraid" of a Clinton presidency.

What kind of exquisite lives do people on the Far Left live that they can claim we shouldn't vote for the "lesser of two evils"?

Putting aside the fact that Clinton is not "evil" - in my experience life itself is a constant selecting of the lesser of evils - do I want to work at a job I hate, or do I want to be homeless? Do I want to go into debt to get a college education or do I want to be even more limited in my employment options? Do I want to deny myself ice cream or do I want to work out longer?

If people on the Far Left do NOT live exquisite lives but instead must constantly choose between the lesser of evils like most everybody outside the Koch brothers (Featherstone's husband Henwood is far more generous towards the Kochs than he is towards feminists), why would they think politics would be any different from the rest of life?

There are no perfect socialist saviors that the Far Left craves. Politics will always be about choosing between two fallible human beings with whom we do NOT agree 100%. And in the present case, it's so obvious to any but extremists and the delusional that Donald Trump is one of the worst possible people who could ever be elected to the presidency and even if you don't like Clinton you have to admit that she is not in the same league of "evil" as Donald Trump.

Really what is WRONG with people that they can't see how stupid it is to enable a Trump presidency in any way - including voting for Jill Stein?

Of course Featherwood do live lives of privilege in Brooklyn, and it's doubtful that they would suffer at all under a Trump presidency. They come from money apparently, and they make a living expressing their barely qualified opinions, mostly attacks on liberals. That does sound like a really sweet life, although you have to wonder what idiots would pay for such useless opinions.

I do have to laugh at Featherstone being described as a feminist since she came right out and said she wants to destroy "neoliberal feminism" aka real feminism, which is about women's lives. She and her husband prefer the kind of feminism that puts socialism first before women' lives.

They are truly contemptible misogynists and I will not re-subscribe to The Nation as long as clowns like that are getting paid to attack women for the sake of brocialism and the delusion that life is not virtually always about the lesser of evils.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Norma Jeane at the Venus/Adonis Festival

It looks like NORMA JEANE AT THE PAYNE WHITNEY PSYCHIATRIC CLINIC will have its world premiere at the Venus and Adonis Festival in January 2017. Stay tuned for details.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

More Shakespeare in Central Park

Titania and her fairies exit, stage left.
The fairies, left to right, are Moth, Mustardseed, Cobweb and Peaseblossom

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM is Shakespeare's best comedy, and I'm saying that as someone who came to Shakespeare via AS YOU LIKE IT and have honored MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING as the original romantic comedy. But MIDSUMMER is just about perfect and especially for outdoor productions. Although it doesn't have to be performed in a park to work, one of the best versions of MIDSUMMER that I saw was on the Philadelphia waterfront.

I saw New York Classical Theatre's production Friday night on the north-west section of Central Park, right near The Great Hill, which I finally got to see. It was a pretty good hill. I don't know about great. Although I got a good photo out of it.

Flying a kite on the Great Hill

I didn't stay for the entire show, partly because they didn't have one single staging area but instead kept the audience hopping about every twenty minutes from one location to another and I got tired of it. I really didn't see any good reason for it, and it was quite a large audience so it was a mass exodus every time.

Also I wasn't crazy about how manly this production was. Usually the Fairy Queen's attendants (Moth, Peaseblossom, Mustardseed, Cobweb) are played by women, but in this production some of the guys who played the "rude mechanicals" (Bottom, Snout etc.) doubled as the fairy attendants, although they were more like a pack of irritable, semi-sane homeless men. But it wasn't bad, just different. But what that choice meant was that there were only three female actors in this production. I understand that doubling is cheaper, and these actors were (hopefully) getting paid. But still. The first production of MIDSUMMER I saw had a women playing Puck, which they could have done here, just to be fair with the gender switch-up on the fairies. Although Matt Mundy was excellent as Puck. Pretty much every Puck in a given MIDSUMMER production will be one of the best actors in the show. I'm not sure why that is, but that's been my experience. The interactions between Oberon and Puck are often the highlights of the show, and this production had a neat trick of having Puck from far away "throw" the purple flower to Oberon, who through sleight-of-hand appeared to suddenly have the flower. Very well done.

This production was very musical - the fairy folk sang their lines quite a bit. Which worked OK, I didn't mind that. It was a nice variation.

I was prepared to go with the flow, but then somebody got in my face to tell me I couldn't take pictures. Presumably because this is an Actors Equity production but he didn't bother to tell me that and how could he expect me to know the rules of the AEA? And there was nothing in their web site's "planning your visit" page nor their program that said no photos allowed, and unless you had a program (which I didn't until I asked for one from no-photos-please guy) or know something about the theater company (which I didn't) how would you know this was an Equity production, even if you knew about Equity rules in the first place?

