Boing Boing: Google to HMOs: pay us and we'll defuse "Sicko":
Google's "Health Advertising Team" is trying to sell the health industry on buying ads to be shown opposite searches for "Sicko." The idea is to counter Michael Moore's amazing, enraging, must-see indictment of the health industry's grip on American society by running ads over search results for Sicko.
Another approach would be to reform the practices that Moore criticises in the film -- for example, refusing to pay for an insured individual's surgery because she didn't mention a 15-year-old yeast infection on her application; denying MRIs to patients with brain tumors; and paying medical directors bonuses for denying claims.
But why make your customers healthier -- at shareholder expense -- when you can just give money to Google to FUD and astroturf the issue?
Gothamist: Reverend Billy Locked Up:
"...even unaffiliated riders were ticketed as they approached the park. Reverend Billy and his partner Savitri D were reciting the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to the gathered police force when Lieutenant Daniel Albano, head of the NYPD's Legal Division, ordered the Reverend's arrest and detention at the 13th Precinct station. It is believed Albano is the public official Reverend Billy has been charged with harassing."
This brings up ongoing concern over protecting civil liberties and rights to free assembly and political action. However, it also draws attention to selectively enforced Parade Laws, drafted by the police and passed into law by the City Council earlier this year. The law criminalizes gatherings of more than 50 people that do not have permits. Something the press release points out is that "while the NYPD surrounded and intimidated last night's Critical Mass cyclists, a line of several hundred shoppers formed just across the street to purchase the new iPhone, blocking pedestrian traffic and forcing people to walk in the street."
Entrance Applause - Theater - New York Times:
In Japan traditional kabuki theater is known for kakegoe: shouting at actors upon their entrance, and throughout the performance. When an actor strikes a traditional pose along the entrance, audiences will shout out his yago — literally “shop name” or theatrical studio — or lines of encouragement like “You’re better than your father!,” referring to the tradition of passing roles down through the generations.
Kakegoe makes up for the nonexistence of curtain calls. “There’s a saying in kabuki theater that if you wait until the end of the performance, it’s too late,” said David Furumoto, who teaches theater at the University of Wisconsin.
Thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate Jean-Michele's birthday with tequila and cupcakes after the show--you are the hope and future of the American Theater!
Entertainment | In debt, Northwest Actors Studio closes | Seattle Times Newspaper:
After more than three decades of putting on shows, the Northwest Actors Studio made its final curtain call Thursday. The Capitol Hill nonprofit is closing, its founder said, after falling $35,000 in debt.
The small theater is one of the few Seattle venues where low-budget fringe companies could rent performing spaces for as little as $100 a night.
This term, Chief Justice John Roberts fully agreed with Justice Samuel Alito in 92 percent of the nonunanimous Supreme Court cases in which he voted. His rate of total agreement was 89 percent with Justice Antonin Scalia and 85 percent with Justice Clarence Thomas. (The stats are courtesy of the good folks at SCOTUSblog; here are some more.) Any hope liberals and moderates had that the Roberts Court would be modest in its ambition were dashed this week with the parade of 5-4 decisions (conservatives win, liberal-moderates lose). Roberts wrote today's decision to scrap two school-district plans that took race into account in sorting students among different public schools. Earlier this week, he wrote opinions that cut back on students' free-speech rights and gutted key provisions of McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform. He has also been part of the five-justice majority that upheld the federal "partial-birth" abortion law, told Keith Bowles that he could not bring a habeas claim to appeal his 15-year-to-life sentence, because he'd filed three days late—based on the say-so of a federal judge—and precluded Lilly Ledbetter from suing for discrimination because she waited too long to bring suit, never mind that her low pay was ongoing.
I'm marking this down in public, because it bears noting.
In February I saw AntiGravity, an utterly insipid and vomitous exercise in fusing Superbowl halftime calisthenics with "art". I was on tour in Hawaii, and our host had some tickets. We were all mortified by it--it's crass, loud and utterly witless, an inane and obvious effort to infect arts centers with a thinly-veiled infomercial of bodies choreographed in pathetic, repetitive patterns. It was seriously one of the worst things I've seen in my life, and like any professional in the theatre I've seen a lot that's bad--it's soulless, meaningless noise that lowers the bar for dance and even spectacle. It's shit, backward and forward.
Today, Ginia Bellafante files this review about the same show, now playing in New York:
AntiGravity: The 2007 Tour - Theater - Review - New York Times
No, it's not a rave--but it's coolly positive. Perhaps Ms. Bellafante enjoys the fact that the performance aspires to nothing and has nothing to say--that it is up front about being nothing but style and energy that signify nothing. That would jibe with her track record, which has been progressively more dismal--while intelligent, she has no empathy for the performances she watches, preferring instead to see shows of small ambition that match very particular criteria she has for what the performance should be--she usually sets this forth in the opening paragraphs of the piece.
She's not a total loss in my opinion, and that's what makes this so painful--she can write, and when a piece she's reviewing doesn't have an emotional heart she's adept at working through the whys and wherefores of her experience in the theatre, something many other reviewers struggle with. She is clearsighted when she isn't missing the point entirely, and I'm not being facetious--that really is something, and I believe she could even be a good critic someday, with some attention to the "human problem."
But this review of AntiGravity, for me, is beyond the pale. It calls into question her basic competence, and her ability to process what she sees as a theatrical critic--it is the kind of garbage I would expect from a stringer on a paper much less important than the Times. It is the kind of review that makes me remember that her work before the theater section was confined to fashion and television reporting: many pieces of flash and sizzle devoid of the complexities of human psychology.
I know AntiGravity--and if Ginia can see that work and not know it as the cheap, stuntacular garbage it is, she is a total fucking moron. The sad thing is I know that she is not a moron, so I believe instead that she likes and enjoys cheap, stuntacular garbage--it's flashy, has pretty bodies and perhaps reminds her of the joys of not thinking, not grappling with ideas, emotions or life. I can only pray she returns to reviewing fashion shows and television as soon as possible, where I think her skill set will be put to better use . . . though after this incident, I would actually prefer someone more perceptive and empathetic review the new Marc Jacobs fall collection or write a 900 word epistle on the meaningfulness of Scrubs.
ContraCostaTimes.com - Theater in Brief:
"Great Men of Genius" -- Four one-man shows by Mike Daisey, dealing with P.T. Barnum, Nikola Tesla, L. Ron Hubbard and Bertolt Brecht, bring a bizarre and wonderful sort of solo theater to Berkeley Rep's Thrust Stage. Daisey, who blends hilarious recollections from his own life into blisteringly funny tales of these geniuses, plays the story of each character Wednesdays-Saturdays, and does all four pieces on Sundays. Closes July 1.
Boing Boing: One day left to fight the US national ID card - ACT NOW!:
Tomorrow, the Senate votes on creating a national ID card, an internal passport that we will have to use to identify ourselves to the government at all times. Two amendments to the REAL ID bill will defuse it, but you have to contact your senator now to make them happen:
greg.org: the making of: Huge Props:
I'd like to say I felt that sensation again, but to be honest, the new sixth floor galleries are so high, and the beautiful skylight overhead was so open, Serra's once-overwhelming plates felt a bit quaint and conceptual, the idea of awe instead of awe itself. Or maybe it's just me. Maybe it's not so much the work, but my own spatial nostalgia, the kinaesthetic memory of it, that I'm loving so much, that thrill of paradigm-shifting discovery when you're young and stupid--and your paradigms are due for several hefty shifts. Maybe Richard Serra's works are not just shapers of space; after you've encountered them once, they become manipulators of time, too.
Gone Missing - Theater - Review - New York Times:
Developed by the company from man-on-the-street interviews, directed and written by Steven Cosson and featuring an eclectic cavalcade of witty pastiche songs by Michael Friedman, this revised and expanded version of “Gone Missing” is fresh, breezy and very funny indeed, pretty much a perfect summer entertainment.
Which does not mean that it has nothing to say. Underneath its wry surface lies a mournful acknowledgment of the transience of life’s pleasures, symbolized here by any number of cherished possessions that somehow fell into a black hole, leaving behind an aching void in the shape of a bit of jewelry, a PalmPilot or a stuffed animal.
First Look: Test Driving the iPhone - Newsweek Technology - MSNBC.com:
During my travels and airport delays, I was able to keep up with my e-mail, negotiate my way around the downtown, get tips on the city from an old friend whose number I don’t normally have handy, check the weather conditions in New York and D.C., monitor baseball scores and blogs, listen to an early Neil Young concert and amuse myself with silly YouTube videos and an episode of “Weeds,” all on a single charge before the battery ran down. Now, just about all those things could have been done by devices that are already out on the market. But considering I’d had the iPhone for just a day, and never taken a glance at a manual, it was an impressive introduction. In contrast, I’ve had a Motorola handset for two years and am still baffled at its weird approach to Web browsing and messaging. What’s more, with the exception of learning to type on the iPhone, which requires some concentration, doing all those things on that five-ounce device was fun, in the same way that switching from an old command-line interface to the Macintosh graphical user interface in the mid-1980s was a kick. And when I showed the iPhone to people during that trip and in the days afterward—especially people under 25—the most common reaction was, “I have to have this,” sometimes followed by a quick, if alarmingly reckless, consideration of what might need to be pawned in order to make the purchase.
And there it is: one of the most hyped consumer products ever comes pretty close to justifying the bombast.
The state of the ninja. - By Grady Hendrix - Slate Magazine:
Ninjas are everywhere. Ninjas are in movies, ninjas are on TV, there is probably a ninja clinging to the bottom of your desk right now. With their roots in the battlefields of 14th-century Japan, ninjas were assassins who practiced the art of ... oh, who cares? It doesn't matter where ninjas came from. All you need to know is that ninjas can totally kill you without even thinking about it. In fact, ninjas are so lethal that it takes an enormous effort of will for them not to kill you. You are only alive because a ninja is trying very hard not to shoot a blow dart through your neck right this minute. Ninjas are being kind to us and yet we haven't returned the favor. Even so, ninjas have stealthily taken over the planet in the last few years and no one over 30 saw it coming.
