Friday, April 30, 2010

the gay Regency



Oh my yes - hot gay men in Regency period clothing - two hotties for the price of one - there's a publishing house Ava March devoted to it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Let there be drums

Gene Krupa - "Sing Sing Sing"



Joe Morello - "Take Five"




Keith Moon - "Happy Jack"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Did He Like It?



Your simple guide to the most powerful reviewer on the planet.

Julia & Buddy

the first 10 pages.

Of course panic attacks are only amusing if you're not having one...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

tiny tiny showbiz world



So it turns out that Daniel Genalo, the guy I cast as Alex in my upcoming production of NEW RULES was on the very same episode of 30 Rock that NYCPlaywrights member and Mergatroyd Productions' fave actor Nick Fondulis was - in fact, Daniel's character got the job that Nick's character, Jayden Michael Tyler did not get because, well, Jayden was crazy.

And Daniel was the robot guy because he does amazing dance work - watch his other amazing moves in his dance reel on Vimeo. Pretty fly for a straight white guy!

Speaking of Nick, it looks like he got a Hanes commercial.

Monday, April 26, 2010

New Rules web site

A very good rehearsal today. And the web site is mostly done. Yay.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

They all applaud Alex, and each other



WORDSMITHS - another work inspired by people who did me wrong - because I'm such a badass I will get you back by writing a play about you. Move over, Russian mafia.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

rehearsal-palooza

Rehearsals all weekend - for the NYCPlaywrights Fundraiser and NEW RULES - I have to do the web site ASAP!

Plus, of course this always happens - inspiration has struck and I have the entire plot of my play JULIA AND BUDDY worked out - and no time to write it down for the next 48 hours.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Regency a-go-go

Wow you have to hand it to the Oregon Regency Society, they are hardcore Regency-period-philiacs. They even manage to get men into it, and recently they provided this handy outfitting the Regency man post as a guide. It really makes me want to produce my JANE EYRE again, and damn the expenses, just to get some guys into Regency period clothing again - virtually every man looks better in the clothing of that period.

As Ralph Fiennes demonstrates.

Although really, he even looks good as a Nazi.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sing it Jon Stewart!

I really didn't think Jon Stewart could top the "Union Appreciation Month" bit - and less than 2 weeks later he proves me wrong! The last 60 seconds of this clip is the most wondrous thing I've ever seen on TV.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bernie Goldberg Fires Back
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Monday, April 19, 2010

GOOD WOMEN OF MORNINGSIDE production videos

It's funny, the responses I've gotten from this play - it seems that everybody has had experiences with mean girls, and this play reminds them how much bodily harm they'd like to do to mean girls.

more clips from the April 17 & 18 shows here

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Me, Claudius

There's a great program available on youtube - I, Claudius A Television Epic which gives behind the scenes interviews - many years after I, Claudius was made - about that incredible classic series. It's hard to believe it was produced in the 1970s.

There is so much good stuff in the series, but all the bits with Derek Jacobi as Claudius and John Hurt as Caligula are absolute genius - as the clip below demonstrates.



More from genius John Hurt - including Caligula's wacky transvestite dance!

Friday, April 16, 2010

kiss off English Patient hatahs

On the one hand, I relate to Charles Isherwood's gripe about feeling like odd-man-out - I feel like that about 90% of all theater I see (with the necessary gender switch) - on the other hand I hate the obligatory "The English Patient" bashing because one character on Seinfeld didn't like the movie and felt left out. The wonder to me has always been not that one character on Seinfeld didn't like that movie - the wonder is that any of them DID like the movie. "The English Patient" is the opposite of Seinfeld - it's compassionate, deep, sincere, internationalist, tragic, sensual and very sexy - especially Ralph Fiennes - and fully deserved its accolades.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sexist Art History from The Sexist



Every day I thank Athena for The Sexist - I have to put it on my blogroll soon.

In this not very recent post (I was reviewing their archives) Amanda Hess had some interesting things to say about the cluelessness of art historians - not getting that "The Proposition" is about some overly-facial-haired guy trying to get some embroderer to turn hoe for him. Ah yes - that takes me back to my days in art school.

But the best part of the post was one comment:
Can’t a guy buy some needlepoint in a dingy pub anymore?
It's funniest if you read the whole post and other comments first.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Production pix



GOOD WOMEN OF MORNINGSIDE production pix online...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Happy Dance of Evil



This is the song that the two "Good Women", Debbie-Lisa and Lisa-Jean dance to at the end of GOOD WOMEN OF MORNINGSIDE. I created it with GarageBand - it's mostly loops but I did the guitar line from scratch. A# is a bitch of a key.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sonnet Roundup ~ year 2

Another year has gone by - that makes two years now since I wrote my first sonnet. My sonnets were mainly written as a form of therapy, and so most don't stand up very well as works of art, but a few of them do hold up pretty well, I believe.

