Friday, October 30, 2009

another awesome Mr. Deity



"It's their culture - that's how they roll."

And they stole the Prime Directive from Star Trek.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Awesome

I wrote a play that was kind of like this a few years ago..

Sunday, October 25, 2009

another dream destroyed



I never followed professional sports until I dated my ex-boyfriend, who was a big Yankees fan. So I actually got to know who was on the team, etc. for the 1998 - 2005 seasons. Not that I really cared much - except when that incredibly sexy Derek Jeter came up to bat, or made a play in the outfield. Like any heterosexual female, I fantasized about Derek Jeter, never thinking that I would ever actually be in his presence, like, in "real life."

So I'm in my local Starbucks today and I turn around and whose eyes should I find myself gazing into, but Derek Jeter's. I might have said something except - my mouth was full of a big piece of chocolate biscotti!

*sigh* Not at all like I imagined it...

Damn I could look at images of Derek Jeter all day though.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Julie roundup

Roundup of reviews for the just-opened AFTER MISS JULIE - am I the only person who finds the ending of the original (and this remake) to be ridiculous?

prancing pony



The Prancing Pony, as we all know, is where Aragorn liked to get his drink on.

His blue eyes sparkle and he prances like a pony and makes silly jests and talks and talks (not Aragorn)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ode on a Grecian Urn and William Faulkner's momma

William Faulkner said:
The writer's only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one. He has a dream. It anguishes him so much that he can't get rid of it. He has no peace until then. Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency, security, happiness, all, to get the book written. If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is worth any number of old ladies.


I think it's no accident that the writer is a he and those he'd sacrifice are females. I mentioned this statement in my essay The Asshole License, written a few years ago.

I was gratified when recently I found that my essay was being linked-to by many people during the time of the Polanski arrest because of the connection between that and the response of the French and Hollywood to the arrest - outrage that a Great Man of the Arts should be treated like any common child-rapist. I wasn't aware of Polanski's crime when I wrote that essay but I certainly would have mentioned it if I was.

I recently discovered this excellent essay about the Polanski issue that expresses my sentiments perfectly in regards to Faulkner's statement:
Being a great artist (or having the personal history that Polanski has suffered through--from Holocaust Poland to the Manson Family murder of this wife and unborn child) should not exempt from justice.

Plenty has come to light about the judge in the case and possible prosecution misconduct. Polanski couldn't face a better time to make his case.

Of course, his timing is gruesomely horrible--think of any number of ironic twists in his movies--he gets nabbed just as the country is awash with the Mackenzie Phillips incest story. But Polanski does seem to have more apologists around than Papa John.

D. H. Lawrence once said, "we shed our sicknesses in books."

I'm not so sure. I think very little gets shed writing songs or making movies. The figures on the urn are finally just figures on the urn.

It's what we do with the old ladies, or young girls, I think, that ultimately matters.


Furthermore, I doubt John Keats would have sacrificed his mother - who never got to be an old lady but died fairly young of tuberculosis (which also killed Keats at age 25) for his poem.

Presumably Faulkner felt differently about his own mother. Here's the poem he would trade her and others for:
Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thou express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring'd legend haunt about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter: therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal - yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," - that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.


more Keats here

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

heehee



This cartoon in the latest New Yorker made me laugh aloud on the subway today.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

good women done good

I finally had a reading of my play THE GOOD WOMEN OF MORNINGSIDE at NYCPlaywrights - I was afraid that since I wrote it out of a personal experience it wouldn't work well as a play itself - but it did - it went very well. Of course I lucked into getting a couple of really good actors who are very good at cold readings to play the mean girls so I don't take all the credit, but I'm really quite pleased. I was going to do it as part of the Playlab, but that didn't work out. But I think I'll do it for the NYCP fundraiser. The actors playing the mean girls also seemed to have quite a bit of fun being mean.