Vox Pop: Have you tried outsourcing your life? | 43 Folders:
A lot of my friends have been reading The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, and, to varying degrees, several of them have started trying on some of his more audacious ideas, such as checking email once a week, finding an “income muse,” going on an extreme information diet — a few people I know are considering outsourcing pieces of their personal and professional lives.
For reasons I can’t fully explain — and will, for now, just write down to Tim’s engaging style — I also found this outsourcing idea weirdly fascinating. You identify the tedious tasks in your life that don’t represent the best use of your time, and assign them to an overseas worker who can complete them for a few bucks an hour. This apparently can be virtually any kind of mundane task, from booking a dinner reservation to doing research on a company to — heck, why not? — answering your email.
Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace:
The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other "good" kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college. They are part of what we'd call hegemonic society. They are primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities.
MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, "burnouts," "alternative kids," "art fags," punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn't play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn't go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. Teens who are really into music or in a band are on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.
The Interpreter: Has a remote Amazonian tribe upended our understanding of language? : Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker:
Everett, who this past fall became the chairman of the Department of Languages, Literature, and Cultures at Illinois State University, has been publishing academic books and papers on the Pirahã (pronounced pee-da-HAN) for more than twenty-five years. But his work remained relatively obscure until early in 2005, when he posted on his Web site an article titled “Cultural Constraints on Grammar and Cognition in Pirahã,” which was published that fall in the journal Cultural Anthropology. The article described the extreme simplicity of the tribe’s living conditions and culture. The Pirahã, Everett wrote, have no numbers, no fixed color terms, no perfect tense, no deep memory, no tradition of art or drawing, and no words for “all,” “each,” “every,” “most,” or “few”—terms of quantification believed by some linguists to be among the common building blocks of human cognition. Everett’s most explosive claim, however, was that Pirahã displays no evidence of recursion, a linguistic operation that consists of inserting one phrase inside another of the same type, as when a speaker combines discrete thoughts (“the man is walking down the street,” “the man is wearing a top hat”) into a single sentence (“The man who is wearing a top hat is walking down the street”). Noam Chomsky, the influential linguistic theorist, has recently revised his theory of universal grammar, arguing that recursion is the cornerstone of all languages, and is possible because of a uniquely human cognitive ability.
Steven Pinker, the Harvard cognitive scientist, calls Everett’s paper “a bomb thrown into the party.” For months, it was the subject of passionate debate on social-science blogs and Listservs. Everett, once a devotee of Chomskyan linguistics, insists not only that Pirahã is a “severe counterexample” to the theory of universal grammar but also that it is not an isolated case. “I think one of the reasons that we haven’t found other groups like this,” Everett said, “is because we’ve been told, basically, that it’s not possible.” Some scholars were taken aback by Everett’s depiction of the Pirahã as a people of seemingly unparalleled linguistic and cultural primitivism. “I have to wonder whether he’s some Borgesian fantasist, or some Margaret Mead being stitched up by the locals,” one reader wrote in an e-mail to the editors of a popular linguistics blog.
LitDept: The Chairman for the NEA tells it like it is at Stanford:
There is an experiment I'd love to conduct. I'd like to survey a cross-section of Americans and ask them how many active NBA players, Major League Baseball players, and American Idol finalists they can name.
Then I'd ask them how many living American poets, playwrights, painters, sculptors, architects, classical musicians, conductors, and composers they can name.
I'd even like to ask how many living American scientists or social thinkers they can name.
Fifty years ago, I suspect that along with Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Sandy Koufax, most Americans could have named, at the very least, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Arthur Miller, Thornton Wilder, Georgia O'Keeffe, Leonard Bernstein, Leontyne Price, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Not to mention scientists and thinkers like Linus Pauling, Jonas Salk, Rachel Carson, Margaret Mead, and especially Dr. Alfred Kinsey.
I don't think that Americans were smarter then, but American culture was. Even the mass media placed a greater emphasis on presenting a broad range of human achievement.
Thanks to everyone who has been writing in on the photo linking issue--I am hoping to have something in place after the tour ends in two weeks, which will be my first downtime in quite awhile. Fixes may come before then, but no guarantees. Footers have been changed on the page to at least clarify that almost all images and text are not mine.
Off to the theater. In the physical world, the run has been going splendidly--fantastic audiences who are seeing two, three and even four of these shows, often all in one day. It's inspiring that live performance can be riveting in a direct way, for both the audiences and for me--because it's their attention and presence that makes the work possible, and I'm often more amazed than anyone at the connections and juxtapositions that happen in live performance.
If you're in the Bay Area, you may wish to get your tickets now before the last shows slip by--because when they're gone, they're gone. Details are in the sidebar.
Be seeing you,
Gothamist: Jury: JT Leroy Creator Liable For Fraud and Breach of Contract:
A note to anyone writing under a pseudonym: Don't let the pseudonym become larger than life. After deliberating for a couple hours, a jury came to a verdict in a film production company's lawsuit against Laura Albert, who wrote novels under the name JT Leroy. A tipster at the Federal Court just gave us the scoop:
GREAT MEN OF GENIUS was reviewed today on National Public Radio's THE ARTERY, an arts program--you can listen to the review here.
Daily Kos: To Bush, black people = "the help":
It's so classy, how Bush tells the black musicians to clean up after the politicians.
I want to thank our Chef, Paul Prudhomme, from New Orleans, Louisiana -- one of the great chefs in America. Thanks for coming, Paul. (Applause.) I thank Tony Snow and his bunch of, well, mediocre musicians -- (laughter) -- no, great musicians. Beats Workin, thanks for coming. (Applause.) Kermit, come up here. Kermit, we're proud to have you.
MR. RUFFINS: Well, thanks for having us.
THE PRESIDENT: Kermit Ruffins and the Barbeque Swingers, right out of New Orleans, Louisiana. (Applause.)
MR. RUFFINS: Thank you. Thanks for having us. We're glad to be here.
THE PRESIDENT: Proud you're here. Thanks for coming. You all enjoy yourself. Make sure you pick up all the trash after it's over. (Laughter.)
Examining Black-Latino Relations, Gently - New York Times:
Earlier this spring, in train stations and subway cars across the city, advertisements began appearing for a play that was to begin a limited engagement at Florence Gould Hall of the Alliance Française. This might easily pass without comment, were it not for the matter of the show’s already quiet if substantial success. “Platanos & Collard Greens” was first produced in a tiny Midtown theater — 70 seats — in 2003 and has moved gradually and intermittently to larger spaces since, with virtually nothing but conversation to endorse it.
Though the show’s creator, David Lamb, had taken out a few spots on urban radio over the years, he relied primarily on his audiences to do his promotional work for him. The show functions without a press agent; until a few weeks ago it had no Web site. The cast is entirely anonymous, in the purest, hoariest sense of the term. The production notes for “Platanos & Collard Greens” may be singular in the world of New York theater for featuring not one actor whose credits include an outing on “Law & Order” or its subsidiaries.
By the end of its run at Gould Hall in September, though, about 90,000 people will have seen “Platanos & Collard Greens” a figure that exceeds the number who have taken a seat at “The Year of Magical Thinking” on Broadway by close to 20,000.
How to dump your cell phone contract for the iPhone | InfoWorld | News | 2007-06-21 | By Grace Aquino, PC World:
For some cell phone fanatics, the iPhone is love at first sight: a cool touchscreen, a slim design, promising simplicity. The only thing standing between you and that dreamy device is your contract with another carrier. Is there a way to break the relationship without paying a penalty of $150 or more? Yes.
Slashdot | When Does Technolust Become An Addiction?:
"According to a CNet article, an incredible one in three people aged 16 to 24 in the UK would not give up their mobile phone for a million pounds. 'The phone-centric survey, called Mobile Life, was carried out across the UK and questioned 1,256 people aged 16 to 64 on a variety of topics ... So young people really like having a mobile phone and we all love buying gadgets. But before you dismiss this research as stating the bleeding obvious, think about this -- if someone had told you even ten years ago that people would be taking out second mortgages to buy flat screen TVs, would you have believed it?' Is this just the result of deliberately skewed marketing dressed up as research, or is this another indication of western culture's obsession with communication and technology? How much is too much tech?"
A Sexy Pride Guide / 10 Ways to Get Lubed in SF:
San Francisco is a sexual wrinkle in the space-time continuum. There are many theories on why we seem to be the epicenter of all things bawdy, naughty, dirty and just plain sexy. Some cite history: the famed Barbary Coast days, when the streets boasted ladies in breeches and inexpensive company of all flavors, and sailors were, um, sailors. We had the biggest red-light district in the world for at least a decade. The term "mack" even originated here: French pimps brought girls here by the literal boatload, and the French word for pimp (or "broker") -- maquereau -- became shortened on our fine shores to "mack." As in, San Francisco is your Mack Daddy this weekend.
How children lost the right to roam in four generations:
When George Thomas was eight he walked everywhere.
It was 1926 and his parents were unable to afford the fare for a tram, let alone the cost of a bike and he regularly walked six miles to his favourite fishing haunt without adult supervision.
Fast forward to 2007 and Mr Thomas's eight-year-old great-grandson Edward enjoys none of that freedom.
He is driven the few minutes to school, is taken by car to a safe place to ride his bike and can roam no more than 300 yards from home.
In the interests of full disclosure, I got called on the carpet today for posting images to this site without attribution--this was my response, which I'm posting here, because it concerns this site and could perhaps be productive.
I've wrestled with this, back and forth--you're totally right that I'm certainly not a newbie of any kind.
A couple of years ago the blog began to morph into what is more or less its current form. Basically I wanted to make a blog that serves as an image stream and repository for images I see on the net that inspire/interest me, and articles that do the same. I've always imagined it being a remix product that puts lots of different pieces in close association with one another that may not have happened otherwise, and it also serves as a clearinghouse for this and that, like press on the shows, stuff like that.