And in any case the rules of the AEA are idiotic when it comes to outdoor productions. This production was in the middle of a public park and not only did it have no clearly-delineated staging area but the staging area itself kept changing. And you could easily take a photo from a little ways off. I have to wonder how far the production stormtroopers were prepared to go. Do they look out for everybody within eyesight who might be taking a photo of the production? And how do they know the offender isn't actually taking a selfie?

You can see in the photo below just how vast the space (at least for one 20-minute segment) was where they were performing.


Oberon and Puck on the tax-payer-funded green

The problem is that the rules against video and photography set down by Actors Equity are from the distant past when taking a photo or video footage was a major undertaking. From a time before everybody had high-quality imaging equipment in their pocket at all times. I mean, so what if somebody takes a picture? It's a freaking FREE production anyway, so they aren't losing anything by someone publicizing their production by (ahem) posting pictures on their blog. It just does not make sense anymore to have such prohibitions and especially for a free outdoor performance in a tax-payer funded park. That's right - I paid for their venue through my taxes, it's appalling that they would begrudge me a few photos.

In any case, I love the top photo on this blog post, taken just as the fairy folk were coming off the "stage."

MIDSUMMER is so popular it's on the verge of over-exposure. I have an idea to write a play about two theater companies who happen to get permission to produce MIDSUMMER in a local park in adjoining locations at the same exact days and times. I think it could be very popular - as a change of pace from yet another production of MIDSUMMER and also, because many people don't understand what is being said much of the time, even for this play. I overheard a woman say she only understood about 70% of what was being said, and this was on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where people pride themselves on their cultural sophistication.

I don't know if I'll call it DUELING MIDSUMMERS or A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S RIOT or what. Not that I should really be planning yet another play which who-knows-when I'll get around to writing. I finally finished a first draft of the latest incarnation of my Marilyn Monroe play, which will probably have a production in the Venus and Adonis festival this winter, but I still have to re-write my Ayn Rand-haunted play DARK MARKET, plus rewrite a play listed in my Doollee entry as THE BENEFICENT POWER OF REVENGE but which I will probably change to FLOWERS FOR MOM. I have to re-write it partly because I can't find a single copy of the script on my computer and may have lost it completely in a hard drive crash; and partly because I have new ideas and it will ultimately be a better play.

And then there's the play inspired by my mom's senior residence plus transvestite (CHESTNUT STATION); PALMYRA NJ based on my adventures with early motherhood and the radical chic; and 12 ANGRY JURORS FROM QUEENS. So five plays I'm trying to finish simultaneously. Do I really need to put one more in the queue? Sigh. I guess I have to.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The North Woods

No that is not a woodland sprite on the upper-left side of this photo,
it's a girl looking at her iPhone
After I stopped by the Harlem Meer in Central Park on my epic journey on Tuesday (to be honest I was trying to meet my Fitbit daily 12,000 step goal) I headed over to the North Wood, which I have to say, was kind of spooky at 8:15 in the evening, although there were still plenty of people everywhere. But I had never been to the North Woods before and it was pretty charming with bridges/arches and waterfalls and lots of trees.

I will have to go running in there one of these days. I'll have to take this map with me next time.

It seemed much darker when I was there - those iPhones
do have very good automatic lighting adjustment
I didn't get to visit The Great Hill but want to soon, I want to see what's so great about it.



Thursday, June 23, 2016

Not 2B

After I was kicked out of the Conservatory Garden (it was closing time, I wasn't unruly) on Tuesday I headed north to see the Harlem Meer. When I was apartment hunting I was taken by the agent to the octagonal building on the far right of the photo below. I was taken here after I had tried to get an apartment on the Upper West Side and it didn't pan out. So I was depressed and this building,  compared to the charming one I saw on 92nd Street near Central Park West seemed so cold and industrial - it didn't help that I saw it at night in early February and it was freezing. Although it looks pretty nice now in the early summer dusk.

The apartment I saw was way up near the top and the big windows didn't even have screens in them - you just slid the window open and the cold night came right in. And the only thing I could think of was how easy it would be to jump right out the window.

Fortunately my current apartment was available and it turned out my apartment number is 2B - I took that as a good omen, since if I had moved into the octagonal building on Central Park North I feel like I would have been not to be.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Conservatory garden at dusk

The English garden


The Italian garden


The French garden

Gardenhenge



I don't think I've ever been to the Conservatory Garden in Central Park at dusk - certainly not at 7:45PM like I was on Tuesday, because I didn't realize the park ranger lady started to walk around in the Garden kicking people out at that time. Luckily I got there soon enough to get some photos.

I'm always surprised to discover New Yorkers who don't even know this place exists. It's amazingly beautiful. I've blogged about it before, in March of this year, and in 2012.






