Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Instead, we have a Right Wing party that exploded the deficit and wrecked our economy teaming up with the "centrists" who have made it more and more unfair and deregulated over the last twenty years to call on the most vulnerable members of our society to "Sacrifice." And indeed, the fetishization of "sacrifice," as some kind of inherently Good and Noble thing is in the air (et tu, Culturefuture? A GS-1 federal government employee makes under $20,000 a year unless they live in one of a handful of cities.)
I was not hugely happy to hear about the federal pay freeze this week, because I'm not convinced that it would have much of an impact, nor do I think that it's particularly just. After all, the people who made the poor decisions are voters, and the people who are losing out are federal employees.
If we can't get those who should make sacrifices to make them, let's start by having those who are willing. Hopefully shame is contagious.
Monday, November 29, 2010
I don't work for government for the money. I do it to make a difference. Will freezing my pay hurt my family a bit? It sure will...but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for my country. It's a sacrifice I've always made.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Rather than talk about male fantasy wish fulfillment blah blah blah, I'm going to lay out a scenario that would have me leave the theatre feeling like I saw something truly worthwhile. James would see where this is going.For about the first half, the movie will be this trope. But just at the moment when the female lead would fall for the male lead's roguish charm, things will take a different turn and start going wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong.
1. Ideas don't come from watching television.
20. Ideas don't need a passport, and often cross borders (of all kinds) with impunity.
Blerg. I am not sure I can put into words how fed up I am by the whole "the guy's an asshole, but the woman sees something in him and through fucking him a lot, redeems him" thing. And furthermore, I'm a bit fed up by male critics not realizing that this is blatant wish-fulfillment for male audiences . At least reviewers seem to have figured out that Anne Hathaway's character (a terminally-ill redeemer who likes to fuck a lot but might not want to be in love who changes Jake Gyllenhaal for the better) is a cardboard construct.Back when the second Twilight film came out, there was a lot of talk about the fantasy that those movies sell young women. Bella is, essentially, a character without qualities, entirely passive, uninteresting and devoid of personality who men throw themselves at because it turns out she has some kind of secret power that fascinates them. This is the man-child equivalent of that fantasy, and I'm sick of watching it. It's perfectly possible to construct a romantic comedy (or weepy, for that matter) without it. Furthermore, while I think this is meant to be an exaggeration of something many of us feel-- that we are improved, and to some extent redeemed, by our successful relationships-- this trope lacks even the vaguest whiff of actual truthful perceptiveness about relationships, or life, or men and women.
- One page = one minute (which is a good rule of thumb)
- One play = one hundred and twenty minutes with an act break (wrong.)
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
I've had it with Sondheim -- or rather with Sondheimania. There's been so many events celebrating his 80th birthday this year that the cumulative effect is now the opposite of the desired one. Next in the 80th-bash line: The New York Pops' concert tomorrow evening at Carnegie Hall. This may be the last for the year, but I'm not holding my breath....Personally I'll be happy if I don't hear or read the name "Sondheim" for the next year at least.
Meanwhile, perhaps it's also time to say that he may be a better lyricist than a composer and that he's benefited from working with brilliant arrangers. I would even go as far as saying that he (unwittingly) contributed to the decline of the musical by making his emulators think all songs must be "integrated" in the book. No more catchy stand-alone numbers for us rubes! Unfortunately, 99% of said emulators aren't as gifted as their hero -- not to mention that Sondheim has written quite a few stand-alone standards himself.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
This chart is great, simply because it is quite a fantastic array of personal failings.
- Man people over 65 hate "Darwinists."
- Who are these people who disagree with this sentence: "If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person would you consider voting for this person if you learned that they are competent"?
- People would prefer someone be violent than improperly claim government hand-outs. Okay.
- Atheist = Muslim = Scientologist. Great.
I’m not sure that it’s a good idea to blithely accept Punchdrunk’s formal or informal relationship with Stella Artois as an example of new funding sources. Stella Artois is a corporation, and a too-easy acceptance of an artistic endeavor’s partnership with a corporation is a dangerous thing, though of course many theatres in both the UK and the US already maintain these partnerships (Travelex’s relationship with the NT and Roundabout’s relationship with American Airlines are just two examples).One needs to be careful whom one beds down with. The ethics of corporations specifically seem to be at loggerheads with the ethics of those who create theatre, and though it’s nice to have the money one must look at the source.
We have a right, in the cult of the self, to get whatever we desire. We can do anything, even belittle and destroy those around us, including our friends, to make money, to be happy and to become famous.
Exxon Mobile, which has spilled at least 17 million gallons of oil from its refinery in and around Newtown Creek over the years, agreed to pay $25 million to settle a long-standing environmental suit; the settlement follows the creek's recent addition to the list of Superfund sites, a process that could last up to ten years and cost as much as $500 million. $19.5 million of the settlement will pay for projects to benefit the Greenpoint community, selected through community input.
- If the damage is $500 million, why do we only get $25 million?
- If the damage is $500 million, why is only $5.5 million going to the spill itself?
The Supreme Court under the leadership of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is often criticized for issuing sweeping and politically polarized decisions. But there is an emerging parallel critique as well, this one concerned with the quality of the court’s judicial craftsmanship.
In decisions on questions great and small, the court often provides only limited or ambiguous guidance to lower courts.
And it increasingly does so at enormous length.
I think if you look at the universally most disliked rulings of the last decade (Citizens United and Gonzales v. Raich) you'll notice that both of them had huge down-wind effects that the Court did not seem interested in. Of course, you could argue that if a Supreme Court ruling is controversial, it's almost always because it had huge down-wind effects that the Court either didn't expect or didn't care to delve into.