Articles have never been a problem, as there is always a natural link back to where the article's extract is from. Images are more difficult: ideally I'd like the image to float free of text, and wanted the images to be able to sit next to one another, or against article extracts. I'll totally admit the issue is from my court half aesthetic, half technical and half laziness--I should have come up with a system that creates links I can live with, but I haven't implemented that. I use ecto and blogger on OS X--I need to monkey with the templates until I can create something that doesn't annoy me, like making the image itself serve as the link to the rest of the work, but don't really know how to do that.
Whenever someone requests I remove anything, or that I add links to work, I do. The issue that people might think I take the photos is more problematic--I've always assumed that the wide range and number of images would prevent that from happening, but I should put a clear disclaimer, perhaps in the footer of the page, that makes clear that this is not the case.
As for how the reposting of my writing or work without attribution would feel for me, that's an interesting question--I work onstage exclusively orally, composing live from an outline, so that the performances themselves dissolve the moment their created--no two are ever the same. So I'm used to the idea that my work has no permanent state, and I expect that anything I do, especially things I post on the web, will have their own life beyond me. When I've seen my work elsewhere unattributed I've either done nothing, or I've contacted the person running the site about it and they've always been eager to link back or attribute things, but most of the time I just let the work go.
Thanks for writing me about this--I've been remiss in dealing with the ramifications and that's not cool. If you have advice, aesthetically or technically, on how I can achieve more information without text links everywhere I am totally interested, as I'd love to implement a solution that makes everybody happy.
So that's the long and short of how things came to be the way they are now--if readers of this site would like to suggest alternatives to my current system, email me and let me know what you think. In an ideal universe I would have a system that is as swift as my current system (a combination of ecto, 1001 and custom bookmarklets in Camino) so that I can generate links and images the way I do now, so that it takes very little time at all. All suggestions are welcome.
East Bay - Arts & Entertainment - Genius Tales - Storyteller Mike Daisey offers four addictive monologues on noteworthy men.:
Having buzzed through with his autobiographical solo shows 21 Dog Years and The Ugly American, storyteller Mike Daisey returns to Berkeley Rep with four new biographical monologues called Great Men of Genius, gathering such unusual suspects as P.T. Barnum, Bertolt Brecht, L. Ron Hubbard, and Nikola Tesla.
Sitting at a wooden table on an otherwise bare stage, the storyteller pauses only for audible chapter breaks as he bounces back and forth between biographical tidbits about historical oddballs and embarrassing personal anecdotes of his own. Directed by his wife Jean-Michele Gregory, Daisey works from an outline rather than a script, so details may vary.
It's An Odd Name For A Skateball Team, Don't You Think?:
We rented Solarbabies.
Solarbabies is about an orphanage in the future where Earth has post-apocalyptically burned off all its oceans, and so as a consequence, the orphans spend their time playing roller hockey. The Solarbabies play a bunch of meanies called the Scorpions, who CHEAT! And occasionally Adrian Pasdar shows up, displays no emotion, and communes with wild birds.
Then Lukas Haas finds in one of their roller caves--look, I didn't make this fucking thing, but I'm just saying that I suppose roller hockey makes sense in light of a nuclear-ravaged world that also happens to be paved with convenient roller paths every single place you go--a glowing ball named (it has a name!) Bodahi. Having made a new friend with glowing sentient ball, Haas does the logical thing and stuffs Bodahi into a storage trunk.
BUT! He can't keep that secret for long! Not from his roller hockey buddies in the orphanage, which is run by the "E-Protectorate" (the E is for Eeeeeeeeaaaawesome!), whose warden is Charles Durning, but who is ordered around by some terrible asshole in a truly amazing giant blue vinyl fascist zoot suit. He's mostly around to sneer. Adrian Pasdar wanders around some more, and some more birds land on him for some reason (it was clear I needed to step up my drinking early, so things get hazy).
Anyway, the gang discovers Haas' amazing lo-tech glow ball, and there's a truly humiliating Soundball moment (any actors out there?) where they spend joyous moments passing the ball around to each other while Maurice Jarre synths torture the audience. Hey, can you guess what happens when the single black orphan gets Bodahi? Yes . . . he sort of breakdances. It is the breakdance equivalent of Lou Diamond Phillips' speech in Young Guns where he delivers the standard-issue "the squaws were cut down in the night by the army marauders," which is to say, uncomfortably horrible and deeply embarrassing.
Travolta Hospitalized With Critically Low E-Meter Reading:
"Mr. Travolta was in extremely serious condition when he was brought in, but fortunately, he responded well to emergency touch-assist treatment and quickly began making rudimentary wins," Citarella said. "It's just lucky that his emergent condition was discovered before he completely went out of affinity with MEST."
Travolta, star of Perfect and Staying Alive, was at home at approximately 10 a.m. when he reported feeling faint. A subsequent Electropsychometer audit by his personal physician revealed an alarmingly low tone, and he was assigned a condition of doubt and rushed to the hospital.
Doctors are still uncertain as to what caused the longtime Clear's condition to deteriorate so rapidly.
"It is quite a puzzle," UCLA Medical Center chief of staff Ronald Offerman said. "Mr. Travolta's reactive mind could be inhibited by an engram, if not secondaries and locks as well, throwing out the correctness of his computations. But how an engram or even a chain could have entered the reactive mind of an Operating Thetan like Mr. Travolta is hard to explain."
"This is more serious than mere overts and withholds," UCLA's Dr. Randy Ferber said. "While more tests still need to be done, I suspect that an immense entheta implant, R6 or worse, has knocked Travolta down the bridge. It may even be possible that this occurred far back on his time track, and I don't have to tell you the shocking implications of that."
Larry Lessig is shifting the focus of his work away... (kottke.org):
Larry Lessig is shifting the focus of his work away from IP and copyright issues and toward tackling what he calls corruption. "I don't mean corruption in the simple sense of bribery. I mean 'corruption' in the sense that the system is so queered by the influence of money that it can't even get an issue as simple and clear as term extension right. Politicians are starved for the resources concentrated interests can provide. In the US, listening to money is the only way to secure reelection. And so an economy of influence bends public policy away from sense, always to dollars."
Changing Stories: The Shrinking 'New York Times' - Gawker:
Last July, Times executive editor Bill Keller sent around a memo detailing the changes that would be occurring. He started by saying that the NYT's printing plant in College Point, Queens would be adding another high-speed press, and the Edison, N.J. plant would be "subleased"—i.e., closed. He also said that "when this consolidation is complete—in April 2008—The Times will adopt the narrower format that is now becoming the industry norm."
Of course, the move to narrower pages is happening in August 2007, not April 2008. And yesterday's memo also said: "a large number of press mechanics will changeover prepared presses at College Point, Edison and national plants on Sunday to be able to print at the new size." Curious! Why would the Times go to the (expensive!) trouble of getting a new press for a plant they're about to close? Why not wait until the original appointed date, next April, to make the change, when they're going to be closing the plant and putting all those people out of work anyway?
It also seems as though either the size changes have turned out to be more significant than Keller originally thought, or else he has deliberately downplayed their significance to his staff.
Tonight, for one night only is a show Jean-Michele is directing: WANDERLUST, created and performed by the talented Martin Dockery. I'll be there, and hope to see you at the show.
Written and Performed by Martin Dockery
Directed by Jean-Michele Gregory
A piece about an office temp who leaves everything to travel to a far-off place and there demand an Epiphany. Any Epiphany. Some proof that though we may be temporary, we're more than mere temps.
ONE NIGHT ONLY! Tuesday, June 19th @ 8pm. Tix are between $8-$12.
The Marsh is in the Mission at 1062 Valencia Street (near 22nd Street) in San Francisco
Ticket Hotline 800-838-3006 | Info 415-826-5750
Or to buy tickets online, go to: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/15788
To go to the Marsh website, go to: http://www.themarsh.org/rising.html
MARTIN DOCKERY is a frequent performer in New York City’s storytelling scene, appearing on the stages of The Moth, Speakeasy, Talkingstick, Mouthpiece, The Liar Show, and others. His hilarious and thought-provoking stories—often about his solo backpacking adventures which have taken him to over sixty countries and 6 continents—have made him a five-time finalist in The Moth’s bi-annual Grandslam Storytelling Championship. Dockery received his B.A. in English from Kenyon College and his M.F.A. in playwriting from Columbia University. He was a co-creator of the play C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E, which is now running on Broadway as The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. His play Oh, That Wily Snake! is being read by university students as part of a McGraw-Hill anthology textbook on literature. The New York Times has called his writing “fey and fantastic,” Backstage West has called it “deliciously enjoyable,” and the L.A. Weekly has deemed it “compelling . . . entertaining . . . divinely inspired.”
JEAN-MICHELE GREGORY is a New York-based director who works with solo performers and writers to create works based on autobiographical material. She is currently directing Mike Daisey in Great Men of Genius at Berkeley Rep and will be directing Suzanne Morrison in Yoga Bitch this August at London’s Theatre 503. She’s had the good fortune to stage original productions at The Public Theater, American Repertory Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, the Cherry Lane Theatre, the Spoleto Festival, Intiman, ACT Theatre, Performance Space 122 and others, but she’s especially happy to be working at the Marsh with Martin Dockery on this thrilling new piece.
The Daily Dish:
The Supreme Court Justice cites Jack Bauer and the Hollywood torture show "24" as relevant background for constitutional jurisprudence:
"Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles. ... He saved hundreds of thousands of lives," Judge Scalia said. Then, recalling Season 2, where the agent's rough interrogation tactics saved California from a terrorist nuke, the Supreme Court judge etched a line in the sand.
"Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?" Judge Scalia challenged his fellow judges. "Say that criminal law is against him? 'You have the right to a jury trial?' Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don't think so.