Tuesday, June 21, 2016

As you like it across the street

I had been toying with the idea, a couple of months ago,  of doing a theater production on Summit Rock. So I was especially interested in seeing the Barefoot Shakespeare production of AS YOU LIKE IT performed there for the past few days.

That, and As You Like It is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. It's so good, but the ending is kind of bad, which is a shame. Although I have to say, although I'm not especially fond of the deus ex machina ending with the Greek god Hymen coming in to match up four couples, I didn't like what BS did either, which was to have the guy who played Adam - the old servant of Orlando - act as a sort of Hymen's representative. But I guess they had only so many actors to do the doubling up and that's why he got the gig.

I thought the actor who played Jacques and the actor who played Rosalyn were especially good, but there was a general all-around high quality to the cast and their musical interludes were quite good. Also their Charles the wrestle was much more exciting than any version I've ever seen.

And they made very good use of the space, which was a perfect setting for AS YOU LIKE IT. That play is almost as well-suited for Shakespeare in the park (actual park, not the Delacort Theater) as A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Lady Aberlin is my neighbor

 I became Betty Aberlin's Facebook friend in January 2015. I occasionally befriend celebrities - at least celebrities to me, not necessarily known to most people. I'm also Facebook friends with Dar Williams (singer/songwriter), Katha Pollitt (essayist/poet, columnist at The Nation), Joe Conason (political writer), and Larry Wilmore - I befriended Wilmore in March 2009, when he was just an occasional guest on The Daily Show, he's much more famous now. I tried to befriend Paul Krugman but so far no luck. I don't think he's a big FB user. I do follow him on Twitter though.

Betty Aberlin is probably known to more Americans than any of my other celebrity friends because she appeared on Mr. Rogers' neighborhood in the dual role of herself, in the Neighborhood, and as "Lady Aberlin" in the "Neighborhood of Make-believe" in which she played a member of the nobility in that hereditary monarchy ruled by the insufferable, authoritarian King Friday the Thirteenth.  Here he is in action - you are expected to say "correct as usual King Friday" when he addresses you by name. This is an early episode - early 70s is my guess - and check out Fred Rogers sideburns! He's actually kinda hot here. I never thought I'd say that about Mr. Rogers.






Anyway so I posted a video of a kind man helping a turtle that got a plastic bag stuck around its neck. Lots of people like the video, including Betty Aberlin. It really is a nice video. But I never expected she would be following me on Facebook and respond to one of my posts. I befriended so many Hillary Clinton supporters in the past couple of months that almost the only friend posts I see now are about the election.

The video can be seen here on Facebook.

I looked Aberlin up on Wikipedia and was surprised to find she's been in several movies. She plays a nun in Kevin Smith's "Dogma."




Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday in the Park with Nome

Doing yoga.

In Long Island City.

The Nomester 


Random yogis - that #@&!! dock was splintery



Namaste NYC

Friday, June 17, 2016

Colbert's homage to Jon Stewart

On June 14, Stephen Colbert did a bit about Donald Trump that recalled Jon Stewart's immortal parody of Glenn Beck.




 Jon Stewart's parody: 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The gift of life that we received, is quite a mystery;

Poets of Pennsauken
My mother is an award-winning poet and not for the first time. The people at the Pennsauken library are fans of her work, and this is at least the second time she's won in the adult division of the Pennsauken library's annual poetry contest.

Her 2016 award-winner begins:
The gift of life that we received, is quite a mystery;

The years we have remain unknown, whatever they may be.

My mother favors the AABB rhyme scheme in iambic heptameter. This is known as a Fourteener - a fact I discovered by Googling "iambic heptameter."
A Fourteener, in poetry, is a line consisting of 14 syllables, which are usually made of 7 iambic feet for which the style is also called iambic heptameter. It is most commonly found in English poetry produced in the 16th and 17th centuries. Fourteeners often appear as rhymed couplets, in which case they may be seen as ballad stanza or common metre hymn quatrains in two rather than four lines.
The term may also be used as a synonym for quatorzain, a 14-line poem, such as a sonnet.

I'm certain my mother isn't aware of this terminology either - she has no interest in the formal rules of poetry, she picks a theme and lets 'er rip - I don't think she edits her first draft either. Whatever comes out of her head on the first try, that's the poem. 

I came to poetry because I was interested in following the rules of a particular style of poetry, the Shakespearean sonnet. And I would usually do three or four drafts until I was happy with it.

Also I'm pretty sure my mother has never written a poem about the psycho-social implications of penile tumescence. Although you can see in my sonnet Amoureuse that I sometimes break the iambic rhyme scheme and even the meter - although I see now what a pointless affectation it was to use "blood-engorgéd" instead of just "blood-engorged" since it added an extra syllable which broke the iambic pentameter for no good reason.

