Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Brancusi, etc.

This one is pretty much for Cory. Like much of my life, it'll seem a little random, but has an underlying logic. Or something.



Charlotte Gainsbourg

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Third Man

Last night Cory and I went to see The Third Man at Film Forum. So good.

So. Good.

The angles, the lighting, the story, the acting, and - oh man - that amazing Anton Karas score (has to be the most famous zither music of all time, right? I just read an article saying that Karas had been essentially unknown, playing music in wine bars, prior to Carol Reed hiring him for this film.) One of those movies you can see over and over again and keep getting new things from it. And this was Cory's first time seeing it, so that made it extra special exciting!



This film also shows just how great an actor Orson Welles was. He's the first person you think of when the subject of The Third Man comes up, he's usually the guy who appears on the poster, the picture seems to rest on his shoulders. But really, he's only in three scenes in the whole damn movie. He just fills them with so much life that he turns out to be the star of the show. His first appearance has to be one of the all-time-most-incredible onscreen entrances. And then, of course, that ferris wheel scene... Ok, ok: I don't want to give too much away in case you haven't seen it for some reason (for the love of god, see it.)

The Film Forum run of the new print (released for the 60th Anniversary) ends tonight, so we can put this post in the Too Late to Do Anyone Any Good file. But, well, maybe it will inspire you for the next time around. Watch the DVD in the meantime, for sure; but check it out in a theater if you get the chance. (Oh, and for the Third Man fans out there: this was a good clean print with the extra material and the original European narration. It's got to be making the rounds, right?)

So. Good.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Post Holiday Post

SO -

Christmas '009 came and went in Phoenix, as it did everywhere else. There was something heightened about it for us this year, being that this might have been the Last Christmas Together in Phoenix, but, if anything, that just led to more celebrating.


Holiday bonding for Dad and Otis.


Mary diving into some Christmas goodies.


And the whipped-cream aftermath.


Anna's approach to Christmas involved quite a bit of ecstatic responses to gifts. This is not a child who can be accused of ingratitude for presents. Pink factored heavily - see the drop-proof camera, and the fuzzy pig, to which this almost-four-year-old responded, along with much shrieking, "I've wanted a pig my whole life!!"












Some of Sam.







Jason, a beyond-serious baseball fan and one who knows the "Reason for the Season," appreciating a hitting lesson from Jesus.


The brilliant blur that is Otis.




Mom and Dad.




Ferocity itself.


Dancing at the speed of joy.

Intermezzo

I'll try to get a Post-Christmas Post up today, but I can't say for sure that it'll happen. Meanwhile, here's this, to recognize the saddest event of Christmas Day (with all respect to the people on that flight to Detroit.)





The song is at least 15 years old, but it's a beautiful video, and heartbreaking in the wake of Vic Chesnutt's terribly sad and premature death.



We'll miss you, Vic.

Shit.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Fun

As promised!

Let's start off with yesterday evening. I was on my own for logistical reasons, but I tried to make the most of it. First, I walked past Bryant Park to see the people skating there under the tree.


As you can see, I didn't have my good camera with me yesterday, so these shots won't be my finest work. But I do love that Holiday-in-the-City energy.

Then I went to the farmers' market on 9th Ave. and got some provisions. Made a pretty good pasta and a spinach salad, and opened a bottle of vino for the occasion.


My sister was having something of a rough time last night (if you're reading this - I'm here for you, sis. Always.) so I talked to her for a while. And I wrapped some presents while I watched part of a Charlie Brown special that I'd never heard of from 2003 (?!?!) called I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown (seriously, who knew? Rerun gets fired from kindergarten for sexual harassment. I'm not even kidding.) and part of The San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker on TV. And I dug up some of the old Christmas tapes to accompany the task as well.

That's right. Tapes.




This morning I went to the post office to pick up the present that Grandma and Grandpa sent me. Don't know what it is yet, as she asked that I not open it until Christmas (so that's what's going to happen gol' darnit!)