But in those cases, little thought seems to have been put into the world post-decision. Particularly Gonzales v. Raich, where the Court ruled that marijuana could be illegal federally but legal on a state or local level, was inconsistent to the point of incoherence.
The point of all this is that moderate is not the same as consensus, and both are not the same as good jurisprudence. The ability of the Court to communicate the impact of its decisions, and create guidelines for the world after the ruling is crucial.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Mr. Calello also helped devise a novel plan of paying bankers’ bonuses with the firm’s toxic assets that were clogging the bank’s balance sheet. The plan, which was controversial when it was announced, has been largely successful as assets, like mortgage-backed securities and corporate loans, have increased in value.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
As for its sensuality,–& it may turn out to be less sensual than it appeared–I do not so much wish that those parts were not written, as that men & women were so pure that they could read them without harm, that is, without understanding them. ...Of course Walt Whitman can communicate to us no experience, and if we are shocked, whose experience is it that we are reminded of?
Friday, November 12, 2010
The sad part is that my first response was jealousy: the British have always had more public funding than we've had -- now they're doing better than us at corporate support?
But really, this is just a symbol of the relationship the arts have today with alcohol. I've joked about it before, but the young theater companies I know are basically in the debt of the alcohol industry. We get people to come to our fundraisers through the lure of alcohol, among other things.
Right now, one of my company's projects is to try and build a relationship with an alcohol distributor, to see if we can get discounts on alcohol for fundraising purposes. And this is not an uncommon thing. One of my favorite art groups, Fresh Ground Pepper, has kept its commitment to not charging tickets largely through its sale of alcohol -- and here I am jealous that they've got the hook-up!
So in a way, it's refreshing to see Punchdrunk dive full in to alcohol patronage. If Stella Artois or Sixpoint Brewery want to patronize the arts, let them! It's nice to hear a company think that art could benefit them. Most companies wouldn't want to be associated with theater if it was dead. Stella Artois might be getting some brand association with Punchdrunk, but Punchdrunk is getting some brand association from Stella Artois as well.
And what has a better brand, theater or alcohol?
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
I wonder how these two approaches stack up in their effectiveness. I do know one thing: when you give money in a grant, you almost always have to justify the work you're investing in. But when you couch it as a tax subsidy, you have to give everyone equal access to it, and therefore you're more likely to focus on the labor and purchasing that comes out of it.
According to BBC arts editor Will Gompertz,“If you were in the club, you tended to stay in the club; if you weren’t, there was no obvious way of joining.” Apparently this was the way the Council was set up when it was established during the Second World War. Funding was solely based on the council members’ judgment that an art organization had a reasonable chance of success.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
The Blue Dog pack was cut by more than half Tuesday night, as at least 28 of the 54 members of the coalition of moderate House Democrats were defeated.Their numbers could be reduced further, as a handful of Blue Dogs are still awaiting the official outcome of their re-election bids.
The 79 member Progressive Caucus in the House lost only 4 races last night while the Blue Dogs lost 23 races. In addition, another 6 Blue Dogs retired and were replaced by Republicans. The Blue Dogs now only make up 13% of the Democratic Caucus, compared to the 21% previously.
On the basis of unofficial returns, the 62 percent of the vote that Mr. Cuomo received on Tuesday was the third highest of any New York candidate for governor in nearly two centuries. Eliot Spitzer, who garnered 69 percent four years ago, tops the list, followed by Mr. Cuomo’s father, Mario M. Cuomo, who was re-elected with 65 percent of the vote in 1986.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
- Hey, remember that time that vulnerable Democrats in the House risked their constituencies to vote for Cap and Trade? Yeah, last night they got their asses handed to them on a platter. And they didn't even get Cap and Trade out of it. At the very least, Joe Manchin managed to make it out of West Virginia
- One good thing about losing seats, by the way, is losing people on your own team you've never liked. Blanche Lincoln and Alan Grayson land on my list of "people I'm not sad to see go:"
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c Indecision 2010 - Taliban Dan & Boo-Gate www.thedailyshow.com Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity
- Ugh. Thanks to Obama appointing a very popular Democrat to be in his cabinet -- which in turn is due to Tom Daschle being kind of corrupt --we're going to have to put up with at least four more years of Sam Brownback. Forgot who he is? Here's a taste:
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c Headlines - War on Terrorble Diseases www.thedailyshow.com Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity
- Nice things about this evening: our one Congressional Muslim won re-election with 70% of the vote! Yay Minnesota!
- The election unfolds pretty slowly when you're watching it by hitting "Refresh" on the New York Times results. Every time I check the my Google Reader, they're saying that they've basically called Congress, said that Harry Reid has lost, and are forecasting that Obama will squish a hamster within the hour or something. NYTimes takes their sweet time.
- Vitter proves again that you can have sex with prostitutes and stay in power, so long as you don't back down. Your Vitter recap:
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c Louisiana Po' Boy www.thedailyshow.com Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity
- At work, one of my co-workers is bemoaning Carl Paladino's loss. Oh, and griping about Obama's missing Birth Certificate.
- Biggest tragedy of the night: it looks like Russ Feingold (who I eulogized here) didn't make it.
- There is also the occasional Republican/Independent winner who I'm happy about. For instance, I like Lincoln Chafee a lot, and he won Governor of Rhode Island as an Independent. Who is he? Here:
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c Lincoln Chafee www.thedailyshow.com Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity