Sunday, April 28, 2013

What Is To Be Done?

There’s nothing to be done but to go on restating the importance of this kind of courage, and to try to make sure that these oppressed individuals — Ai Weiwei, the members of Pussy Riot, Hamza Kashgari — are seen for what they are: men and women standing on the front line of liberty. How to do this? Sign the petitions against their treatment, join the protests. Speak up. Every little bit counts.

From Salman Rushdie's OpEd in today's Times

Hamza Kashgari, uncredited photo

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Are you there world? It's me, Friday.

Home in Hoboken after a long week, and a good long night of moviegoing at the Tribeca Film Festival, listening to some Caroline Shaw and sinking into not-unpleasant exhaustion.

Saw a program of documentary shorts - fantastic, love this fest if for no other reason (and there are other reasons) than that I get a chance to see things like this instead of just making a stray comment while watching some awards show that "we ought to go see things like that."

Then hustled over to another theater and watched Adult World, which was fun and funny as hell (and I'm not one to give an automatic nod to the latest member of the Roberts Dynasty).

Tomorrow is an appointment in the morning, followed by I hope another film or two, followed by a performance of East Side Stories.  Sunday is a breakfast/rehearsal date, then more movies, then another show.  And then a week of work, auditions, rehearsal, and performances.  Nobody ever said a weekend had to be restful.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


One of my homes.  Not the one I live in today, but one where I lived for 6+ years, and which still holds a more-than-little piece of my heart.

Where Monday happened.

All my friends are ok, as far as I can tell, none of them were in the vicinity.  Most were at work (while they're proud of Patriots' Day up there, they still don't usually give you the day off unless you managed to score Red Sox tickets), a few were at home.  The physical therapist who helped me in the wake of surgery last year qualified for the Marathon, but opted not to run it this year.

Bostonians in general have been dealing with it amazingly, but not surprisingly.  The news outlets have rightly referred to their heroism, generosity, fearlessness, and humanity.

And I'm not going to dwell on the typical media sensationalizing of tragedy (and I'm certainly not going to dignify crap like this with a response)

What I will spend a little bit of time on are a couple pieces that talk about resilience, toughness, and not giving into the fear that, by definition, feeds terrorism.  Here’s one, from cryptographer and security maven Bruce Schneier in The Atlantic. It’s a good reminder that we get to choose how to react (or overreact) to these horrors, and that giving into our fear is neither necessary nor useful.
We actually have all the power here, and there's one thing we can do to render terrorism ineffective: Refuse to be terrorized.
It's hard to do, because terrorism is designed precisely to scare people -- far out of proportion to its actual danger. A huge amount of research on fear and the brain teaches us that we exaggerate threats that are rare, spectacular, immediate, random -- in this case involving an innocent child -- senseless, horrific and graphic. Terrorism pushes all of our fear buttons, really hard, and we overreact.
But our brains are fooling us. Even though this will be in the news for weeks, we should recognize this for what it is: a rare event. That's the very definition of news: something that is unusual -- in this case, something that almost never happens
And then this one from Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River, Shutter Island, and a bunch of other Boston-centric work.  I like that this piece confronts Boston's blemishes (which is too weak a word; maybe I should say Boston’s glaring flaws) directly, but wraps them in the resiliency we all can be proud of.
Trust me, we won’t be giving up any civil liberties to keep ourselves safe because of this. We won’t cancel next year’s marathon. We won’t drive to New Hampshire and stockpile weapons. When the authorities find the weak and terminally maladjusted culprit or culprits, we’ll roll our eyes at whatever backward ideology they embrace and move on with our lives.
There’s been a lot of Boston love going on in the media, including some standouts in the sphere of late night comedy, and even the Yankees got in on it, much to their credit (and – you know this – I do not like to give the Yankees credit for anything, but damn, they deserve it for that.)