Then, at work I finished up the birthday present I put together for Grandpa and put it in the mail - it's his birthday today! I know he's not reading this, but say it with me: Happy Birthday, Grandpa! As he approached 92, he shared with us all that he has a formerly closeted fondness for "that long hair violin music" (the "long hair" variety being the arty kind that happens in orchestras, as opposed to the fiddle kind that happens in the backyard jamboree accompanied by banjo, accordion and/or washboard percussion.) I had to put together a collection for the event. (And yes, I know he'll get his present late. I'll call him tonight to wish him a timely Happy Birthday.)



'Tis the Season for fun tasks!

*Oh, and if I'm reading my dashboard right, this is Love Minus Zero's 400th post. So, there's that.

Moving On

Ok, I don't always agree with him, and know that many people strongly disagree with him in good faith, but Glenn Greenwald has been making quite a bit of sense lately. I'm thinking particularly of his analyses of the Health Care Reform debate, his (shockingly lonely) voice calling out some allies of the Obama Administration turning a blind eye toward the way some of its policies resemble those of the Bush Administration, and, particularly, his examination of the trend of Corporatizing the U.S. Government.


...this growing opposition to corporatism -- to the virtually absolute domination of our political process by large corporations -- is one of the many issues that transcend the trite left/right drama endlessly used as a distraction. The anger among both the left and right towards the bank bailout, and towards lobbyist influence in general, illustrates that. Kilgore says that anger among the left and right over corporatism is irreconcilable, and this is the point I think he has mostly wrong:

To put it more bluntly, on a widening range of issues, Obama's critics to the right say he's engineering a government takeover of the private sector, while his critics to the left accuse him of promoting a corporate takeover of the public sector. They can't both be right, of course, and these critics would take the country in completely different directions if given a chance. But the tactical convergence is there ifthey choose to pursue it.

This supposedly irreconcilable difference Kilgore identifies is more semantics than substance. It's certainly true that health care opponents on the left want more a expansive plan while opponents on the right want the opposite. But the objections over the mandate are largely identical -- it's a coerced gift to the private health insurance industry that underwrites the Democratic Party. The same was true over opposition to the bailout, objections to lobbying influence over Washington, and most of all, the growing anger that Washington serves the interests of financial elites at the expense of the working class.

Whether you call it "a government takeover of the private sector" or a "private sector takeover of government," it's the same thing: a merger of government power and corporate interests which benefits both of the merged entities (the party in power and the corporations) at everyone else's expense...


I'll have more Holiday Fun for my next post...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Life Is Good

Yes, there will be naysayers (there are always naysayers.) You could mention how the Health Care Bill is selling out the working poor (again), delivering even yet still another affront to women's health, and a form of political suicide for the already unfathombly divided Democratic Party. And you'd have a point. You could refer to the Global Climate Conference ending in a toothless accord. And there'd be something to that. You might wonder: whither the American Left? When they're reduced to playing "gotcha" about commentators spatting over whether the First Family was polite at a Christmas Party? And you would very, very sadly be on to something.

But I maintain that in these days between Chanukah and Christmas, joy is alive and magic is afoot. Mike Daisey delivered an astounding show - I'm telling you, people: when this man is in town, drop what you're doing and go see his show. No kidding. Bob Dylan's Christmas record is amazing - irrationally fun (thanks for a great holiday present, Cory!) The Ailey Season is driving forth with full vigor. This past weekend's Snowgasm left us with a Winter Wonderland.

And as if that weren't enough, enjoy this video confection. It's latter-day Bad Lieutenant Cage, diving deep into translation on behalf of pinball gambling sensation Pachinko. And now, I present it for your comfort and joy.



You're welcome.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Happenings

There is a LOT going on right now. More even than usual at this festive time of year. The biggest news of all is that there is a very very good chance that my sister and her family will be spending a significantly higher percentage of their time out here starting at some point in '010. Something along the lines of 100% of their time. More on this as it develops...

Meanwhile, this is very late notice, but, consider yourself notified: I will be reading tonight at the Renegade Cabaret. It will be a short but presumably jolly performance of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas tucked in among jazz and Holiday musical faves. The High Line at W. 20th Street, 7 p.m.

