Friday, April 27, 2007

It's Giuliani Time

Ah yes, our beloved former mayor was in the news a bit last week, as he spent some time in New Hampshire working on the foundation of his candidacy. Not a bad idea: the early-primary Granite State is an important place to campaign. But then he goes ahead and says things like this:

"If a Democrat is elected president in 2008, America will be at risk for another terrorist attack on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001… Never ever again will this country ever be on defense waiting for (terrorists) to attack us if I have anything to say about it. And make no mistake, the Democrats want to put us back on defense!"

Oh Rudy, you're cracking me up! The only thing you left out was a shot about the whiff of pot and patchouli pouring out of their elitist Ivy League Mansions as those dirty peaceniks invite the terrorists in to plot America's downfall.

I think he may as well go straight to Orwell to find the phrase that expresses the Truth that every Republican Presidential Candidate seems to know:

'War is Peace.'

But you gotta hand it to the guy, don't you? Balls like that are hard to come by. It's interesting to me - he clearly was in a provocative mood, and the Dems definitely took the bait. The Democratic Party has been circulating petitions to get him to back off. And Clinton, Edwards and Obama all voiced objections. Mission accomplished for the Rude Man. On Sean Hannity's radio show, he said, "I was trying for a home run but I think I got at least a triple, meaning I have got the three leading Democratic candidates attacking me."

Ooooh - attacking! That's what's going on. Because what Giuliani was doing when he said that stuff about the Democrats sitting back and waiting for the planes to fly into their living rooms, well, that was just being friendly.

And speaking of our 'beloved' former mayor, perhaps this is a good moment to recall that on September 10, 2001, New Yorkers were ready to throw Giulani out on his ass.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tennessee Thunder

That being the name of the band that played with Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby monday night. Fantastic bluegrass show at the concert hall in the ethical culture society building on central park west. Super ensemble, very tight in spite of what they claimed was an under-rehearsed situation. Front men were great too: skaggs probably best known for his pop country stuff and hornsby for his singer/songwriter career (you know that 'jacob's ladder' song whether you realize it or not - step by step, one by one.) But they represented the roots on monday. Ricky on vocals, mandolin, guitar and an old banjo that gave him some tuning problems that he was able to turn into good stage time; Bruce on vox and piano (not much of a bluegrass instrument, he's the first to admit, but damned if he didn't work it.)

The seats are essentially church pews, which is far from ideal, and i was crazy tired, which isn't the best for deep listening, but it was a really good show! Traditional tunes, songs written for this group, reworkings of their back catalog, classics from the stanley brothers, bill monroe, folks like that. And for a bitchen encore, a bluegrass rendition of rick james' superfreak! Yes they did.

As they say in texas, it was a hoot.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Family Health

My poor little niece annie has been ill for the last week or so. It's nothing serious, but she has only had formula, no solid food at all, and is just kind of down in the dumps. Check out this photo:

So beautiful, and kind of breaks your heart just a little. How 'bout that tongue hanging out thing?

Get well soon, kiddo. I've got your photo hanging above the desk at my dayjob.

Oh, and speaking of that... my dad passed a kidney stone last week. Ouch. I mean OOOOOOUUUUCCCCCHHH!!!!!!!! Seriously. And then, as sometimes happens to men about 60, he developed shingles. Yup, he sure did. Guess it's one of those things that can happen if you've ever had chicken pox. The virus can just pop up, especially in times of stress. Like the stress of, say, passing a kidney stone. Not contagious, unless you've never had chicken pox or been immunized against them. Which means he can't go near annie :(
And i bet she could use her grandpa about now (though she might be a little freaked out by his shingleface.)

Why i'm just finding out about this today is another question...

And back to the subject of dayjobs - remember that law firm that fired me three days before christmas, as i was wrapping up 'xmas carol' in virginia, right before i was supposed to go back to work? Guess who emailed to ask if i want to temp for the president of the company for a couple weeks next month?


Monday, April 23, 2007

baseball and politics

So we're thinking this may be alberto gonzales' last week or so, right? Listening to some of the testimony (and the questions from senators on both sides of the aisle) i had to think a little of rats fleeing a sinking ship.

Went to shea stadium with katie on saturday - beautiful day, good game, mets won (it seems i am gradually becoming a part-time mets fan, which feels odd but not unpleasant.) Oliver perez pitched a really good game, which made everybody happy: didn't realize it at the time, but at one point he pitched 20 consecutive strikes. Damned impressive, that.

I found this compilation of the international press reactions to the virginia tech tragedy (courtesy to be really interesting. This event has caused me to have a number of discussions about gun laws, gun culture and the second amendment. My own feelings and opinions about the second amendment have sometimes been pretty complicated, a la "why should i be so fervent in my defense of free speech but not in defense of the right to bear arms?" A pretty easy answer to which might come along the lines of "sticks and stones and automatic weapons..." The bottom line of my thinking right now is that it's just really hard to justify how many guns there are in this country, how easy it is to come by them, and how often they are used (about 30 gun deaths per day .) And this may all be facile, but i think this conversation needs to turn up a notch, and why not now?

Red sox swept the yankees - excellent news. Four home runs in a row last night: unbelievable! Sherin had stepped out of the room and thought we were all fucking with her when we started cheering again! Hardly ever happens; first time in red sox history. What can i say? Way cool.

Friday, April 20, 2007

ink falling sideways

There's much to comment on this week, but i'm just too wiped out at the moment.

For now, i think this is an interesting viddy:

irregular flow on Vimeo

And tomorrow is shea stadium!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday, and how

Feeling depressed and trying to fight it off. Has to do with this ridiculous weather, surely (rainy, pissy, windy, cold, gray) and tax annoyance (blah.)

A combination of other elements may also be contributing to the malaise, but may also lead to its relief: Last night I finished reading A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines, and it wrecked me. So simple, so powerful, so poignant - a tale of a teacher who spends time with a man unjustly condemned to the electric chair (as if anyone is ever justly condemned to die; but this guy was just in the wrong place at the wrong time) in Louisiana in the late 1940s. It's a racist world, in which the defense attorney painted a picture of the black defendant as an unthinking 'hog' in a wild effort to get an aquittal from the all-white jury. But of course that portrait is a brutal blow to the prisoner and his family, who call on the teacher to help him regain his humanity before the fateful day.

The book includes a scene where men in a bar are recounting hero-stories about Jackie Robinson, so it felt like one of those inexplicable confluences that I just happened to finish the book on Jackie Robinson Day, the 60th anniversary of his first game. If you don't know who Jackie Robinson is, well that's a Problem With America, which was part of the point of the day. He was the first African American Major League Baseball player, one of the all-time greats of any color, and a hero by pretty much any definition worth considering. Since he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, last night's Dodger/Padres game was a huge celebration of the event (and every game that wasn't rained out commemorated him to some degree.) I missed the pre-game stuff (a Brooklyn gospel choir singing 'O Happy Day' and Jennifer Hudson singing the National Anthem, which people were saying were amazing - they're probably out there on YouTube, but I haven't tracked them down) but I caught most of the game. All the Dodgers wore Robinson's number 42 on their uniforms, as did a handful of people throughout the league. And it was really amazing to hear Jackie's widow Rachel - who always calls him 'Jack;' She says "Jackie was his stage name" :) - and the other luminaries. Henry Aaron and Frank Robinson were there talking about race and history and BASEBALL (damn, they love the game) and it was inspiring on so many levels while also a reminder of what is still missing from our culture.

Which made for a one-two punch in combination with the novel. I've spent a good chunk of my activist life opposing the death penalty, which continues to be insanely racist (like much of the 'criminal justice' system.) And in that light, it's important to remember that there is good work to do on so many levels, and that creative work can be a vital part of that.

Even when the weather sucks.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Passoveaster

And Happy Birthday to all those Arieses out there: Richard, Susan, Becky, Beth, Jason, Marianne, the whole kid and caboodle of ya.

I hear tell there's going to be a Ten Commandments party on the west side. So let it be written; so let it be done.