First, the stats:

Total sonnets year 1
(2008-2009) - 50
Total sonnets year 2
(2009-2010) - 45
Grand total: 95

The Sonnet for Poetry Month #7 starts by referencing Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry" - and I remember I was feeling horribly wretched when I wrote this - but I tried to be philosophical by reminding myself of the absolute horrors that some people endure in their lives - like poor Harry Eastlack who had a bone disease - I describe some of his symptoms in my sonnet. The best part of the sonnet is the last line, which I think holds up quite well as an aphorism:

"Pain comes from love, as death from being born."

Communication Sonnet #4 probably is my most accessible poem because I name-dropped Emily Dickinson - well, her first name, but poetry lovers can guess who I'm talking about:

Are you thinking of me on this spring morn,
In Emily's neck of the woods? By trees
And meadows that she loved, where she was born,
Where she spent much time thinking about bees,
Apparently, and eccentricity
While decked out in white...


Dickinson wrote about 20 or 30 poems that mention bees. And I noticed that Dickinson really loved that ee sound in her poetry. So the last two lines of CS#4 end with that sound. I also alluded to Dickinson's poem XCVII, which reads in its entirety:

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,—
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do
If bees are few.


I allude to it in the "it takes" bit - my poem ends:

Communication takes more than just me,
Such work needs two, in close proximity.


The very next sonnet, Communication Sonnet #5 I rather like too. It describes a dream I had, and gets at the tricky nature of love that you don't want. It takes me years to forget any guy I ever care about - I am the queen of the unwilling torch-carriers. I can sometimes will myself to stop consciously thinking about a guy I loved, but invariably, as soon as I succeed in doing that my unconscious gets back at me by making me have sexy, romantic dreams about the guy. Then I wake up full of anguish, regret and longing. The damn well least I can do is get a poem out of it.

Another fairly accessible poem I wrote is Dream Sonnet 2 - another literary allusion, this time Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights."

more Sonnet Roundup here

Friday, April 09, 2010

This may just be my favorite Daily Show segment...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Virginia's Confederate History Month & Griffin Mascot
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party


PRICELESS MOMENTS:

It would be be hypocritical of me to complain about Virginia's Confederate holiday when our part of the country, the North, is marking "Union Victory" or "United States Victory Appreciation Month" celebrating our rich heritage of kicking the Confederacy's ass.

By the way, you can join in on the pride at home with our limited edition Beautiful Union Victory Appreciation Month chess set. So much detail, you can almost hear the asses being kicked!

Pick up our Union Appreciation Month collector's edition Money - commemorating the currency that Northerners gave black people for jobs that they did.

My personal favorite piece of Union Appreciation Month memorabilia, the "Murdered by a Union Soldier Slaveowner Lawn Jockey."

Sold on unionvictoryappreciationmonth.com/getoverityoulost145yearsago

Confederacy Tourism

I was just blogging the other day about how some people in the South romanticize the Confederacy, and two days later the Governor of Virginia illustrates my point nicely by declaring April "Confederate History Month."

NYTimes' Gail Collins wrote a very good column about it today:

Virginia has been making big leaps lately in the category of general craziness. We all remember the Legislature’s heroic work in passing a bill to protect Virginia citizens from having microchips planted in their bodies against their will. And that the sponsor said he was concerned the chips could be a “mark of the beast” that would be used by the Antichrist at the end of days.

Confederate History Month was promoted by former Gov. George Allen, who was fond of Confederate flag-d├ęcor and suffered from a sense of history so imperfect that he did not discover his mother was half-Jewish until he was 54. Allen’s proclamation celebrated the Civil War as “a four-year struggle for independence, sovereign rights and local government control,” with such cheer that you would really think the fight was all about zoning.


And I also enjoyed some of the readers' comments:

Don't worry, Southern deniers. We Northerners will take care of remembering the slavery. The only part of Confederate history you people need to remember is the unconditional surrender.


I don't care if the South keeps rising again, as long as it keeps losing.

The media and the South have tried to turn their justified loss into something heroic. It wasn't. It was the wealthy elite trying to preserve their slave-built privileges by misleading the common citizens and sending them to their death. Yes, those in the South who fought had courage. When we honor the Confederacy, however, we do not honor them. That's a deceit the South is now trying to peddle. Actually, we are tricked into honoring the foul stench of the of the slave-owning South and all its accompanying brutality, barbarity and inhumanity.