Speaking of Holiday faves, I haven't figured out how to embed from this site, but in honor of Chanukah (it's the 7th night, after all, or will be in a few minutes) click here for a great viddy from our friend Leslie Jonath teaching us how to make latkes! It's controversial in a small way, and not completely specific, so you may still want to refer to a recipe, but it's got some great tips. Enjoy!

Friday, December 11, 2009

120% of those polled responded...



Really guys? Really?

I mean, never mind that you're trying to provoke debate about things that don't warrant debate (kind of like you do with evolution) but: are you really on a continuing mission to take fact-checking to a new low?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Speaking of Sad Anniversaries...


It was 29 years ago today.
Photo by Bob Greuen.

Strummer on Springsteen

Sometimes you stumble on something that just kind of makes your whole day better.


Joe Strummer shooting from the hip and waxing poetic about Bruce Springsteen. This is from a fun blog called Letters of Note. Worth a browse, in my opinion, but be warned that you might get sucked in for a while. For you Chicago types: check out this little gem from another of Jersey's finest to Mike Royko.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Historic Events

Today, of course, is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which event ushered the U.S. into World War II. And while that does tempt me to discuss America's current military incursion in Asia, I'm actually thinking more about a big round anniversary that happened yesterday, but didn't get a lot of attention. That would be the 40th anniversary of the concert at Altamont. You know, the big Peace and Love Fest that Wasn't, where the Stones headlined.

It's often painted as the Anti-Woodstock, for its aggressive nature and tone, and, oh yeah, the deaths. (4 people died, one stabbed, by a Hell's Angels security guard.) Rob Kirkpatrick gave the anniversary some column inches, but on the whole it's been ignored, much more so than the Woodstock anniversary a few months ago, with the reunion concerts and the special edition DVDs and the new movie about the event and such. This makes a certain amount of sense, as, unlike Woodstock, it's not something people want to celebrate. But it is historically significant; some people think of it as the moment when the '60s ended, in spirit if not in chronology. I might pick another event that resulted in 4 fatalities a few months later on a college campus in the heartland, but Altamont was an important indicator of the shift. Again, a celebration of Flower Power it was not: that Hell's Angel was acquitted, as the court determined that the woman he stabbed was waving a loaded gun toward the stage.

I think of it also because, though a sense of Utopian possibility may have been slipping away, there was still a lot of activism going on that was, well, pretty active. Cory and I were talking about some of the things going on and wondering where the creative, energetic, risk-taking, influential activist groups are. Where is today's SNCC? Does the SDS have any momentum? Is Act Up still out there acting with the kind of force it used to? Is the ACLU still successful at getting Congresspeople's attention?

This is not some kind of appeal for the good old bad old days (and actually, I think the ACLU does still have some sway), but it is an appeal for the kind of juicy, vital, fingers-on-the-pulse-rather-than-on-the-keyboard kinds of social movements that actually move things. And yes, I admit that I don't lie down in front of tanks much myself. But people might lie down in front of the entrance to City Hall (or the Lincoln Tunnel) if there were a well-organized group ready to jump in there.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Plan

Alright, I admit it: I was in a weird and not-so-good mental space when I wrote my last post. Lotta things just came to a head yesterday. But of course there is plenty of good work to be done.

Here's an interesting perspective by Nicholas Kristof on the sitch in Afghanistan.

And thanks to Mike Daisey for this next tidbit sharing a Master Plan from a website that's currently down for repairs. (Hmmmm...) Looks like a swell time for all!



Daisey's new show is happening at the Public, by the way. You know it's gonna be good - Cory and I are seeing it next week. Very limited run for this one, so don't wait too long...

I've been a busy auditioner/theatergoer these days too. Besides the brilliant From the House of the Dead last weekend, I saw the very worthwhile, if imperfect, A Streetcar Named Desire at BAM on Tuesday (may end up writing fuller posts on those two shows if time permits), and am going to Love Child at New World Stages tonight. Oughta be good. Looking forward to some laughs.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I <3 NY

I really do. Most of the time. But then once in a while, they decide to do something really annoying, probably unconstitutional, and just plain wrong. And it makes me just. go. berserk. Just like Billy Jack.