Like Courtney in my play, I really don't get mean girls. Why would somebody try to hurt someone they don't even know? My assumption is that there is something deeply nasty and resentful in the core of their being that comes out when they think they can hurt somebody and get away with it. It's also a kind of a bonding ritual. And then there's the issue of hierarchy. This essay on mean girls I think gets at something here:
Alliances, many of them temporary and fleeting, are a critical element of the Alphas’ strategy. When it suits them, Alphas will befriend a girl with whom they would not ordinarily be associated with the sole intent -- not always apparent to the newly befriended girl -- of inflicting revenge and retribution on their latest victim. Although Alphas can be mean and cruel, they aren’t physical; catfights aren’t their thing. Rather than engaging in physical altercations, they rely on words, insults, rumor, gossip, innuendo, and manipulation. And the Alphas use others who are not members of the clique, including girls aspiring to this lofty status, and boys, naturally the most popular boys whenever possible, in their campaigns to ruin the reputations of others they find threatening or morally, intellectually, socially, or physically superior.
The Debbie-Lisa and Lisa-Jean characters in my play are based on women who fall into that category - of girls used by the Alpha girls to accomplish their ends. I didn't bother to put the Alpha Girl at the heart of the gang into this play - I already gave her a play of her own, a year before this GOOD WOMEN play. I knew the Alpha girl was seriously screwed up, but I didn't realize she had organized a whole gang of strangers to attack me until recently - which is why it took me this long to write a play about them.

The moral of the story - if you fuck with me, I will write a play about you. Cause I'm all badass like that.

Friday, October 16, 2009

dreamy dreams



The Darlington Curse or The Curse of Darlington??? Apparently the Town of Grimsby has been getting its ass kicked by Darlington for 31 years now.

ooh that sexy Keats and his dreams...

And look - Ben Whishaw, who played Keats, has the same birthday as Katha Pollitt.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy birthday!

to Katha Pollitt - one of my favorite writers.

One of my favorite essays by her:
"STICK to straight liquor," my father advised me when I left for college, in the fall of 1967. "That way, you'll always know how drunk you are." I thought he was telling me that real grownups don't drink brandy Alexanders, but, of course, what he was talking about was sex. College boys could get totally plastered, and the worse that would happen to them would be hangovers and missed morning classes. But if I didn't carefully monitor my alcohol intake one of those boys might, as they used to say, take advantage of me. Or, as they say now, date-rape me.

Veiled parental warning like the one my father gave me- don't go alone to a boy's room, always carry "mad money" on a date, just in case - have gone the way of single-sex dorms, parietal hours, female-only curfews, and the three-feet-on-the-floor rule, swept away like so much Victorian bric-a-brac by the sexual revolution, the student movement, and the women's movement. The kids won; the duennas and fussbudgets lost.

Or did they? In "The Morning After: Sex, Fear, and Feminism on Campus" (Little, Brown; $19.95) Katie Roiphe, a twenty-five-year-old Harvard alumna and graduate student of English at Princeton, argues that women's sexual freedom is being curtailed by a new set of hand-wringing fuddy-duddies: feminists. Anti-rape activists, she contends, have manipulated statistics to frighten college women with a nonexistent "epidemic"
of rape, date rape, and sexual harassment, and have encouraged them to view "everyday experience"- sexist jokes, professional leers, men's straying hands and other body parts- as intolerable insults and assaults. "Stranger rape" (the intruder with a knife)
is rare; true date rape (the frat boy with a fist) is even rarer. As Roiphe sees it, most students who say they have been date raped are reinterpreting in the cold grey light of dawn the "bad sex" they were too passive to refuse and too enamored of victimhood to acknowledge as their own responsibility. Camille Paglia, move
over.
more

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Me, Claudius



This is the best episode of Monsterpiece Theater. Sesame Street's greatest period was the early 1980s when my daughter was a toddler - and before computer graphics ruined it.

Although the 70s certainly had some classic moments - on the SUBWAY!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Christmas Blessing

Isn't that nice - Jonathan Wallace asked me to contribute a play to the 10-minute Playlab he's running because he likes my work. And I'm happy to say I like his work too - and I say that about so few playwrights this side of Shakespeare and Tony Kushner. I became acquainted with his work last year when I selected one of his plays for my 10-min. Playfest.

And actually, I think my play CHRISTMAS BLESSING is somewhat Wallace-esque.