"So the question is really whether we believe in these absolutes. And ought we believe in these absolutes."
Earth to Justice Scalia: Jack Bauer does not exist.
MJR2007 Critic's Art:
Center Theatre Group runs three theaters (including the Taper Forum, where 13 premiered) and boasts an annual budget of $45 million. Past premieres by the company include Biloxi Blues, Angels in America, and Children of a Lesser God. This is no minor theater company, even by world standards.
Why, then, the insecurity? Something of an answer came the next night from John Lahr, senior theater critic for The New Yorker. Speaking before an audience that included notable movers and shakers of the L.A. theatrical world as well as journalists from far-flung regions of the country, Lahr declared:
“If it’s not in The New Yorker, it doesn’t exist in the culture.”
To be sure, Lahr has written about theatrical events in Los Angeles and elsewhere for The New Yorker; his is certainly the most broadly studied and thoughtful voice in American theater criticism today. But the implication of his assertion was nonetheless clear: The majority of important theater happens in New York; and you can tell it is important because it is the theater most often covered in The New Yorker.
Hack Attack: 13 book hacks for the library crowd - Lifehacker:
From your local library to the classroom to the bookstore, there are a lot of tools available to help you save time and money when it comes to the bound world of information. Today, in the interest of lifehacking your bookshelf, I'm rounding up my favorite 13 "book hacks" for getting the most from your bound literature.
aspecialthing.com :: View topic - Pixar + Patton = Ratatouille:
The fact that most of the chefs are ex-criminals with murky pasts. "If you can make a cake, you can make a bomb". Pixar had originally staffed the kitchen with all French characters but, after doing research in actual kitchens in France, found out that kitchen staffing is one of the last true meritocracies left in the world. Their ONLY criteria is whether or not people can cook. It's a skill that cuts across all divisions of race, religion, sex, creed, economics -- and criminality. Read Anthony Bourdain's first book about the drug-crazed, false passport-wielding lunatics he's worked with, and Colette's throwaway line about "pirates" will make a lot more sense.
The iPhone Inaugurates a Dangerous New Era for Apple Boss Steve Jobs -- New York Magazine:
“I think that Google is going to buy Apple,” this person says. “It would be a victory for Apple; they’d get major-league partners, money, and engineers. And it would be a victory for Steve—a huge win that lets him leave the stage.”
The speculation about Google has a ring of plausibility. Google CEO Eric Schmidt is now on the Apple board; engineers at the two companies are collaborating on Google Maps for the iPhone; and then there’s the YouTube deal for Apple TV. But is there any reason to think that in such a merger Jobs wouldn’t wind up as CEO—or, at least, chairman of the board?
No, there isn’t. If anything, it seems to me, Jobs’s vaulting ambition, his sense of omnipotence, have only been enhanced by his recent triumphs—and traumas. He has beaten back death, literally and metaphorically. He has returned to his first love, repaired the broken marriage, and made the bond more intimate than ever: Jobs and Apple are one, indivisible. Now, with Gates soon retiring from Microsoft, and with Grove and so many other Valley potentates of his generation having left the scene, Jobs stands alone atop the high-tech heap. This is the position he has longed for all his life. The likelihood of his surrendering it voluntarily is vanishingly close to nil.
Daisey is, of course, a powerful, hilarious, touching monologist. His face is an elastic ball of expressiveness. He has a great way of building each segment of his story to a climax. He makes us laugh. There's also something very gentle about him too. He never takes the obvious route with his stories or goes for the predictable laugh. His take on each of the four "geniuses" on the program - Tesla, Brecht, Barnum, and Hubbbard - made me wish I'd had him as a history teacher at high school.
Instead of making obvious links between the historical subject and the details of his own life, Daisey allows us to draw our own conclusions. This is subtle and sublime. And sometimes the non sequiturs are startling. At one point during his piece about Barnum (my personal favorite of the quartet) Daisey went from talking about a group of his wife's friends learning how to rotate the tassles on pasties on their breasts (depending on whether your arms are up above your head or down by your waist you can make the tassles rotate in different directions) to discussing Barnum's most famous employees.
Schneier on Security: Portrait of the Modern Terrorist as an Idiot:
The recently publicized terrorist plot to blow up John F. Kennedy International Airport, like so many of the terrorist plots over the past few years, is a study in alarmism and incompetence: on the part of the terrorists, our government and the press.
Terrorism is a real threat, and one that needs to be addressed by appropriate means. But allowing ourselves to be terrorized by wannabe terrorists and unrealistic plots -- and worse, allowing our essential freedoms to be lost by using them as an excuse -- is wrong.
Smoking Is Sublime - Books - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:
Why do people smoke?
"It gives me great joy," said an old friend, a writer who consumes a pack a day. Well—actually more like two. Two packs. He has been smoking since he was a teenager. "There are so few things that bring me joy. The rest of my life is spent in nostalgia for the past and paralyzing anxiety about the future. Smoking is the one time that I live in the present. I love smoking."
Actually, the first reason he gave me was: "Because I'm addicted." I have composed a eulogy for this friend in my head many times; he is almost 40 now, and I don't expect him to make it much past 50. He is one of the sharpest cultural observers I know, but he once admitted to me that the way he lives is a kind of slow suicide.
Smiling Maniacally: I am on the cusp...:
But that career counseling class was a brutal waste of time. She really did start getting into chakras and whatnot. And she kept blathering on about quantum theory. To the point, where I actually thought she meant "quantum theory" - and I kept hoping that she was going to say something useful and interesting about it and how it related to the field of career counseling and it would be something I could take to my scientific father and say oh father, you see that I am worthy and I now understand something that you've been talking about all these years but instead she kept going on and on about particles and people's life paths and journeys interwoven between time and space, but making ZERO sense and finally I was left with the realization you keep saying that word QUANTUM. I do not think it means what you think it means.
KQED Arts & Culture: KQED Independents: Cool as Hell Theatre:Mike Daisey wrestles with Great Men of Genius:
Michael Rice talks with Mike Daisey about the genius of 4 men: L. Ron Hubbard, Nikola Tesla, Bertold Brecht, and P.T. Barnum. Listen in as Mike discusses "genius" and the transformative powers of genius (whether good or bad), psychological engineering as well as artistry.
JON CARROLL: Friday, June 15, 2007:
I've been trying to come up with a way of describing a Mike Daisey show. Try this: The lights come up on a fat man sitting at a table. In front of him, neatly aligned, are six or seven pieces of yellow lined paper. To his right is a glass of water. He starts to talk.
So then this happens: Mike Daisey holds up a rope. He shows you how it is braided together. He begins to unravel the rope, showing you the separate strands, describing each strand in surprising ways. Halfway through the show, you think: He's going to end up with rope all over the floor. More strands, more talk. The strands weave back together. At the end of the show, like a magician, Daisey holds up the rope. It is rebraided. It looks exactly the same as it did, although we know a lot more about how it was made. Then Daisey stares out into the theater. Blackout.
It's the American rope trick.
Font smoothing, anti-aliasing, and sub-pixel rendering - Joel on Software:
Apple and Microsoft have always disagreed in how to display fonts on computer displays. Today, both companies are using sub-pixel rendering to coax sharper-looking fonts out of typical low resolution screens. Where they differ is in philosophy.
* Apple generally believes that the goal of the algorithm should be to preserve the design of the typeface as much as possible, even at the cost of a little bit of blurriness.
* Microsoft generally believes that the shape of each letter should be hammered into pixel boundaries to prevent blur and improve readability, even at the cost of not being true to the typeface.
A Month of Sundays - Features - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:
Everything about Christian Faith Center South is huge. It seats thousands, and the four JumboTrons above the stage simulcast services with the CFC North campus in Everett. This means that probably close to 10,000 people a week hear the gospel of preacher Casey Treat.
Treat's face is everywhere, from CFC's website to their television commercials. On one flier, he's sitting on a motorcycle, a giant American flag flying behind him. With his rickety rock-star charisma, Treat has a lot to say about a lot of things: He calls Paris Hilton "retarded," he mentions "the 9/11" frequently, but mostly he talks about money, a whole lot.
Treat preaches prosperity: God wants you to be rich. The CFC is raising cash to build the largest church in the Northwest, scheduled to open in less than three months. This Hummer of a church, with its coffee shop and valet parking and banners proclaiming "desire," "worship," and "attitude"(?!), is already a testament to all things smug and ugly about America.
I did a rather substantial interview yesterday with Against The Grain, a radio program on the progressive Pacifica station KPFA. You can listen to it here.
$45 Emergency Menu for 4 to 6:
I've seen various places around the web claim that in an emergency you can feed your family for only $10 or $20 a week. While I appreciate their intentions, I have noticed that they all assume you have certain supplies already on hand. In my experience this isn't always the case. Forty-five dollars will seem outrageously abundant to some, while it will seem miniscule to others. It is the smallest amount I was able to come up with that will provide enough supplies to an empty kitchen to feed an entire family for a week. The servings are ample and a few adjustments allow you to increase the quantities from 4 servings to 6. Newly added nutritional information makes it clear that except for sodium, these recipes are nutritious and healthy. They are low in fat and cholesterol, high in protein and rich in fiber.
Crime | New model police | Economist.com:
Yet Los Angeles's good fortune is not replicated everywhere. Compared to ten years ago, when crime was in remission across America, the current diagnosis is complex and worrying. Figures released this week by the FBI show that, while property crimes continue to fall, the number of violent crimes has begun to drift upwards. In some places it has soared. Oakland, in northern California, had 145 murders last year—more than half again as many as in 2005. No fewer than 406 people died in Philadelphia, putting the murder rate back where it had been in the bad old days of the early 1990s.
The most consistent and striking trend of the past few years is a benign one. America's three biggest cities are becoming safer. Robberies in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York have tumbled in the past few years, defying the national trend (see chart). Indeed, the big cities are now holding down increases in overall crime rates. Between 2000 and 2006, for example, the number of murders in America went up by 7%. Were it not for Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, all of which notched many fewer, the increase would have been 11%.