Lotta rhetoric flying around the idea of gay marriage, in New York and across the country. Six New York Democrats voted against it. Well, seven, if you count Ruben "It's Treason" Diaz, but I honestly don't know if anyone is thinking of him as a Democrat anymore in anything but name.

On the other hand, maybe the Dems deserve the name he's giving them. You saw what I posted yesterday about the Afghan War. And a little while ago, 64 of them in the U.S. House voted to dial back women's access to safe and legal abortions, as I've discussed here too. You know: Safe. Legal. Like you'd want if someone you love needed one. Like women in this country have been able to count on for a couple generations. Like Democrats used to insist on as a base level for the discussion. Here's Barbara Ehrenreich with a really good article on the defanging of feminism. (The gist - while once American women took stands and took to the streets en masse, now you get to call yourself 'aware' of 'women's health concerns' by wearing a little pink pin.) And while we're on Democratic selldowns, where is the New Deal for this generation's economic crisis? Where are the jobs? Where is the aggressive handling of the outsized robber barons of Wall Street?

Ok, ok - I still like Obama better than Bush. I guess I like the Democrats better than the Republicans. (I guess.) But hoooo boy, I'm tired of paying them and getting out the vote for them and not getting what I paid and voted for.

Keep writing those letters and emails and making those phone calls, people. Make it clear that your wallets are closed to officials that don't effect the policies you support and demand.

What would Billy Jack do?





Hehehe.

But as I imagine going all Billy Jack on them, I'm thinking of a quote I saw earlier today and now can't remember where it was. I'll try to track it down, but it went something like: "...then you realize that there is no 'Them,' there's only 'Us,' and We fucked up."

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

And on a Lighter Note


Enjoy.

Tough Going

In the shadow of imminent troop escalation, Bob Herbert on Obama, Afghanistan and real strength.

I keep hearing that Americans are concerned about gargantuan budget deficits. Well, the idea that you can control mounting deficits while engaged in two wars that you refuse to raise taxes to pay for is a patent absurdity. Small children might believe something along those lines. Rational adults should not...

Afghanistan is not Vietnam. There was every reason for American forces to invade Afghanistan in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001. But that war was botched and lost by the Bush crowd, and Barack Obama does not have a magic wand now to make it all better...

The tougher choice for the president would have been to tell the public that the U.S. is a nation faced with terrible troubles here at home and that it is time to begin winding down a war that veered wildly off track years ago. But that would have taken great political courage. It would have left Mr. Obama vulnerable to the charge of being weak, of cutting and running, of betraying the troops who have already served. The Republicans would have a field day with that scenario.

Gatherings this week - in Chelsea, UES and Times Square. Thanks to Sherin for the 411.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Welcome to the Weekend After

Which started yesterday, with the day after (try to follow along, would you please?)

On said day, Black Friday, Cat, Rich and Cleo went to Macy's Santaland for a visit to old Saint Nick. Afterward, Rich had to go to work, but Cat and Cleo went to a Chinese place on 8th Avenue for lunch with Uncle Mick.

video

'Twas most fun - Home on 8th provided some decent, no-frills (and 'no-frills', as Cat pointed out, often equates to 'kid-friendly') food, and Lia joined us a little later.

Before C&C took the train back out to the Island we stopped in to Penn Station for a cup of coffee, which event I documented in this next chapter of my videography career.

video

Ok, I know - Orson Welles I'm not. Hey, I'm learning the tricks of this trade as I go along. Cleo is so damn cute though!

Then it was out to Hoboken for a mostly relaxing night (my building still smells like smoke, and it's seeping into my apartment in spite of my best efforts - I'm calling the an advocacy office on Monday to see what my options are. If there are any tenants' rights experts out there, feel free to offer suggestions too.) Watched part of the James Bond marathon, listened to some music, called Grandma and Grandpa (their phone was down on Thanksgiving), did some reading and writing and actor homework. Stayed up later than I thought I would, but in the middle of a holiday weekend, why not?