And it's a small world after all - Jonathan knows some of the same actors and directors that I know - I wonder if he knows how much some of them like to write poetry.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Keats the hotty



The drawing of John Keats, above, portrays a very attractive man - much more attractive than in any of the paintings of Keats I have seen.

one of his poems...

ASLEEP! O sleep a little while, white pearl!
And let me kneel, and let me pray to thee,
And let me call Heaven’s blessing on thine eyes,
And let me breathe into the happy air,
That doth enfold and touch thee all about,
Vows of my slavery, my giving up,
My sudden adoration, my great love!


More Poetical Works of John Keats

Thursday, October 08, 2009

good morning



Time for a story - here's hoping you had a better night than Oliver Acton.

The best plaza ever



I say in my link list to the right that Engrish.com never fails to amuse - so true - I always laugh out loud after looking at this site for more than 4 seconds.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Love letter from John Keats to Fanny Brawne

My sweet girl,
Your Letter gave me more delight, than any thing in the world but yourself could do; indeed I am almost astonished that any absent one should have that luxurious power over my senses which I feel. Even when I am not thinking of you I receive your influence and a tenderer nature steeling upon me. All my thoughts, my unhappiest days and nights have I find not at all cured me of my love of Beauty, but made it so intense that I am miserable that you are not with me: or rather breathe in that dull sort of patience that cannot be called Life. I never knew before, what such a love as you have made me feel, was; I did not believe in it; my Fancy was affraid of it, lest it should burn me up. But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, 'twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures.

more

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

gotta go to work, work all day, search for underpants hey

Excellent post at Eschaton:


Looting For Profit

Buy companies, leverage them, pay yourself a dividend, and then go bankrupt.

I think we've finally found the secret phase 2 of the underpants gnomes.


Phase 1: Collect Underpants
Phase 2: Use underpants as collateral for multibillion dollar loan.
Phase 3: Profit


Although admittedly, I like anything that references the Underpants Gnomes:



Here the Underpants Gnomes explain their business model.

I laugh hysterically every time.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Emmaline Grangerford

I'm preparing my play HUCK FINN for publication and I've been thinking about all the things that I had to leave out of my adaptation of Twain's novel. I didn't mind leaving the Tom Sawyer bits out, except for the argument between Tom and Huck on the subject of genies, but I'm really sorry I couldn't get the poetry of Emmaline Grangerford in. Emmaline was the morbid daughter of the Grangerfords, a family who was feuding with the Shepherdsons. The feud section of "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" ends tragically but the Emmaline part is really funny.

I added my own original bits too, when I felt it was absolutely necessary - I hate it when people mess with a classic for no good reason - and was suprised, if gratified to discover that some of my bits got as many laughs as Twain's funny bits, like this one:



BOB: You reckon they’ll catch that runaway slave that killed that boy, what’s his name?

JOE: Whose name? The slave?

BOB: The boy. Crazy old Finn’s boy.

JOE: I don’t remember. Except it was a strange kind of name. It was some kind of fruit.

BOB: Some kind of fruit? Who would name a child after some kind of fruit?

JOE: I’m pretty sure it was some kind of fruit. Like “Crabapple.” Yeah, that sounds right. Crabapple Finn. His pappy’s a terrible drunk – maybe he was drunk when he named him. And now that old drunk’s gonna get all Crabapple’s money. Some people have all the luck.



While I was preparing to adapt the novel I recorded myself reading the entire novel (I was unemployed at the time.) here is my recording of the Emmaline section below:






Bright Star - a review



I finally got to see the movie "Bright Star" tonight. Go see it if you need a really good cry. And the acting is absolutely amazing!

This Rolling Stone review says it well:
And Cornish is glorious, making Fanny a force of womanhood able to take on Brown (Schneider is a sharply witty irritant) when he tries to break the connection between her and her beloved. Cornish catches the fertile mind that Fanny poignantly tries to nurture, knowing she'll grow closer to Keats by deciphering the words that possess him. A literate, lyrical love story in the age of Hollywood crass. I must be dreaming.


complete Rolling Stone review

And of course there was the glorious Regency period clothing which makes even unattractive men unbearably enticing. Ben Wishaw is not beautiful, strictly speaking, but in that long shaggy hair and high collars and neck wraps and jackets and tight trousers, you just want to ravish him. Oh lah lah. I must write another play set in the Regency period soon, just so I can get my actors into those amazing outfits.