This photo is Scott Beale's, proprietor and operator of Laughing Squid--you can find him on the web here, and more photos over here.
The Old Model: TimesSelect Is A Failure - Gawker:
TimesSelect, the world's stupidest pay-for-content bar to a good user experience, has 222,300 paying members as of May, according to a report just released by the Times. This is, we think, if our math is right, a gain of 4300 TimesSelect paying subscribers since April! (That's income of a little over $200K.) This is such a good business model that it's impossible to describe how great it is, because it actually just sucks.
Berkeley Repertory Theatre Scores With ‘Great Men of Genius’:
Conceptually speaking, this is all pretty daring. As such, it’s easy to imagine Daisey as some crusty old man impersonating Jim Lehrer on Quaaludes. Happily, Daisey is, like his subject Barnum, a master showman, combining the storytelling acumen of David Sedaris and Lewis Black’s outraged humor. Each monologue would probably play well on radio, but Daisey visually engages people in such a unique way, through both pointed gestures and cheerful improvisation (Daisey delivers each monologue from a set of notes) that it would be a shame to lose the rapport he establishes with his audience.
The “Great Men of Genius” monologues follow a similar format, as Daisey recapitulates the history and heroics of each man, shoehorning in his own personal anecdotes along the way. The histories are singularly funny and enlightening, but Daisey is at his best (as who is not?) when he’s talking about himself. It’s rare that a performer can execute a perfect note of compassion—as when he relates the story of a young girl bankrupted by the Scientologist bureaucracy—while still being able to tell with sadistic glee the story of a lab partner who dared to pour liquid nitrogen down her throat (she lived).
And Then Jason Grote Turned Itself Inside Out:
While I am very pleased to see Salon covering theater, and agree to a great extent with much of what Peter Birkinhead has to say about its moribund state, much of his piece is flatly wrong. For one thing, it is not the American Theater Wing (the people who run the Tonys) who chose to run the awards show against the "Sopranos" finale, but the TV networks themselves. Mr. Birkinhead is certainly a good writer, but I do think that Salon could have found someone a bit more informed than a recently-retired "utility actor" living in Los Angeles. Yes, there is theater in L.A., and yes, one only has to watch a few minutes of the Tonys to see that "The Theater" (as in capital-T, institutional stuff) is long out of touch with what most people care about. But Mr. Birkinhead's proposed solution - basically a glorified form of privatization, in which theater "learns from TV," is precisely what got us into this mess to begin with. As a playwright living in New York who sees theater a few times a week, and sees theater in other American cities approximately once a month on average, I can say with some degree of authority that theater that looks like TV is in fact ubiquitous; but whereas a lousy episode of "Weeds" means falling asleep or changing the channel, a mediocre production of a Neil LaBute or Martin McDonagh play can mean an entire wasted evening and anywhere from $60-200 blown, not to mention the unique, squirming torture of having to sit politely through a live event that one is not remotely enjoying. This is not to say that TV is bad or that all theater (or just all avant-garde theater) is good, but that they are fundamentally different - theater is a live, public event, and TV is intended to be viewed in the home. The economics are fundamentally different - TV can be broadcast or distributed on-demand through DVRs and DVDs; theater can not possibly compete.
Slashdot | Microsoft's Acoustic Caller ID Patent:
"A new patent granted to Microsoft Tuesday for automatic identification of telephone callers based on voice characteristics covers constructing acoustic models for telephone callers by identifying words or subject matter commonly used by callers and capturing the acoustic properties of any utterance. Not only that, it's done 'without alerting the caller during the call that the caller is being identified,' boasts Microsoft in the patent claims."
AT&T To Police Internet For Copyright Infractions:
AT&T, one of the nation's largest ISPs and internet backbone providers, is now working with Hollywood and the recording industry to create a network-based solution to police copyright infringement, according to the Los Angeles Times.
It's not clear if AT&T is planning this content filtering technology only for its broadband and dial-up customers, or if it intends to screen all of the packets crossing its backbone network and delete the ones it considers to be copyright infringing. It's also unclear how AT&T is going to be able to tell the difference between fair use -- say someone streaming their home MP3 collection to their computer at work from someone downloading a song from an unauthorized MP3 blog.
One thing is pretty certain, AT&T is no stranger to deep packet inspection of innocent Americans' internet usage. It's got the architecture, now it just needs to write add copyright rules to its "terror" rules.
Mike Daisey wrestles with GREAT MEN OF GENIUS! – The Cool As Hell Theatre Podcast:
Mike Daisey brings his one man show, GREAT MEN OF GENIUS, to the Berkeley Rep Theatre. Mike riffs on the idea of genius, cults, psychological engineering and artistry.
ContraCostaTimes.com - Daisey spins his words into gold:
Just once, it'd be nice to see Mike Daisey and Garrison Keillor trade places, not so much to hear Keillor's nostalgically mellow take on Daisey's world, but to see Daisey rip the lid off Lake Wobegon and expose its wicked underbelly.
For, you see, Daisey is very much the dark doppelganger of Keillor's soul. He is a Keillor for the seriously perverse, which you can readily see in "Great Men of Genius," his new series of shows running at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. "Genius" is actually four shows -- Daisey-style biographical portraits of four men whose genius made the world a much more unusual place to live.
Deep Freeze 9: The Special Present Fallacy:
It’s human nature to put ourselves at the center of the world. Our own lived experience is much more vivid than what we can imagine others must be feeling. This provides constant, if subconscious, vindication that we have a privileged perspective.
There is a good evidence for perspective bias. Kruger and Dunning, for example, have shown that people tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. Researchers in behavioral economics have found many such effects, including the “endowment effect”: people value something they own more highly than the identical item owned by someone else. For example, Seattle Seahawks fans already own have tickets to the Superbowl might not sell them for less than, say, $800, whereas they wouldn’t pay more than $600 for someone else’s tickets.
Respectful Insolence: Ignorance, thy name has become Republican:
The majority of Republicans in the United States do not believe the theory of evolution is true and do not believe that humans evolved over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. This suggests that when three Republican presidential candidates at a May debate stated they did not believe in evolution, they were generally in sync with the bulk of the rank-and-file Republicans whose nomination they are seeking to obtain.
What we are doing with our time off:
Not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be - Special Onion Bonus Edition: Daniel Handler on summer in San Francisco:
His favorite summer pastime. It’s so weather-dependant. I feel like a real San Francisco summer is spent sitting around with blankets on friends’ couches watching old black-and-white movies while the wind howls outside. I have a certain San Francisco ethic, and many other San Franciscans I know have a San Francisco ethic, that pleasant weather is so antithetical to what this city stands for, that when it’s a beautiful day you should spend all of it in the darkest circumstances possible. One summer activity that we do pretty often is meet at Café Tosca and have a few rounds of cocktails, and then go across the street to City Lights Books and do some drunken book shopping, and then head down the hill to Kokkari and eat fried smelt at the bar. All of those are pretty dark.
Quantum entanglement - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Quantum entanglement is a quantum mechanical phenomenon in which the quantum states of two or more objects have to be described with reference to each other, even though the individual objects may be spatially separated. This leads to correlations between observable physical properties of the systems. For example, it is possible to prepare two particles in a single quantum state such that when one is observed to be spin-up, the other one will always be observed to be spin-down and vice versa, this despite the fact that it is impossible to predict, according to quantum mechanics, which set of measurements will be observed. As a result, measurements performed on one system seem to be instantaneously influencing other systems entangled with it.
Pentagon Confirms It Sought To Build A 'Gay Bomb':
A Berkeley watchdog organization that tracks military spending said it uncovered a strange U.S. military proposal to create a hormone bomb that could purportedly turn enemy soldiers into homosexuals and make them more interested in sex than fighting.
Pentagon officials on Friday confirmed to CBS 5 that military leaders had considered, and then subsquently rejected, building the so-called "Gay Bomb."
The Conical Glass: Geniuses in Berkeley:
I saw Daisey's "21 Dog Years" a while back, and found his performance style, with its wild gesticulations, to be a little too in-your-face, as overcaffeinated as a triple espresso. "Dog" tells the story of Daisey's employment at Amazon.com in the early days of the dotcom boom, a topic ripe for broad satire, but I thought it could have used more nuance. But Daisey is still young (34) and I was interested to find out how he had grown as an artist. The answer: a lot. If "Dog" sometimes felt like one of those heavy metal songs that bludgeons you over the head with its loud drums & guitars, "Great Men" is a symphony, complete with artful crescendoes and quiet passages that will have you on the edge of your seat, absorbing every word.
Is it too early to declare "Great Men of Genius" the theatrical event of the year? It's certainly one of the most ambitious, a grandiose idea that's paid off in a big way.
SFist: The Genius Of Mike Daisey:
This is one five-hour monologue, broken up into four segments, wherein the true genius of the piece, Mike Daisey, interweaves vignettes from his life with the excerpted life stories of those famous men. He paints for us not only pictures of who these men were, but also of himself, and, by association, how the productivity and madness of genius can be expressed in our own lives.
Throughout all four monologues, Daisey sits on a wooden chair, at a wooden table, with his notes on lined yellow paper, a glass of water, and a black kerchief for brow mopping. He's dressed all in black. Lighting changes are minimal. He is a cross between Louis Black and Andy Richter, or the love child of Spalding Gray and Micheal McShane. When he makes certain points, his chin pushes up into his stout face and he looks not unlike a very sweet bulldog.
The opportunity to juxtapose not only Daisey's life with the geniuses, but also to view the geniuses in relation to each other, creates even more dimension. Each man's efforts or lack of efforts at interacting with the public or publicizing their works, each man's conflicts with the American government, even each man's cultivation of a coterie of humans (or animals), all of these stories grow larger in their similarities to each other. The ultimate result is a vivid and detailed portrait of the nature of megalomania and success.