This morning I went to the gym for the first time in a while (remember that cold I got a while back?) and made a yummy breakfast: spinach, tomato and Stilton omelette; baguette with cream cheese and olives; French press coffee. Huh - had a French theme going on there without knowing about it. Listened to the radio and did some more reading and tonight I'm going to see From the House of the Dead with Annie. And tomorrow morning, Cory comes back from Colombia! Talk about things to be thankful for!

How Many Words?



Yes.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Great Gratitude

Yes, it's the day after all that turkey and stuffing and potatoes and gravy and pie. I was and am very thankful for the many blessings which grace my life, including such a wonderful family of friends. I didn't take still photos at the Great Feast in Queens yesterday - decided to go the video route instead.

video
That would be Annie and Sherin there in the kitchen, and Deric in the living room. Take note of the fact that Annie's TV has been painted red to match the walls. Pretty rad.

Next up is a little bit of kitchen magic as it happens:

video

It was a fun day/night, with a great group of people. Cory called from Cartagena during the afternoon, which was a great treat for me. We finally sat down to dinner and engaged in what would seem to be a ritual of holiday dining, circa 2009:

video

There's more where this came from. But for now, let me just say how unbelievably grateful I am that I'm able to get together with friends and enjoy events like this.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Crazy Christians

Not to be confused with 'regular' Christians, or any of the vast majority of Christians who hold beliefs that contain a striking amount of diversity but that don't fall into a category I'd call Totally F*cking Whacked Out.


Nope. Not them. I'm talking about Crazy Christians. The ones who are apparently out there praying for Obama's death. (and, it seems plausible to construe, praying for all kinds of other nutty things too.)

There's an article in Salon that pursues this notion further, and looks into the actions of a few choice zealots of hate (or intolerance, or fear, or whatever they are), but this Frank Schaeffer quote from the first piece I linked to seems worth repeating:
"And what surprises me is that responsible, if you can put it that way, Republican leadership and the editors of some of these Christian magazines, etc. etc., do not stand up in holy horror and denounce this. You know, they're always asking 'Where is the Islamic leadership denouncing terrorism? Why aren't the moderates speaking out?' Well, I challenge the folks who I used to work with... I would just say to them: 'Where the hell are you? This is not funny anymore. And be it on your head if something happens to our President..."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday


Cory is in Cartagena until next weekend. This is more or less what today looks like so far.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Had to do SOMETHING on my sick day


Self Portrait

Continuing the Debate(s)

Nicholas Kristoff in the Times

Why is it broadly accepted that the elderly should have universal health care, while it’s immensely controversial to seek universal coverage for children? What’s the difference — except that health care for children is far cheaper?


Keep up the pressure against Stupak-Pitt, people. This thing can work out.

It's Fun to be Right

Or at least to get some validation.

A little while ago, I sent y'all in the direction of the Brother/Sister plays. Well, the press opening was this week, and the Times gave it the kind of rave you don't see too often. So that's good news.



This is NOT to say that the critics are to be trusted. They are not to be trusted. But a good review can do a whole lot for an artist's career, and McCraney deserves it, as does the whole company. Kudos, and Mazel Tov.


(photos from the Times online by Sara Krulwich and Joan Marcus)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Reeling a little...

...from T-Day, as expected. Getting through the day job in a butter-induced coma of sleep deprivation. Nothing to complain about, it's just how it is.

This year we had the extra fun of a medical procedure in the family to get us going early on Friday morning. All is well, so don't worry about anyone's health. A short pudding recovery later, we finished loading up the car and picked up Susan and Daniel and hit the road. Slogged through some traffic & grabbed a case of wine on 9th Avenue (only some of it was for the party) then kept slogging for a while until we got north of the city and were free to pursue happiness in the form of lots of friends and food.

So that's what we did. A stop at a diner in Connecticut (with one of those fun little in-the-booth jukeboxes) and we hit the Revels in Roslindale (part of Boston) at around 4. Reunited with the whole crew, had some food, went out to Somerville to see My Own Worst Enemy play an amazing set, hit a crazy little party in Lower Allston hosted by a friend of Sue B., then back to Rozzy. While we were out Sue K. revealed the little detail that she is expecting another baby! Holy procreation, Batman!