Although the Confederacy lost the war, it's always perplexed me as to why US military bases throughout the region are named after CSA generals, who were essentially traitors to their country. I guess that doesn't register with certain "patriots." Imagine their reaction if our post-WWII bases in Germany were called Fort Rommel or Fort Guderian...


When I lived in Virginia (and later, in North Carolina), it never failed to amaze me that people still flew Confederate battle flags on their porches and in their yards. They seemed at best to be celebrating the fact that they're losers, but at worst, they were giving a defiant finger to the rest of us who have moved on. The flag wavers are not classy folks, but down and outers resentful of their station in life and jealous of people whom they consider more fortunate. Their low self-esteem prints itself out as insolence, ignorance and blantant disregard for their fellow citizens.

I always thought that the real confederate flag was the white one that every southerner was waving at the end of the civil war.

Fighting to preserve slavery was morally equivalent to fighting to preserve pedophilia. (Which slavery often was.) Just because you choose to fight and die for a wicked cause doesn't glorify that cause. It simply points out the stupidity or moral corruption of the fighter. Just because great-great-granddaddy did it doesn't make it right.

As bad as it is to "forget" slavery, or gloss over it, the real objection to "celebrating" the Civil War is forgetting it was a civil war...the South declared war on the United States of America! Some patriots! Thousands of Americans, from the North and South, were killed as a result, including, sadly, President Abraham Lincoln. What is there to celebrate?


You can always count on a Libertarian to defend something on economic grounds:
Of course, in today's consciousness none can defend the institution of slavery, yet uncompensated emancipation of all slaves would have amounted to financial suicide for the southern economy and individual owners who had invested the equivalent of $200,000 per individual.


But for a true representation of the Confederacy lovers there's this cretin from South Carolina:

Notwithstanding the injustices of American slavery, it is hard to get your head around the idea that the best thing that ever happened to current day Afro-Americans was for their relatives to have been slaves in this country.


Or even better, how about Huey Gunner from Leichtfield KS
Your ancestors were rabid slavery abolitionists who assaulted the civilian population of The South for decades until The South became fed up and left The Union.


There is NOTHING that displays the through-the-looking-glass insanity of these freaks better than that.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Catholic Church is truly an evil organization

I'm so glad I wised up and got out when I was 14 and started thinking for myself.

Katha Pollitt sums up the absolutely evil misogynist nature of this cannibalistic cult:
The moral authority granted the Catholic Church in the secular world is for me the most repellent aspect of the current crisis. In the succinct words of Jodi Jacobson, editor of RHRealityCheck.org, "Why is a pedophilia-ridden, pedophilia-hiding, child-abusing Church allowed to write laws controlling women's rights?" To which one might add: what gives a church in which celibacy is equated with holiness, in which males have almost all the power, the right to a place at the table where laws are made about women's bodies? The same institution that has dealt so indulgently with its ordained pedophiles had no problem excommunicating a Brazilian mother who sought an abortion for her 9-year-old daughter, raped and impregnated with twins by her stepfather, or pushing for laws in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Chile banning abortion even to save the woman's life.


Anybody who is still a member of this loathsome organization is helping to promote evil. End of story.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Another monologue done



Another NYCPlaywrights Worldwide Monologue video complete - but I'm way behind schedule and have 3 more to do. Oy.

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Giant Tire Lady of South Jersey



When I was a driving instructor somewhere in the swamps of Jersey - South Jersey, to be exact - I used to drive by the Giant Tire Lady - the female counterpart to all the giant tire lumberjacks that can frequently be seen in front of tire stores.

I saw her again on Sunday after all those years. Although since I saw her last she's had a snazzy new paint job - dig that groovy star-pattern skirt!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Tom Sawyer, abolitionist

I have to admit, Tom Sawyer has been on my conscience for the past few years. I mean, I do stand behind what I said about him in my essay, which I wrote for a production of my play HUCK FINN - he was a jerk, and his appearance in Huck's story drove it right off the rails.

But Clemens loved him, and believed that the public loved Tom, which is why he put him in HUCK's story. But since Clemens' time, Tom's popularity has decreased while Huck's has increased. This web page makes a very good case for the decline in the popularity of Tom:
In the century since, Tom Sawyer has been the most frequently filmed of MT's books. It was filmed three times before Huck Finn was filmed at all, and Tom himself was the star of the second movie version of Huck's story (see below). The next century might tell a different story. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is still widely read, in part because it is so frequently taught in high schools, but based on my students' experience, most Americans born since 1975 mainly know Tom through Huck's novel, and know the plot of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer only through the Disney film that ends the list below. In another generation it might be time for Tom to say, "You don't know about me except you have read a book by the name of 'Huckleberry Finn.'"