Watch an excellent clip of the movie here

Oh yes, and the pussycat is very cute - but then, what pussycat is not?

John Keats's theory of negative capability:
in his letter to George and Thomas Keats dated Sunday, 28 December 1817.[1]

"I had not a dispute but a disquisition with Dilke, on various subjects; several things dovetailed in my mind, & at once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in literature & which Shakespeare possessed so enormously - I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact & reason."

Saturday, October 03, 2009

well we all shine on

As I once said to somebody: "good luck hanging out with the Snake Society - make sure you always have plenty of anti-venom with you."
Unfortunately, within a year and a half there was a coup d'etat. First the General Manager and then the Artistic Director were pushed out. That was about 8 months ago.

Anybody talking about nests o' vipers 8 months ago was so silly.

Karma isn't always instant - but sooner or later it's gonna get you.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Thursday, October 01, 2009

absolutely repulsed and disgusted by the following Polanski apologists

You expect a scumbag like Woody Allen to defend Roman Polanski - an admitted child-rapist makes Woody Allen look restrained by comparison. But here are people whose support for a child rapist I find shocking:

Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation twittered:
# I am a feminist, declared and proud, but also hate prosecutorial misconduct. How to reconcile? Don't call me apologist for Polanski.8:38 PM Sep 28th from web

# Polanski should have served time then, but there's evidence of prosecutorial misconduct & victim has spoken. I will read Kate Harding's pc.8:34 PM Sep 28th from web

# Watch "Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired"--doc made last year. Detailed claims of prosecutorial wrongdoing at time of RP's original arrest.5:19 PM Sep 28th from web

# Rarely agree with Applebaum: http://bit.ly/wz0mw5:15 PM Sep 28th from web

# Very Rarely agree with Anne Applebaum, but do in Polanski case. http://bit.ly/16oYkD5:07 PM Sep 28th from web


Here's what Anne Applebaum had to say about Polanski:
He did commit a crime, but he has paid for the crime in many, many ways: In notoriety, in lawyers' fees, in professional stigma. He could not return to Los Angeles to receive his recent Oscar. He cannot visit Hollywood to direct or cast a film.

Since WHEN is the punishment for child-rape "professional stigma" - of which it seems to me he has experienced precious little, when you look at the list of all the douchebag directors who support him.

Whoopie Goldberg:
Hollywood has rallied behind Roman Polanski after his arrest in Switzerland over the weekend, with the actor Whoopi Goldberg suggesting that whatever he was guilty of it wasn't "rape-rape".

source

Debra Winger:
Debra Winger, who serves as president of the Zurich fest's jury, on Monday demanded Polanski's release and criticized Swiss authorities for their "philistine collusion" in arresting Polanski as he entered the country.

"This fledgling festival has been unfairly exploited, and whenever this happens the whole art world suffers," Winger said in a statement on Monday, standing together with the other four international jury members who wore red badges reading "Free Polanski" as they announced plans to continue the fest.


more


The excellent article Polanski Arrest Causes Mass Dementia Among Apologists where I learned about Vanden Heuvel:
Prosecutorial misconduct: It's uhm...bad, mmm'kay? It's especially bad when it happens to anonymous defendants who slip through the criminal justice system, who cannot afford to mount the best appeals, and whose fates go largely unnoticed by the media. It should be fought. But Polanski had all sorts of resources at his disposal to fight it: he had wealth, he had friends, he had access to fine legal representation... why, I am reliably informed by Katrina vanden Heuvel that they even made a movie about the prosecutorial misconduct in his case. Polanski had the opportunity to expose prosecutorial misconduct -- and who knows whether that misconduct didn't extend to other defendants? But he didn't fight it. Instead, he fled, taking that fight with him.

Why did he do that? I'm guessing it's because he drugged and raped a thirteen year old girl.

But don't call vanden Heuvel a "Polanski apologist." He's just totally helping to raise awareness of rampant prosecutorial misconduct! Forget it, Jake, it's crazy town!