On Abortion, Hollywood Is No-Choice - New York Times:
IN the hit indie movie “Waitress,” the lead character, Jenna, finds out she’s pregnant at a time when she’s plotting to run away from her abusive husband. In last week’s No. 2 film, “Knocked Up,” Alison becomes pregnant after a one-night stand with Ben, an ungainly suitor.
In some ways, both movies mirror reality. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy says unwanted pregnancies have actually increased among some adult women, even as they have decreased among teenage girls. More than half of all unwanted pregnancies occur to women in their 20s.
But in another way, both movies go out of their way to sidestep real life. Nearly two-thirds of unwanted pregnancies end in abortion, data from federal surveys shows. Yet Jenna in “Waitress” is more likely to ponder selling the baby than to consider having the procedure. And Alison, who has just been promoted to her dream job as an on-camera television personality and asked to lose 20 pounds, is torn over whether to keep the man, not the baby.
The possibility of not having the baby is never discussed by either woman despite her circumstances. The word “abortion” is never uttered.
San Jose Mercury News - Six hours with `Great Men' and a subversive:
"Great Men" is big-time brain candy that takes a while to digest. It's a colossally gutsy project that takes the whole medium-is-the-message thing seriously as Daisey slaps the convention of the short and tight solo genre upside the head.
He seeks to work on the same ultra-ambitious scale as the great men he chronicles in these birth-to-death sagas. Rest assured, he also has a gift for zapping the zeitgeist, and he knows all too well that ADD is the spirit of our age. So seeing these shows as stand-alone solos would be cheating yourself of one of the cheekiest theatrical adventures in recent memory.
The extreme-theater marathon shapes the course of a day in your own life. In our techno-centric time, there also is something brilliantly subversive about watching a guy sit at a desk with a glass of water for six hours (albeit with a break between the first two pieces, which conclude around 5, and the last two which start at 7).
Daring Fireball: WWDC 2007 Keynote News:
Telling developers that web apps are iPhone apps just doesn’t fly. Think about it this way: If web apps – which are only accessible over a network; which don’t get app icons in the iPhone home screen; which don’t have any local data storage – are such a great way to write software for iPhone, then why isn’t Apple using this technique for any of their own iPhone apps?
Or, take Apple’s argument regarding iPhone development and apply it to the Mac. If web apps running in Safari are a great way to write iPhone apps, why aren’t web apps running in Safari a great way to write Mac apps?
If all you have to offer is a shit sandwich, just say it. Don’t tell us how lucky we are and that it’s going to taste delicious.
San Jose Mercury News - A novel approach to monologue:
Mike Daisey likes to think out loud. Literally. As anyone knows after catching one of his shows, from the spit-up funny dot-bomb ode "21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com" to the laceratingly dark "The Ugly American," this monologuist pretty much makes it up as he goes along.
A snarky-meets-dorky Gen-X version of Spalding Gray, Daisey spits out mostly extemporaneous high-voltage rants on life, the universe and anything else that strikes his fancy. In an age when so much entertainment is canned, he sits on stage at a table with a glass of water and sees where the story takes him. A master of digression, he excels in off-the-cuff asides that tickle the brain as well as the funny bone.
Slick with wit and sweat, working from notes but constantly taking the pulse of the house, he's a big guy with an even bigger artistic aesthetic: to live and die in the moment. His high-wire performance style drives "Great Men of Genius," now at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
Re: This Morning's NYT Headline | Slog:
As we linked in this morning’s news round-up, the NYT has a front-page story on the Bush administration’s latest strategy in Iraq: Arming and working with the more moderate Sunnis (as in militarized, but not Islamist radicals) to put down al Qaeda.
The NYT article, mostly the splashy headline, puts the emphasis on the fact that this branch of Sunnis was allied with Qaeda, but they fail to make hay out of the bigger, and more damning irony: This is Saddam Hussein’s base. In other words, this is the same faction that was keeping al Qaeda away when Saddam Hussein was in power. (They only linked with the Islamists briefly in wake of U.S. occupation.)
Well. That happened.
I'm going to break with tradition and provide a bit of a review of what happened last night, as I've been receiving emails, texts and calls from many folks, gently asking how it all went down. It's not every day that you perform a five hour monologue for the first time in your career.
The short answer is that it went great—I feel like a grand experiment and gamble has yielded fruit. If you could have caught me Friday, when my energy was starting to flag, you'd never expect we would get to where we did. Brecht and Barnum tightened and clarified significantly in performance yesterday, clocking in at svelte 75 minute lengths that felt full and rich. I had a little difficulty maintaining energy through the dinner break, though that improved once I got onstage for Tesla--I ran that one a little hot, and the extra laughter drove it a little longer than it should be, but nothing disastrous. Hubbard, the dark heart and endnote of the evening is the most extreme of the pieces and felt prepared for—it felt complete.
The four do speak to one another differently when they are on the same day, though it is hard to say now what all the ramifications and connections are. The important and vital thing that moved me was feeling and experiencing that the stories lived and breathed with each other, hung in space next to one another and made something larger than each component piece--it is what we had hoped and worked toward for the last few weeks, and it was a real bright moment in my career as an artist to experience it realized on stage.
Now I am taking two days off from performing—my voice is fine, but I am sore all over my body and I could use a little break.
Opening day. It's early on the West Coast, but I'll be heading to the theater shortly to do all four parts of GREAT MEN OF GENIUS. I'd like to take a moment to thank Tony, Susie and Les at Berkeley Rep for the opportunity to do this crazy piece--it's not every day that the folks in charge trust and love you enough to give you such an enormous canvas to succeed or fail on, and working here over the last few years has been a great blessing.
I'd also like to thank the tech crew, who have been stellar--I know damn well I'm not going to find the time to buy a card today, so I'll have to settle for buying you drinks, which I think you'd appreciate more anyway. You're dedicated artists of the theater, and your devotion to making this undertaking happen has been humbling and moving.
Now I pack up and head to the space--I have four shows to lock down before the first people come in through the doors. I'll see you all on the other side.
SHEILA CALLAGHAN - blog:
Maybe it was losing my mind in Kansas, but I am ablaze. My heart is racing twenty times its normal speed. Something's got me hot, folks. After a relative writing drought, I am CRACKLING. I haven't felt this way since I tore out of grad school and feasted on everything in sight, my baby-jaws full of blood and gore.
And I have SO MUCH WORK TO DO! But for once I don't feel crippled. I feel zingy. Come over for dinner tonight, I'm grilling the OED in my backyard.
I don't have a backyard. I have my downstairs neighbor's roof covered in astroturf. I have some flowers and herbs out there. I pretend it's a lawn and walk barefoot in the plastic grass blades. But it's okay, because my head is on fire and that makes everything better.
I am a struck matchstick!
There it is. Second wind.
One more to go--Hubbard is tonight. Then I just need to put them all together. Where's my coffee?
Christopher Bonanos: Has America Whacked the Tonys? - Entertainment on The Huffington Post:
And I still cringe when I see some of the dusty old properties that are pulled out of the trunk. This year, the Roundabout Theater Company dug up a pair of shows fondly remembered by many Broadway theatergoers. The Apple Tree premiered in 1966; 110 in the Shade, in 1963. Both are pretty rusty entertainment machines. This time around, they starred singer-actors with huge voices and outsize stage personalities -- Kristin Chenoweth and Audra McDonald, respectively, both of whom are staggeringly talented, and both shows are nominated for Best Musical Revival. But they're not living parts of the arts landscape, like some revivals; they are charming museum exhibits, impeccably conserved and displayed. The majority of my smart cultured friends -- people with both the brains to appreciate theater and the income to go regularly -- are not just disinterested but actively repelled by a lot of what's up on the boards. "I sit there, and even if it's pretty good, after an hour I just want to start screaming," one of my colleagues said to me recently, explaining why he hates Broadway theater. (This from a man who works on culture coverage every week.)
I am halfway through previews, and it is getting really hard. Two nights ago was Brecht, last night was Barnum, and today it's Tesla--and while I have done my homework, there is so much to do to summon up the stories and keep them in the front of mind. There's so much material that JM and I are on a strictly regimented schedule--we do notes every night for the show that just happened, and I implement the notes immediately, because then I have to set that monologue down and pick up the next one. It's really a kind of madness--it is so complicated, switching and re-switching, that I am shocked to some degree that it is working. It is getting steadily harder to stay ahead of the curve, and since the work is not memorized I have to remain extremely mindful of my energy, as we have to make the whole escapade happen in real time in front of the audience.
On Sunday the whole thing happens united together, the culmination of all this work--and the official opening for GREAT MEN OF GENIUS here. Provided I survive Sunday, I should have more observations on the entire process.
For everyone in my life wondering where I am: this is where I am. I apologize for all the late emails and phone calls, and I will try to catch up with all of you early next week.
My Way News - Screaming Paris Hilton Sent Back to Jail:
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Paris Hilton was sent screaming and crying back to jail Friday after a judge ruled that she must serve out her sentence behind bars rather than in the comfort of her Hollywood Hills home.
"It's not right!" shouted Hilton, who violated her probation in a reckless driving case. "Mom!" she cried out to her mother.
Engaget reports that “the head honcho of Macmillan Publishers” lifted a couple Google laptops at a recent BookExpo America, and then when he returned them, retorted “hope you enjoyed a taste of your own medicine,” and “there wasn’t a sign by the computers informing him not to steal them.”
So this betrays an astonishing level of ignorance, even for a “head honcho.”
Slashdot | MIT Wirelessly Powers a Lightbulb:
"According to the Boston Globe, MIT Researchers have powered a light bulb remotely. The successful experiment to lit a 60-watt light bulb from a power source two meters away, with no physical connection between the power source and the light bulb. Details about WiTricity, or wireless electricity, are scheduled to be reported today in Science Express, the advance online publication of the journal Science, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said. 'The team from MIT is not the first group to suggest wireless energy transfer. Nineteenth-century physicist and engineer Nikola Tesla experimented with long-range wireless energy transfer, but his most ambitious attempt - the 29m high aerial known as Wardenclyffe Tower, in New York - failed when he ran out of money. Others have worked on highly directional mechanisms of energy transfer such as lasers. However, unlike the MIT work, these require an uninterrupted line of sight, and are therefore not good for powering objects around the home.'"