Next day was an orgy of cooking. So. Much. Food. The Main Feast had about 28 people, including the little kids, and we baked I think 10 apple and 4 pecan pies. Do the math - that's a pie for every 2 people. And yes, some other people made their way in over the course of the weekend, but this still gives you a sense of the scale of food we're talking about. We were set with 3 turkeys - one brined with a sausage stuffing, one basted with 'regular' stuffing, and one de-boned (way to go Tamiko!), stuffed with an entire loaf of jalapeno corn bread, and covered in a spicy wet rub. Pike had his own stuffing recipe, and didn't want to settle for baking it in a casserole dish. So the way he solved this dilemma was... he went out and got another turkey. Yup. Homemade everything - roasted veggies, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, broccoli & cheese (oh, Tamiko hosted a fresh mozzerella-making party too), salads, cranberry sauces, cakes, and of course those pies. AND - Lia made homemade grapefruit sorbet, and Tamiko made some homemade honey apple ice cream. [Tamiko wins the Culinary Queen award for this year's fiesta for sure.] The food went on for miles. Also the wine, beer, cider, Kentucky Chocolate, grapefruit sorbet daquiries, etc.

The video game Rock Band took center stage at portions of the party for the first time this year. I was not as obsessive as some of the peeps, though I did get in my licks (including a rendition of Spinal Tap's Stonehenge that I was rather proud of.) Also, lots of playing with the kids (I was one of Cleo's favorites this year, which was a pleasantly surprising development) some wordy games, and of course plenty of pinochle.

Sunday was leftoverfest, natch, and some stragglers made their way over too. There was a field trip to the Boston ICA, which I skipped in favor of lazy socializing and an epic game of pinochle worthy of ESPN Classics. Then, I made risotto...

Ok, here's a thing that it's important to know about making risotto for a large group: it takes a lot longer than making enough for, say, 4-6 people. It seems that when you double the recipe, you quadruple the time it takes. I mean, not quite that, but - oh my Cory and I had some stirring to do to bring our butternut squash and shitake mushroom extravaganza to completion. Still, it was rather good, if I may say so myself. Oh, and remember all those pies? Add to them another half dozen turkey pot pies. You're starting to see where that butter-induced coma came from.

Then on Monday (virtually EVERYONE was able to stay until Monday this year! A couple sadness-making exceptions, but it was a good crew.) we had some sourdough pancakes and did our Yankee Swap. That went well, with the comedy of parents using their children to manipulate the transactions, no shortage of grotesque, glorious gift items, and suspense right up until the end, including the last-minute twist of Beth taking the hideous necktie and pumpkin spice liqueur (no kidding) voluntarily, nay - actively. As Kevin said, "That's a smelly hangover waiting to happen." All went well from our end - Cory provided the party with a near-mint-condition 5 iron and a vintage Trivial Pursuit game, got a box of tea she's looking forward to, and gave some Christmas ornaments to our hosts Molly & Rudy; we found a happy home for the Pabst Blue Ribbon beer light that lived in my kitchen once upon a time; and I took home a super-secret surprise that may end up in one of your stockings if you're very, very lucky...

Then the goodbyes started trickling in and eventually we had to hit the road too. A good day for a drive, other than the sun in my eyes heading west on the Mass Pike. And after some passenger shuffling and luggage unloading I even got a minor parking miracle in Chelsea. And after a few nights on an air mattress, we were able to extra-special enjoy the magnificence of sleeping in a real bed again.

So that's it. That's the story. 'Twas a fab and fooderiffic affair.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New York November

There's been a lot going on so far this month, and we're just getting going.

Rehearsed for a reading on All Saints' Day (nothing like seeing the 'walks of shame' the morning after a New York Halloween.) The reading happened last Wednesday - a very academic play, but I was happy to do it, and got some really good response, including from the playwright, and one person who may make use of my services as a voice teacher.