I don't only write about male genitalia though, my first poem ever is about lady bits, inspired by Shakespeare's sonnet 151. I think it holds up pretty well, although only I can appreciate some of it - I had once visited the home of my unrequited love, which was in Oyster Bay, and I got both "oyster" and "bay" into the sonnet. And I used oyster as a metaphor for lady bits. The reference to "ill-starred forecastle" is about an injury to my love's head which he never mentioned but was clear to me when I zoomed in once to Photoshop his headshot for a theater production. I did think I was fiendishly clever in my reference to "Grafenberg the place" - this was a reference to the "G spot" which may or may not exist. My unrequited love's first name began with a G.

I'm not wild about the alliteration of "bottom of the bay" now though. And "quite insane" is hackneyed. I do enjoy the extended shipwreck metaphor though. Water-related imagery always works for me.

My hopes drown on the bottom of the bay.  
Brooding, I lie alone on a stark shore.  
Beaten down by the predictable fray,  
Prostrated I will never see you more.  
I blame myself for my poor judgement. How  
I dismissed any bad weather report;  
The ill-starred forecastle of your port bow;  
Your inability to find a port. 
 But still the white-foam-spraying dreams remain,  
Sweating a sad tormented yearning girl.  
Admitting that I may be quite insane  
Again I search the oyster for the pearl.  
No longer Gräfenberg the place will be -  
The letter will forever stand for thee.

It's hard to believe how obsessed I was with the man at that time. Eight years later, I rarely think of him at all. Which is some comfort to me as I suffer for other unrequited love, which is pretty much the only kind I've had for the past ten years. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Doug Henwood hates feminists more than the Koch brothers

According to this blog:
Doug Henwood on Facebook 
In the last 10 minutes, courtesy of Facebook pals, I learned that the Koch Bros. are responsible for school segregation and the John Birch Society. Really, people, there are a lot of reactionaries, many of them with money, in this country. If only it were just two bad dudes.What bothers me is this single-minded obsession that’s taken over a bunch of the left. Their kind of politics has a long history in the U.S.
Well that's so sweet that self-declared Marxist Doug Henwood has decided to defend the Koch brothers against his Facebook pals.

Henwood is uncomfortable with targeting the Koch brothers:
Which is the more serious problem with that chain of reasoning? That corporations are people, or that money is a form of speech? I’m uncomfortable with the urge to treat the Koch brothers as the focus of evil in the modern world, to steal a phrase from Ronald Reagan, but they could spend tons of their personal money spreading their poison and the issue of corporate personhood wouldn’t figure at all. Rich people have a long history in this country of buying elections and politicians. They didn’t, and still don’t, need the dodge of corporate personhood to do that nasty work.

I found this very interesting - Henwood apparently doesn't have a real problem with Citizens United, but instead expresses what sounds like a parody of leftist thought, and notice how he seems to be defending the Kochs again by the ironic phrase "the Koch brothers, everyone's favorite emissaries of Satan":
The Citizens United decision means that corporations can spend money as freely as they want, without restrictions, if money is a form of speech and corporations are legally the same as individual persons. The problem with that to me is not so much that corporations have the same rights as people do, but that people have the right to spend as much money as they do and that's considered expressing their freedom of speech. That seems to be the problem. You could have the Koch brothers, everyone's favorite emissaries of Satan, free to spend their personal billions as they like to pursue their nasty agenda -- that seems to be the problem to me, not the corporate personhood.
I find it fascinating that Doug Henwood doesn't seem to have any criticisms of the Koch brothers on his blog but he hates Hillary Clinton with the fire of a thousand suns, and also is much more critical of Barbara Boxer and Gloria Steinem than the Koch brothers.

Here's Henwood apparently deliberately conflating climate change denial with promoting an energy source that not even Greenpeace is sure is worse than coal for promoting climate change. But it apparently offered Henwood a chance to defend the Kochs (and Republicans) while attacking Clinton.



And of course Henwood's wife Liza Featherstone seems to have a very comfortable relationship with the Koch brothers-funded Reason magazine.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Thoughts & prayers

An excellent piece by John Scalzi.

A man goes into an immigration services center in Binghamton New York, blocks the exit in the back with his car, goes through the front door with handguns, body armor and ammunition. He shoots the receptionists and opens fire on a citizenship class. He murders thirteen. This is horrific. I offer my thoughts and prayers. 
A psychiatrist trained to help others with the stress of combat goes to Ft. Hood, the army base at which he is stationed, and opens fire on his fellow soldiers and some civilians, too. Another thirteen people are murdered there. Three are killed charging the shooter. Words cannot express my sorrow. I offer my thoughts and prayers. 
A professor is denied tenure at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. She goes to a department faculty meeting and in that conference room pulls out a nine-millimeter handgun and shoots six people, three of whom she manages to murder. Those people were just doing their jobs and what happened to them is terrible. I don’t want to have to think about it any further. I offer my thoughts and prayers.