And I saw the results myself - when I went to see Mark Twain's study - a glorified gazebo his sister-in-law had built for him in Elmira NY, there was one sign from the 1950s which announced that the study was where Mark Twain wrote "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." But a much newer sign, posted closer to the study, said that it was where Twain wrote "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"!

So I feel a little bad for Tom for his being eclipsed by Huck.

Now it looks like I'm going to rehabilitate him. I already turned Huck into an abolitionist in my play HUCK FINN - although Huck was already an abolitionist at heart, I just made it more explicit: I have been working on a play about a slave women in 1850s Missouri and she has a white boyfriend. At first his name was Robert, but he gradually developed a cocky, romantic, trickster personality and I realized he was basically Tom Sawyer, all grown up and in love with a beautiful slave. I changed my character's name to Tom Turner - I don't want to have him literally be Tom Sawyer, but I wanted to acknowledge the connection, and it is fun to think of my play, CELIA as a sequel to the Tom/Huck stories. Clemens himself wrote Tom sequels - Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective and both are very bad. Clemens really needed money at the time, but the world has wisely forgotten about those books.

My play was inspired by a court case Slave State of Missouri v. Celia a horrendous true story of a slave girl who was hanged for killing her master in self-defense when he attempted to rape her. It was determined that as property, she did not even have the right to self-defense.

I dealt with the horrors of slave rape, a little, in my HUCK FINN play. This was something that Clemens avoided completely in any of his books set in the antebellum South. Even in Puddinghead Wilson, he doesn't go into details about how Roxana - whom I borrowed for my HUCK play - came to be so light-skinned and how her child came to look so white that he could pass for white his entire life. In my play, Roxana's master, Jack Turner - whom I substituted for Tom Sawyer's kindly old uncle Silas from the Huck story - is clearly using her. Although she takes some pride in it because it does give her some advantages, to be a favorite of the master, it's clear how brutal the arrangement is.

In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, after the King and the Duke sell Jim out, Huck goes to search for him, and just happens to be taken in by Tom Sawyer's aunt and uncle (he doesn't know who they are at first) who think he is Tom Sawyer, come for a pre-arranged visit. The aunt and uncle are slave holders, but kindly if ineffectual people, easily fooled by Tom and Huck. One of the slaves is a "yellow gal" - a light skinned slave, who is called a "hussy" by Aunt Sally. Clemens doesn't address this issue, but how did Aunt Sally and Uncle Silas come to have a light-skinned slave? Maybe Uncle Silas wasn't so innocent after all.

At the time the Tom and Huck stories were published, the Civil War was very recent history and many people who might buy the novels were once slave-owners. Clemens knew better than to portray slavery in all its brutality, especially the sexual concubinage of slave women - his audience would not have stood for it and his speaking tours would have been very poorly attended - except perhaps by an angry mob.

And there are people in the United States of America in the early twenty-first century who still romanticize and feel nostalgia for the antebellum South.

I think Roy Edroso of Alicublog described this kind of thing best in his remark about the right-wing blogger Confederate Yankee: "someone whose cognomen proudly celebrates treason in defense of slavery"

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Good Women on stage - April 17 & 18

It was during my 2008 JANE EYRE production that I realized that I had stepped into a big nest of vipers.

And events that have occurred in the past two years have only confirmed my initial assessment of this group of people - or rather, the past two years have shown they are even worse shameless hypocrites, saboteurs, and vicious defamers than I initially realized, and on top of that, as I discovered in the past few weeks, misogynists.

I got two things out of the experience: a greater sense of caution born of a new and definite understanding of the incredible lack of personal integrity that exists across great swaths of the off-off Broadway community, and a batch of literary/theatrical works.

The work includes sonnets, a story, and several plays. The plays are HAPPILY MARRIED, YULE COUNTY, BUDDY & JULIA (a full-length that's only about 30% complete), WORDSMITHS and GOOD WOMEN OF MORNINGSIDE. GOOD WOMEN is the next one up for production.

But even though I think JANE was a beautiful production in spite of everything, and many people loved it, and I like my post-viper plays and some of the sonnets, I'd gladly turn back the clock and not do any of it at all if it meant I could go the rest of my life in blissful ignorance of the nest of vipers.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

stupid sexist New Yorker

I've been a New Yorker subscriber for fifteen years now, ever since I discovered it was a weekly periodical with some really good writing in it. The New Yorker is a bastion of the liberal and the literary. Women are also liberal and literary - more so than men are, even, according to various studies.