The next night I saw Broke-ology, which features a friend of mine, at the Mitzi Newhouse. Then on Friday Cory and I met some friends for dinner at Westville East (wrap your mind around that.) Saturday was an engagement party for a friend in the afternoon, and Armitage Dance at BAM that night - got mixed response from the critics and from our group, but I quite liked it. Was especially apt to hear music by Lukas Ligeti after having seen Morphoses dance to music by his father the week before. (Oh yeah, I probably should have posted about that... we saw Wheeldon's company the week before. Wow, that was a really good show!)

THEN - I taught a voice class on Sunday (I'm teaching voice classes these days - feel free to send people my way) after which Cory and I went to the Giants game in Meadowlands. Oy. For lessons in how to lose a football game, check out the highlight reel from that disaster.

Monday was the Major Cultural Event of the New York Neo-Futurists Benefit performance/party. It's hard to believe that I've barely written about them here, since they've been kind of a big part of my life for a while. The event was good, and they raised some good bucks. Good food and drink; a fun, abbreviated performance; I won one silent-auction item, and donated another.


This photo is totally purloined, and kind of out-of-date, I think, but I need to give these guys the emphasis they deserve!

Went to a brilliant Schubert concert with Terry on Tuesday, and we hit a good new spot in Hell's Kitchen afterwards to talk about some potential projects for both of us. The place is called Stecchino, and I had a very nice cocktail and a good bowl of carrot orange soup and Terry had an anchovy appetizer and a beer. Liked it a lot. It's still really new, so get in on it to be ahead of the curve. Or something.

And tomorrow, we leave for T-day in Boston. Which is, of course, the most - won-der-ful time - of the year...

Talk to you when I get back.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Governator

Alright, this is sort of another political entry, but this info is straight outa Comedy Central, so... not really.

Here's the memo that Governor Schwarzenegger sent to accompany his veto of a bill unanimously passed by the California Assembly having to do with allocating funds for the Port of San Francisco. See if you can catch his secret message...



Thanks to Think Progress for pointing out this little Da Villain Code.

Ok, he's vetoing a rather straightforward finance bill that's actually pretty good as far as I can tell. And he's doing it by means of a clever (by Dan Brown standards) but petulant tantrum over the Assembly having skipped over legislation he'd rather be signing, and a dig at bill sponsor and sometime nemesis Tom Ammiano (who recently bellowed a Wilsonesque "You lie!" at Arnold and told him to "kiss my gay ass") . I mean, it's petulant even if you believe his staff's contention that it was a "strange concidence." Which, if you do believe that, I have a stadium in the Bronx to sell you. So why am I still laughing at Governor True Liar?

Because it's funny, that's why. Even if it's cheap. And, without meaning to deride the sanctity of the Legislative Process (heaven forfend!) I should think it's fairly harmless: of course the California Assembly has recourse to veto override, which, I hope, should be easy enough to effect in the case of a unanimous vote.

If they don't override it (and maybe get in a few digs of their own), shame on them.

Assuming they do... hehehe.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Health Care and that pesky majority...

Ok, we've got this:

The amendment will prohibit federal funds for abortion services in the public option. It also prohibits individuals who receive affordability credits from purchasing a plan that provides elective abortions.
However, it allows individuals, both who receive affordability credits and who do not, to separately purchase with their own funds plans that cover elective abortions.
It also clarifies that private plans may still offer elective
abortions.

On some level, I don't care about the nitty-gritty details of this amendment. This isn't just about how the money is allocated or what workarounds exist. This has me so incredibly infuriated because it further segregates abortion as something different, off the menu of regular health care. It is a huge backward step in the battle to convey -- not just politically, but to women in their everyday lives -- that reproductive health care is normal and necessary, and must be there if (or, more accurately, when) you need it.

This also sets apart women's rights from the Democratic/progressive/whatever agenda. As something expendable. But fundamental rights for women are not peripheral. They are core. And not just because of so-called "progressive" values. In a political sense, too: Seeing as how the Democratic party relies on women voters to win elections, you would think they would have come around to this no-brainer by now.

And this:

The House passed its version of health-care legislation Saturday night by a vote of 220 to 215 after the approval of an amendment that would sharply restrict the availability of coverage for abortions, which many insurance plans now offer. The amendment goes beyond long-standing prohibitions against public funding for abortions, limiting abortion coverage even for women paying for it without government subsidies.