Had some folks out for Easter Dinner yesterday - chicken soup with avgolemona sauce, leg o' lamb, spinach noodle casserol, roast potatoes with olives & capers, braised string beans. Props to sherin for "Loly's" casserole, and all the other help she gave. Props also to j.p. for the lamb spice rub/searage, and to lori for the chocolate cake. And the peeps.

For your amusement (and especially for those who have at some point appreciated my 'angina monologue'), this from today's overheard in new york:

My Plan Is to OD and Then Have to Miss It

Chick #1: Yeah, I was hoping to get all these painkillers by Thursday because I have to go home to see my mom in a play.

Chick #2: Can't you just get them when you get back?

Chick #1: Yeah, no... My mother is starring in The Vagina Monologues.

Chick #2: Ouch.

Chick #1: See, that was my first thought.

--Goodbye Blue Monday, Bushwick

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Dylan in Europe

From the dylan rumor mill...

His european tour started the other day, and apparently he's pulled out the electric guitar again (having been keeping himself to the electric piano for the last couple years).

So that's exciting. You know, if you get excited about that kind of thing.

rainy day and hipster haiku

Technical rehearsal last night. Stressful and time-consuming, as usual. Those of you who have ever worked on some form of comedy are familiar with that point in rehearsal when nothing seems funny anymore, even though you were laughing about it last week. Yeah, welcome to that. Plus, everyone is sick. And grouchy.

Hey, it's tech.

Oh, here's the new york times listing of the show.

And, to celebrate today's raininess, and yesterday's trip to h&m and the american eagle store in a failed attempt to pick up some basic black jeans, here's a hipster haiku:

Surfers in New York
Your spring gear reeks of Cali -
Where's the fucking beach?

Monday, April 02, 2007


As i (mis?)understand it, a proper reblog is actually automatic: a way to edit and curate content from other blogs/sites. Well, this ain't that. I just wanted to draw your attention to a few things out there on the interweb:

Firstly, jqln has a brilliant link to the hip hop stylings of mc rove. Plus, she needs your support for her lemonade and molasses fast.

Then, there's the online version of juxtapoz, which is a rad and accessible art/culture mag.

And finally, to celebrate my current temp post as glorified envelope stuffer for the fashion industry, here's go fug yourself, which is a funny and catty look at celebrity fashion missteps.

Happy monday.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

I heart new york

It really is the bitchenest city out there, isn't it? Love love love it when spring opens the door to walking from one side of town to the other as much as your legs can stand it.

So just a few of the things i've done round nyc the last few days & nights:

Lunch at lazzara's with jessica, gave her a 'factory girl' music mix i'm pretty proud of - had been way too long since i'd seen her, and that pizza is nigh supernatural.

Sherin shot j.p. and me in an audition video at my place. Fun working on it - thanks so much for the help guys!

Afterwards, we went to see quantum eye, a mentalism/magic show at that was pretty good, then went out for a pint in flatiron.

Last night saw the new mira nair film the namesake with beth at the paris. Really good. Sentimental, in that jhumpa lahiri way, but beautiful, compelling and authentically moving. Then we met abner at guantanamera, a cuban bar on 8th ave. that is exquisitely cheesy, just in time to catch the end of the band's set.

Abner brought along the belated christmas present he and beth got for me - the solti/vienna recording of wagner's ring cycle on vinyl! They nabbed it from a street vendor in the village, so i assumed it would be at least a little scratched up, but it is in amazing, almost immaculate condition and sounds unbelievably good. Alright, alright, i know it makes me a complete and utter geek to be so excited about this, but, well, there it is. Way cool present. And while we're on it, congrats to beth and abner on taking the live-together plunge!

And throughout all of this of course, i've been rehearsing 'trailers/suburban peepshow' opening at the red room on thursday. Fun group o' peeps; hope to see you there.

Ok, just heard this thing on ESPN that i have to share: "L.A. hasn't seen a threepeat since 2002, when the lakers won three consecutive championships... in a row!" Yup. That's right folks, these are professional journalists.

Happy april fools, and happy baseball opening day!