The purpose of art is to delight us; certain men and women (no smarter than you or I) whose art can delight us have been given dispensation from going out and fetching water and carrying wood. It's no more elaborate than that.
Inside Bay Area - Daisey is one man conquering 'Great Men of Genius':
Daisey is on his way back to Berkeley Rep with a new monologue — actually four new monologues — called "Great Men of Genius." Each show is devoted to a historical figure Daisey considers great: Nikola Tesla (a scientist who worked with electricity), P.T. Barnum (the circus showman), Bertolt Brecht (the German playwright and poet) and L. Ron Hubbard (the sci-fi writer who created the Church of Scientology).
"I've known I wanted to talk about these guys for a really long time," he says. "The synaptic jump was when I realized I should do all four of them together."
Each show is about 90 minutes, and Berkeley Rep convinced Daisey that on Sundays during his run, he should do all four in a marathon — something Daisey has never attempted to do.
"Most shows have an eight-show week, so this means I'll do four shows between Wednesday and Saturday and then have half of my week all in one day on Sunday," Daisey says. "I'll really have to keep my energy and stamina up."
In putting the four shows together, Daisey realized he was creating one big show about the nature of genius. What kind of environment creates genius?
"Is genius a product of social order where we declare genius, or is it a force reaching beyond the human to do things we didn't think possible?" Daisey asks.
greg.org: the making of: Diamonds Are Forever! TODAY ONLY!:
First things first: if someone DOES buy Damien Hirst's diamond-and-platinum skull, it won't be for $100 million. Any shlub billionaire walking in off the street would get 10% off, and any actual collector would get 20%. So if someone's been around the art block already, that's where he'll start talking.
Second, by floating a $20 million cost figure, Hirst is taking a page--and a number, even--from Christo's playbook that likely has more to do with setting a context for potential buyers than with the actual outlay.
Damien Hirst - Art - Death - Diamonds - New York Times:
It’s particularly fitting that the title of Damien Hirst’s new headline-grabbing work came from an exasperated exclamation of his mother’s: “For the love of God, what are you going to do next?”
The answer, pictured here, is a life-size platinum skull set with 8,601 high-quality diamonds. If, as expected, it sells for around $100 million this month, it will become the single most expensive piece of contemporary art ever created. Or the most outrageous piece of bling.
Forgetting May Be Part of the Process of Remembering - New York Times:
Blocking out a distracting memory is something like ignoring an old (and perhaps distracting) acquaintance, experts say: it makes it that much harder to reconnect the next time around. But recent studies suggest that the brain plays favorites with memories in exactly this way, snubbing some to better capture others. A lightning memory, in short, is not so much a matter of capacity as it is of ruthless pruning — and the new study catches the trace of this process at it happens.
Icy Island Warms to Climate Change - washingtonpost.com:
In few parts of the world is climate change more real -- and personal -- than here. The Arctic is feeling the globe's fastest warming. At a science station in the ice-covered interior of Greenland, average winter temperatures rose nearly 11 degrees Fahrenheit from 1991 to 2003. Winters are shorter, ice is melting, and fish and animals are on the move.
A rapid meltdown and fast-sliding glaciers in Greenland could raise sea levels around the world and flood coastal cities and farmland. The infusion of cold water could jolt the Gulf Stream, alter weather throughout the Northern Hemisphere and scatter fish and marine stocks.
Yet this sweeping reworking of humanity's global accommodations will likely be fickle. While Greenland has many people who fear what warming will bring, it has quite a few others who reckon they may do quite well by it.
ContraCostaTimes.com - Looks like it's a BFD week:
From manic monologists to punk music warhorses to barefoot divas, we've got it all. It's one of those weekends where the hardest part of making this list is deciding which items to leave off (like Diana Krall at Yoshi's, whose shows are all sold out anyway).
1. Mike Daisey -- This very funny monologist has been seen before at Berkeley Rep, working himself into a lather over lessons learned from his past. Now he's back with a series of decidedly less autobiographical shows, focusing on "Great Men of Genius," i.e., P.T. Barnum, Bertolt Brecht, Nikola Tesla and L. Ron Hubbard. This guy could talk about paste and I'd pay to watch it.
"The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth."
Gothamist: MTA Subway and Bus Fare Hike in 2010?:
If the report released yesterday by the city's Independent Budget Office is true, it could get a lot more expensive to ride the MTA subways and buses in the future. The IBO believes that the MTA has to increase its revenues by 20% by 2010. That means subway and bus fares could go up at least 20% by 2010, making a single ride $2.40. The worst case scenario - where rates for other revenue sources are not increased - has subway and bus fares jumping to almost $3. The price of a monthly metrocard would would jump from $76 to $112. A weekly card would go from $24 to $36. The last increase in fares was in 2004.
Why the drastic increase in subway and bus fares? Years of borrowing money for improvements in the system has resulted in mounting debts. The agency faces projected deficits of $800 million in 2008, $1.4 billion in 2009, and $1.8 billion in 2010. For 2007, there is a projected surplus of $270 million. In previous years, the MTA has often projected a deficit (though you can never trust them), only to have a surplus at the end of the year because of real estate tax revenue that was more than projected. This may change in the coming years, according to the IBO's report.
Horizon - Theater - Review - New York Times:
The furnishings of that mind will look familiar to anyone with a glancing knowledge of Christian philosophy in the 20th century. “Horizon,” directed by David Schweizer, is Mr. Eckert’s homage in song, sketch and rumination to Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), generally acknowledged as the most influential American theologian of his time.
Not that Reinhart Poole, the character portrayed by Mr. Eckert, is a biographical facsimile of Niebuhr, whose writings on the practical applications of Christianity to political conduct have been appropriated in recent years by both neoconservatives and liberals, including Barack Obama.
Mr. Eckert is less concerned with presenting the worldly details of his character’s life than with distilling the intellectual essence behind it.
Howard Barker's theatre company defunded in the UK's fervor for the Olympics:
Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog - theatre: The Olympics killed my theatre company
My theatre company, the Wrestling School, was to have celebrated its 20th anniversary as an independent group next year. In 1988 its first production, The Last Supper, marked the beginning of a new method of performing my texts, often perceived as difficult and unconventional. In the subsequent years, with what developed into a casual ensemble of actors, designers and musicians united in a commitment to this form of theatre, a style was developed and refined over a range of plays that subsequently entered the international repertoire.
The process of alteration in the method necessarily followed profound changes in the texts, and the process, I feel, was neither tired nor redundant. When we applied for an Arts Council grant this year, it was to mark a further drastic switch in form, this time to a swift and nearly wordless series of 40 texts played in two hours. Yet at the end of last week The Wrestling School was destroyed by the Arts Council's decision - for reasons entirely without artistic value - not to award the grant, following the massive cut in its allocation to service the crisis of the Olympic Games. The squeeze on arts funding is presumably the reason behind the Arts Council's removal of support for artist development, which has been the grounds for our funding over the last 20 years.
This execution of a thriving and innovative company was judged to be legitimate by the officers of the Arts Council. That their operating criteria for providing funds are now entirely unrelated to artistic excellence is still not widely understood in the theatre world. Sociological, therapeutic, essentially political objectives entirely dominate the decision-making process. The Wrestling School has only its reputation, its creative will, and its achievement to recommend it in this withering climate.
Competing as Software Goes to Web - New York Times:
One software developer who has worked at both companies — and asked not to be identified because he still consults for Microsoft — compared the two men’s approaches to the difference between martial marching band music and jazz.
Mr. Sinofsky’s approach, he said, is meticulously planned out from the beginning, with a tight focus on meeting deadlines — a crucial objective after the delay-plagued Vista project — but with little room for flexibility. In contrast, the atmosphere inside Apple’s software engineering ranks has been much more improvisational.
I don't often go off on a tear against a critic, especially one I'm fond of, but this piece by Alexis Soloski about the Solonova Arts Festival contains the following paragraph:
However, with the notable exception of Sarah Jones, the '00s have produced few new talents. Perhaps that owes to the continued careers of many of the artists mentioned above—even in a town with as many stages as New York, theaters only want to give so many slots to one-person shows. A rosy reading might suggest we've made sufficient social progress that the marginalized have other forms of expression—popular music, the Internet. A more jaded interpretation: Despite the title of the current Spalding Gray tribute, we've run out of one-person stories left to tell.
Let me break this down in a few parts:
First: Few new talents? Didn't Alexis' own Obie committee just shower praise on Nilaja Sun two weeks ago? The same ceremony lauded Tim Crouch, who I'd argue has become known in NYC since 2000, and counts as a solo performer in my generous book. I really could go on, but it seems to me the same number of solo artists rise above the general din as they do every decade, which is not that many. That's mainly as it should be: it is hard to get attention for one's work, and often unfair, and it has always been that way. It's a crucible that tries our souls and work.
What pisses me off is the demeaning head-patting given to the solo form, here and elsewhere--few would make such a sweeping dismissal of another theatrical form, like the straight play. What Alexis experienced was 3 shitty solo shows, followed by one not-quite-as-shitty solo show. I believe in the old adage that 90% of everything is crap, and that's certainly true in solo performance--as it is in theatre, dance, painting and every other art form that I've learned enough about to know anything. There's nothing unique or interesting about bad art--it's tremendously democratic, and happens everywhere.
I'm sensitive because I'm biased--I'm a monologuist, so it rankles me when my form gets tossed on a scrap heap. It dismisses work before it's even heard, but I'm no fainting lilly--I work against this bias every day, and that's all one can do. That doesn't make it right, however--if we dismissed forms based on the negative examples, I believe traditionally theatre would have been cancelled long ago, at least based on what I've seen. Shakespeare? Sucks. Downtown? Pffffft--I've seen at least four that sucked ass. Chuck it in the trash.