"There's going to be a firestorm here," (Colorado Representative Diana) DeGette said. "Women are going to realize that a Democratic-controlled House has passed legislation that would prohibit women paying for abortions with their own funds. . . . We're not going to let this into law."

But then there's this:

Essentially, the Health Care bill passed by Congress...


    • Expands Medicaid "to reach a wider range of poor households up to 150% of the federal poverty level. 36M additional Americans will now be eligible for Medicaid."

    • Bars discrimination in health care on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.

    • Ends the "unfair practice of taxing employer-provided domestic partner health benefits, allowing thousands upon thousands of LGBT people to obtain domestic partner health benefits for their partners and families without having to pay a tax penalty through the nose."

    Which is good.

    So tell me, movementarians, what the next actual move to make? Where do you draw the line? How do you draw it? What are you willing to risk losing by drawing it? Or by not drawing it...

    Friday, November 06, 2009

    For your inner Lisa Simpson...

    You may or may not have been aware that today is Saxophone Day. But you know it now.

    Yes, we're here to honor the birth of Adolphe Sax, the Belgian phenom who would have been 195 today if he hadn't been carried off by typhus in 1894.




    There are a gajillion ways you can acknowledge it (say hello to the intersection of saxophones and the internet) but see that you celebrate it somehow, or risk the wrath of the Ghost Trane.

    SO - spin some Sonny Rollins, play old Lester Young, dig some Coleman (Ornette- or -Hawkins), embrace A Love Supreme, I don't care what you do as long as you get your sax on.


    Monday, November 02, 2009

    Do not delay

    Go see this play.




    Take it from me
    These plays you should see

    Saturday, October 31, 2009

    The Meaning of Life

    What is life all about? Why are we here? Is it to seek truth? To gain wealth and status? To create beauty? To propagate a religion? Reduce suffering? Devote yourself to your family? What do all those things mean?

    Those deep questions are best addressed by someone a lot smarter than I am. But it occurred to me today that it might be interesting to consider how various civilizations, cultures, nations answer the question of the Meaning of Life. I thought it would be fun to look at it from the point of view of individual cities: what they really have say about the Meaning of Life, and what they say they say (for instance, I'm guessing that the denizens of Washington D.C. would claim to be dedicated to things like Freedom and Equality, when I think the reality of the matter is more along the lines of manipulation of wealth. But that's another box of wine.)

    I'm on the subject, because I think that Miami Beach would freely acknowledge, if it thought about such matters, that the meaning of its life has to do with the celebration of eroticized beauty and sensual pleasure. Which, for the last grand gesture of the Month of Mick, is just fine with me.


    Now you might be thinking that I'm about to hit you with a bunch of spicy and saucy photos. Well, that ain't gonna happen. There are plenty of places on the internets where you can see that stuff. But I do have some pix from our stay for your amusement.

    For instance, check out the Fontainebleau, Morris Lapidus' masterpiece.

    And a shot of its tower, the edge slicing into the sky.

    A couple days were windy enough that the parasurfers were out in force.


    Thought I had more and better shots of these guys, but here's one catching a little air.

    While the sort of philosophical questioning I was referring to might not exactly reach its fullest flower in Miami Beach, there is certainly some artistic expression. These are from the apartment where we stayed.


    I like this one because it shows a chunk of the place, our gear thrown all over. Hey - it was meant to be a relaxing visit, right? Also, if you close up a little, you can see Cory tucked in behind the sculptures.

    Here's a shot of the view from our balcony.

    As if this weren't luxurious enough, I also had a spa day (!) as a birthday present, at this place:


    Can't take credit for that photo, but I certainly enjoyed the day! A workout, a steam shower, some time at the pool, a Balinese massage, then out to the beach. Amazing. Mmmmmm... Balinese massage...

    'Twas a good few days.

    And back in New York, of course, we just had Halloween. This guy on Cory's block looks like he's had a rough time of it.
    Think it's too late for a massage for him...