So you'd think the New Yorker wouldn't be sexist at all. But it is sexist. The first way it is sexist is its persistently lopsided male:female contributor ratio. Now this ratio is not uncommon - all prestige fields are dominated by men. In fact, some have argued and provided evidence for the possibility that any field that women come to dominate is automatically demoted, prestige-wise because it is felt to have become too polluted by girl cooties.

But the New Yorker, being the most liberal and literary publication around should be better than that.

The indispensible blog The Sexist has been having an awesome Man Madness tournament to determine which organizations in the D.C. area are most male-dominated. They don't include The New Yorker, so I did my own review.

I don't look at the New Yorker's org chart the way The Sexist does, but rather the contributor roster. Let's just look at a selection from 2010 at random - because I don't have all day - also I'm not counting the cartoonists as contributors although the gender ratio for cartoonists is probably even more skewed in the XY direction. Also not counted, "web only" content:

January 4, 2010
Contributors: 18
Female contributors: 3

January 18, 2010
Contributors: 19
Female contributors: 7

February 1, 2010
Contributors: 24
Female contributors: 9

February 8, 2010
Contributors: 21
Female contributors: 3

March 22, 2010
Contributors: 24
Female contributors: 3

April 5, 2010
Contributors: 22
Female contributors: 6

Note that not only did no issue have more female than male contributors, most of these issues didn't even come close to 50% female contributors.

To return to the cartoonists - not only are there more male cartoonists, but the New Yorker's legacy of sexism is even more obvious in its cartoons. Not just the obvious belief on the part of most of its cartoonists that male is the default gender (and of course our entire society runs on that belief) but every now and then you get the most crass regressive olde tyme bullshit - like the cartoon in this week's New Yorker:



The gal-pal sister blog of The Sexist, called Tiger Beatdown, examines the pernicious effects of that Mars-Venus propaganda in her review of (500) Days of Summer:
And that is where shit gets REAL complex. Because, like: I have been in the situation of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in this film. It’s a common situation. It’s not a fun situation, necessarily. It’s also not a situation which mandates going on a rant about “whores” in one’s place of work, but whatever. The thing is, I think I find it easier to maintain my high-mindedness and cool in those situations than another person might. Specifically, a person who is a dude. Despite the much-vaunted crazy clingy psycho bitchiness of my gender, I think it’s easier for me to be gracious in those situations precisely because I am a girl.

Because girls frankly expect this behavior from guys. We are told, continually and throughout our lives and in every major media outlet and dating guide, that Guys Are Just Like That. Or the vast majority of them, anyway. Guys want physical contact, girls want emotional contact, we’re told; therefore, if we make physical contact with a guy, we should not expect emotional contact to follow. Granted, to hope is not to expect, and the entire courting structure is basically designed to allow us to perform a semi-realistic risk analysis, but girls are still basically informed that this entire deal, this sex and/or dating deal, is a game of poker and you shouldn’t play unless you can afford to lose something, and you should be cautious with your bets.

Dudes, on the other hand, are apparently entirely unprepared for this. Girls want emotional contact, they’re told, and guys want physical contact; therefore, if they make emotional contact with a girl, they can reasonably expect it to be reciprocated. And when it’s not, it’s like gravity suddenly stopped working. This just isn’t how things go; it’s an outrage; she’s cold, evil, a monster. Or at least this is what I can uncover from the dudely works of Nathan Rabin and (500) Days of Summer. They’re playing the same game of poker as the rest of us, these guys, but they think it’s play money. Which means that when it’s time to pay up, that sucks extra-hard.

So, yes: (500) Days of Summer is a movie about a boy who acts like a girl and a girl who acts like a boy. But here’s why I’m not thrilled about this: If Zooey Deschanel were actually a boy, and in this situation, most people would not perceive her as the problem. She wouldn’t be a monster, a whore, a freak; she’d just be a dude. And she’d get to complain about the clingy psycho bitch she fucked who’s now, like, putting all this pressure on, that bitch is fucking CRAZY, she just hooked up with the girl, she didn’t buy her an engagement ring, etc. And Joseph Gordon-Levitt, were he an actual girl, would be getting some sympathy from his lady friends, true, but he would also be getting well-meaning lectures about how Dudes Are Like That, and what did he expect, and he needs to be more cautious about these things and not put out so easily, and has he ever read a book called “He’s Just Not That Into You?” He should read that book. He would be told, to be blunt, that he was the real problem in this situation.

So the verdict, in case you were wondering, is that if girls fall for boys, and those boys don’t fall for them, they are clingy bitches. And if girls don’t fall for boys, and those boys DO fall for them, they are heartless bitches. No matter how this situation goes, if there turns out to be an inequality of desire, you’re getting called a bitch.