Luckily, of course, it doesn't work that way--it's the great works that ennoble us, and make slogging through all the mediocrity and bullshit worthwhile. It's the only reason we do any work, to look for greatness, and when we find that work it illuminates us, and fills us until we are larger than ourselves.
Were the Solonova Festival shows bad? I wouldn't know, but I will say that the review from Alexis is not promising. And if I wasn't a solo performer, and I'd sat through four of those shows as they're described, I might be ready to dismiss the form, too. But that doesn't make it right.
It's probably the last sentence that pushed me into writing, the snarky reference to the Spalding Gray show, used to make the point that perhaps we've run out of one-person stories left to tell. This is such a ludicrous sentiment that it goaded me into this entire post. Every human life is filled with stories, and in my work I hear fantastic stories from people every night--they tell them to me after performances, and the idea that the problem is that we have no stories left to tell is so profoundly wrong that it's almost dangerous. It's the kind of thinking that rejects the magic of human experience--how could we ever not need a single person speaking to an audience about their own experience, the most elemental form of storytelling, the most profoundly pluralist theatrical form because every single human being can tell a story.
I'm being a little ranty and rhetorical; I apologize. It's clear from Alexis' opening graphs that she isn't a dyed-in-the-wool solo show despiser, or anything silly like that, but I simply couldn't let that one paragraph pass without comment.
You can send her a card:
Paris Hilton #9818783
Century Regional Detention Facility
11705 S. Alameda Street
Lynwood, CA 90262
The following items are not allowed to be received through the mail:
-Food or cosmetic items
-Stationery, blank envelopes, envelopes with metal clasps, postage stamps, envelops with gang or suggestive drawings/art work
-Cash, personal or second party checks, traveler’s checks, payroll checks
-A single money order exceeding the $200 limit
-Blank money orders (money orders must be signed and made payable to the inmate)
-Non U.S. Post Office out-of-state money orders (out-of-state money orders must be from the U.S. Post Office)
-Musical, plastic, plastic covered, blank, greeting or post cards larger than 6”x9”
-Identification card or facsimiles
-Paper clips, staples, pens, pencils, glitter, stickers, glued or gummed labels
-Rosary beads, balloons, string bracelets, or other jewelry items
-Lottery tickets or prepaid telephone cards
-Cellophane tape or any type of tape on letters
Wonderful shout-out from Scott Beale over at Laughing Squid--I'm hoping to get the folks from there in to see GREAT MEN OF GENIUS in the weeks to come.
Dear 'Glamour' Blogger Alyssa Shelasky: You Could Stand To Learn A Thing Or Two About The 'Edgy' English Language... - Jezebel:
But enough. Let's get to the heart of the Shelasky blog/life/blog/life crisis. I have now read three months' worth of your blog posts. Here is what have I learned. You are 29. You live in New York. The HBO character with whom you most identify is Brenda from Six Feet Under. You used to work for US Weekly. Your social capital allows you to have dinner at the Waverly Inn and spend summers in the Hamptons even though you don't have any steady sources of income save your blog (and maybe your parents). You do an hour of "hard cardio" every day. You once allowed yourself to be faux-tattooed by fifteen Swedish rappers called "Speech Defect" (Mr. Wolfian sends big ups to Mr Linus, Boogie B, Thage and Prao-D). You love New York, except when you're in L.A, because L.A. "feels so authentically me"; you are casual-sex-positive, and have dated a million guys on both coasts, but lately you are "obsessed with eloping, and although you think your bicoastal "gypsy" life is "cool" -- your therapist called it "unsettled" -- you do wonder sometimes, just like you wonder about your skanky ex-boyfriend "Edgy English Teacher," whom you abbreviate as EET, and your difficult breakup with "Greek Dentist," the great love of your life, whom you abbreviate, confusingly, as GD, which I misread the first time as the Jewish abbreviation for G*D, and which misreading really fucked me up ("GD bought me those /tearful/ Manolos!"). Most poignantly, Alyssa, you seem to realize that many of the things your friends think are important are actually -- well, you put it best:
Just got back from B's "Change for Kids" event at Room Service, this new "hot spot" (and I use that term loosely) in the Flatiron district. It was like this "/make a donation, make your mother proud, have a million free martinis and save the children"/ thing. Great cause, girls in pearls, endless smalltalk, you know the drill.
And yet, Alyssa, despite all of these conflicts, fears, insecurities, exotic locales, and penises, your blog is a fucking bore.
The Morning News | Slog | The Stranger's Blog | The Stranger | Seattle's Only Newspaper:
John Ratzenberger (Cliff, from Cheers) was in Empire Strikes Back. He’s the guy who closes Echo Base’s shield doors, trapping Han and Luke out in the frozen wastes of Hoth. Asshole.
A Question of Genius: Monologist Mike Daisey gives a first-hand account of the creation of his newest work, Great Men of Genius. Feature on TheaterMania.com:
This is a monster, and though I have been working in this form for a decade, this is like tackling four monologues at once. If pacing and endurance isn't reckoned with, both mine and the audience's, the whole endeavor can fall to pieces.
I'm doing this because I want to stretch the boundaries of the solo form, to reach beyond where the lines are traditionally drawn. I want to make monologues that challenge assumptions about what solo performance is capable of and break the bottle open. I'm doing it because it is grandiose and extravagant, like the men whose megalomania and insanity I'm exploring night after night. I'm doing it because, in that ineffable moment when I conceived this show, I knew it had to be this way. I had to follow this shape and let it grow like a mad flower.
San Francisco Spotlight: June 2007: Pure Genius City Spotlight on TheaterMania.com:
If anyone out there thought the Bay Area theater scene might be laying low for the summer, think again. June is chockfull of productions that will easily convince folks to leave their lounge chairs for theater seats.
Writer and performer Mike Daisey lights up the stage of the Berkeley Repertory Theatre with Great Men of Genius (June 6-July 1). On consecutive nights, Daisey resurrects the legendary lives of showman and circus performer, P.T. Barnum, controversial playwright, Bertolt Brecht, scientologist L. Ron Hubbard, and brilliant-turned-mad scientist Nikola Tesla. For those who want to see all four shows in one day, there are some special performances available.
Algorithm for Perfect Pho | yumsugar - Food, Drink, & Entertaining.:
One of my favorite places for pho is Pho Y #1 in San Jose. The pho there is pretty great and the entire place smells amazingly of basil. However my favorite part of the experience is the menu. On the back of the menu there is an algorithm of pho service. I snagged a picture last time I was there, click on the picture for a larger view, and if you're having a hard time reading it, here's what it says:
Algorithm Of Pho Service: The Health-Concious Choice!
New Dramas, New Voices, Below 14th Street - New York Times:
One factor encouraging new plays has been the founding of 13P, a collective of theater artists dedicated to the idea summed up by its defiant slogan: “We don’t develop plays (we do them).” Members of this troupe, founded in 2004 as a reaction to the prevailing system of nonstop workshops, include Ms. Washburn (an early version of her “Internationalist” was 13P’s inaugural production in 2004), Ms. Lee, Ms. Callaghan and Sarah Ruhl. Of this group Ms. Ruhl has received the most uptown success with “The Clean House” at Lincoln Center. (Her “Eurydice” is in previews at Second Stage.)
The question now is: What will happen to these playwrights? Will they continue to refine their art or decamp for more lucrative pursuits? The real crisis in American theater is not that there aren’t any new writers. It’s that they so frequently fade away, heading to the big or small screen. And without the support of the commercial theater, that trend will probably continue.
Ms. Washburn, Mr. Bock and Ms. Schwartz so drastically depart from naturalism that they seem more suited to the stage. Here’s hoping they keep at it. For while none of their works last season could be called the great American play, the dramas are good enough to suggest that they have the potential to write it someday.
Boing Boing: NYT on BB on Google Street View:
The question is, where do we draw the line between public and private? Obviously, the picture of Monty isn’t very good, but who’s to say whether tomorrow, Google’s camera’s won’t be a lot better, giving clearer pictures and more detail? I’ve already seen one post online where the poster’s only complaint about Google pics is that the pictures aren’t sharp enough. (He wasn’t commenting on my pic, but on a picture of his own home.)
The opposing argument claims that what’s visible from the street is public. By opening my windows for some much-needed light and air, am I granting permission for my living room to be broadcast worldwide? I don’t think I am. I think if I open my windows, my neighbors and passers by might see the cat in the window. That’s substantially different to me than realizing that everyone in the world can potentially see into my home.
It’s my feeling that we should know what kind of monitoring we’re subject to and when. Stores, airports, intersections, museums —there are security cameras everywhere. We’ve all seen overhead satellite photos for mapping purposes, but when does helpful mapping recon morph into home surveillance? When does it move from a grainy picture of the cat to a high-res image where you can see small details in my apartment? When do I have to choose between sunlight and unseen threats to privacy? It’s one thing to be monitored on the public streets of London. I think it’s another to wonder if, right now, someone or something is taking my picture through my living room window. Maybe that is paranoid, but it’s hardly delusional. After all, it’s already happened.
A Conversation with Charlie (Age 6) About The Lord:
(he discovers a little plastic noisemaker toy where two hands smack together, printed on one hand is "Clap Your Hands for the Lord!")
HIM: Dad, what is the Lord?
ME: God. They're talking about God.
HIM: Clap your hands for the Lord. Is it Lord Voldemort?
ME: No, it's God. Why would they make something encouraging you to clap for Lord Voldemort?
HIM: Maybe it's an evil toy.
ME: It's not an evil toy.
HIM: Is it a Sith Lord? Clap your hands for Emperor Palpatine?
ME: No! It's just God. Not everything is Star Wars or Harry Potter. It's just God.
HIM: Okay. (long pause) Maybe it's an evil god.