Also published in The Atlantic, with the caption: A sign saying "New York Loves Boston" is projected on the facade of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, in New York, late on April 15, 2013, hours after the bombings of the Boston Marathon. The work was done by the Illuminator, a guerrilla projection van that was a project of Occupy Wall Street, and members of the the OWS Light Brigade. (© Lucky Tran, The Illuminator collective)

Do what you do. Make the things you make. Definitely keep up with any activist work you're doing.  And send a little love and healing mojo to the Hub.

Oh, and my show opens tomorrow night.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Won't you come see me, Queen Jane?

Memories of English lefties adapting Maggie's Farm as a response to/indictment of Margaret Thatcher sent me down the Dylan rabbit hole once again. 

More on Baroness Thatcher later, but for now, shifting from one quicksilver song to another, I now pose the following query:

Was Dylan writing about someone in particular in the song Queen Jane Approximately?  I got pulled into the song (again) when listening to "Hwy 61 Revisited" the other day.  There's certainly no need to associate it with any particular person in the flesh & blood universe, but I wonder...

I've never held much truck with the notion that it was about Joan Baez.

The idea that it's about literal Queen Jane Seymour has struck me as even more farfetched, though there's something vaguely interesting about thinking that the "smell of roses" has something to do with the War of the Roses, and that he was being extra special clever referring to "all her children" starting to resent her (when she died of complications from the birth of her only child.)

Naaaaah, that's crazy talk.

I have thought that it might have more than a little to do with Edie Sedgwick.

But I am intrigued by the notion I came across while scouring the internets the other day that it might not be this Factory Girl, but actually the Boy who started the Factory, Andy Warhol himself, who's being addressed in the song.  I picked up the idea from one of the sites out there (cheese factories themselves, for the most part) devoted to picking apart song meanings, with a guy calling himself LuckyTown making the case.  Further steps down the rabbit hole led me to this interview Nora Ephron did with Dylan around the time the song came out - it is vintage Bob being random and chaotic and anything but serious or straightforward, but it does contain the quip "Queen Jane is a man."  And he offers this mini rant on art and accessibility:
Great paintings shouldn't be in museums. Have you ever been in a museum? Museums are cemetaries. Paintings should be on the walls of restaurants, in dime stores, in gas stations, in men's rooms. Great paintings should be where people hang out. The only thing where it's happening is on radio and records, that's where people hang out. You can't see great paintings. You pay half a million and hang one in your house and one guest sees it. That's not art. That's a shame, a crime. Music is the only thing that's in tune with what's happening. It's not in book form, it's not on the stage. All this art they've been talking about is nonexistent. It just remains on the shelf. It doesn't make anyone happier. Just think how many people would really feel great if they could see a Picasso in their daily diner. It's not the bomb that has to go, man, it's the museums.
SO - is it possible that this is an offer/invitation to the artist of plastic (inevitable) repetition who ran the Factory where his kinda sorta girlfriend spent a lot of her time?
When your mother sends back all your invitations
And your father to your sister he explains
That you're tired of yourself and all of your creations
Won't you come see me, Queen Jane?
Won't you come see me, Queen Jane?

Now when all of the flower ladies want back what they have lent you
And the smell of their roses does not remain
And all of your children start to resent you
Won't you come see me, Queen Jane?
Won't you come see me, Queen Jane?

Now when all the clowns that you have commissioned
Have died in battle or in vain
And you're sick of all this repetition
Won't you come see me, Queen Jane?
Won't you come see me, Queen Jane?

Oh when all of your advisers heave their plastic
At your feet to convince you of your pain
Trying to prove that your conclusions should be more drastic
Won't you come see me, Queen Jane?
Won't you come see me, Queen Jane?

Now when all of the bandits that you turn your other cheek to
All lay down their bandanas and complain
And you want somebody you don't have to speak to
Won't you come see me, Queen Jane?
Ah, Won't you come see me, Queen Jane?

Just askin'.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Long Week

Which included Cory's birthday, and the birth of this little one.

And now there's a little extra-special Friday-ness in the air.

Off to rehearsal.  Have a good weekend.