Investor Schloss Takes Final Broadway Bow as `Gardens' Flops :
July 31 (Bloomberg) -- The critically acclaimed Broadway musical ``Grey Gardens'' played its 307th and final performance on Sunday afternoon. Money manager Edwin Schloss says his 33- year sideline investing in commercial theater closed with the show.
``I felt wounded by the experience,'' the balding 57-year- old said over lunch last week, about co-producing the $5 million commercial failure. ``If a serious musical like `Grey Gardens' can't make it, I feel producing quality is an exercise in masochism.''
After a Broadway season in which just five out of more than two dozen commercial productions recouped the cost of producing them, perhaps it's inevitable that some investors would abandon the enterprise. Schloss said that after three losers in a row, two of them critical successes, he's through with producing.
He compared attending the closing matinee of ``Grey Gardens'' -- an original and tuneful show about eccentric relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy -- to spending time with a cherished pet just before it's euthanized.
Amid struggles, arts center chief got $1.2m bonus - The Boston Globe:
Not long before the Citi Performing Arts Center decided to make drastic cuts to its popular summer production of Shakespeare on the Boston Common, its board agreed to pay president and CEO Josiah Spaulding Jr., a $1.265 million bonus.
That payment came on top of Spaulding's annual compensation of $409,000, plus $23,135 in benefits. Spaulding's salary alone already makes him one of the highest-paid leaders of a performing arts center in the country.
Godzilla Vs. Bambi:
One day at work--and I'm unclear what sort of terrible events led up to this--Mike decided to issue a challenge to Mick. Mike declared that he could out-drink Mick. I think we were on lunch break. Anyway, I do remember this odd combination of feelings rushing through me when he said that; it was some strange mixture of electrification and utter dread. Mick squinted at Mike.
"Are you fucking stupid?" asked Mick. Before a reply could be made, Mick continued: "No, I know you're fucking stupid. E for fucking invoice." (This by now had become warehouse legend, which are of course the finest legends to be found anywhere.) "Are you serious? I'll fucking kill you."
Mike stood his ground. "I can take you, man! I can drink a fucking lot."
The rest of us just sort of looked at each other. Mick was a guy who, when a doctor told him that he was a little worried about Mick's slight liver enlargement, said, "Look at my fucking name, man. My name is Mick." Then he demanded to know where the closest bar was.
My favorite from a great selection--congrats again, Dave and Sam.
Mom at the enlarger, 1949
I purchased this inexpensive Federal 6.3 diffusion enlarger along with a developing tank, thermometer, contact printer, safelight, timer, easel, basic chemicals, trays, and tongs. From the beginning I was most excited about being able to crop and compose my images with the enlarger. The contact printer gathered dust while I fed roll after roll directly through the Federal, making 4x5 enlargements instead of contact prints.
An eye can detect in the darkroom an out-of-focus photo or a subject who has blinked at the moment of exposure or other fatal flaws that make a negative a candidate for the trash bin before ever being printed, wasting paper, chemicals and time.
I was frugal, and the enlarger enabled me. Thriftiness actually made me a better photographer! Not wanting to waste led to careful composition, focus, and exposure. Actually, I took few photos. A roll of 12 exposures yielded 10 keepers or more. I would go on an entire afternoon shoot with one roll of film.
Boing Boing: TSA chief promises an eternity of unshoeing:
BS: You don't have a responsibility to screen shoes; you have one to protect air travel from terrorism to the best of your ability. You're picking and choosing. We know the Chechnyan terrorists who downed two Russian planes in 2004 got through security partly because different people carried the explosive and the detonator. Why doesn't this count as a continued, active attack method?
I don't want to even think about how much C4 I can strap to my legs and walk through your magnetometers. Or search the Internet for "BeerBelly." It's a device you can strap to your chest to smuggle beer into stadiums, but you can also use it smuggle 40 ounces of dangerous liquid explosive onto planes. The magnetometer won't detect it. Your secondary screening wandings won't detect it. Why aren't you making us all take our shirts off? Will you have to find a printout of the webpage in some terrorist safe house? Or will someone actually have to try it? If that doesn't bother you, search the Internet for "cell phone gun."
It's "cover your ass" security. If someone tries to blow up a plane with a shoe or a liquid, you'll take a lot of blame for not catching it. But if someone uses any of these other, equally known, attack methods, you'll be blamed less because they're less public.
As for "staying alive," there is no act as pitiable and tragic as the attempt to assert one's life (manifested in eros) against the actual experience of one's desperate numbness unto death (thanatos). Such is the image of pathos that the violent debasement of John Duncan's loathing in BLIND DATE (1980) recalls. In May, Duncan purchased a female corpse in Tijuana for the purpose of sex, and taped his sex act with it. After this experience of "indescribable intense self-disgust," he returned to have a vasectomy in order, he later wrote, "to make sure that the last potent seed I had was spent in a cadaver." Photographs he had taken of this operation anticipate Orlan's equally pathetic and self-destructive cosmetic surgery in the 1990s. Duncan had to wait six weeks for the vasectomy, the waiting period required then in California , and after the operation he scheduled a performance of BLIND DATE before a public to whom he recounted the experience, saying that he "wanted to show what can happen to men that are trained to ignore their emotions." Linda Burnham, editor of High Performance magazine (1976-1997), refused to publish an account of BLIND DATE because she found it "highly morally objectionable" and preferred to be "guilty of censorship" rather than to be "responsible for putting that material in front of any one, especially my kids." When she imagined that the incident was a "rape" from a body whose "spirit" my not have yet "gone from her body," Duncan responded that it was like "having sex with meat."
Tom Snyder, TV Talk Host, Dies at 71 - New York Times:
Mr. Snyder, with a cigarette in hand, would lean in toward his guests and aggressively extract information, as if he were putting on a performance. He was happy to follow his guests wherever they might go, relishing digressions that often turned his interviews into conversations.
He clearly enjoyed himself in the process, punctuating his questions with a distinctive and hearty laugh that later became the centerpiece of an impression of him done by Dan Aykroyd in the early days of “Saturday Night Live.”
TidBITS: Stewing Over Safe Sleep:
Imagine that you've just bought a new car, and the car manufacturer has thoughtfully included a new piece of technology, a Dead Battery Preventer. In order for the DBP to work its magic, your car must continue to run for 49 seconds after you turn it off - every time you turn it off - during which time you can't open the doors. But, as the car dealer reassures you, surely this is a small, barely noticeable inconvenience compared to the tremendous savings in grief you'll experience on those occasions when you'd otherwise find yourself stuck, unable to go anywhere due to a dead battery. No waiting for a tow truck to arrive, no frantic calls to AAA. Just activate the DBP and drive away.
There's no such thing as a DBP, but that's the closest analogy I could come up with for a feature that has been built into all Apple laptops for the past couple of years.
And now...a picture of Baci, for all those who have been wondering:
Theater News - Theater - Theater News - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:
The 365 project hasn't made much of a dent in the public's consciousness. Besides a few descriptive newspaper articles, nobody's had much to say about this theater of evanescence. I guessed, in a column on the day after the project started, that the accumulated weight of 365 tiny plays would give the project a mythic quality. I hadn't read them then, but I've seen a couple dozen since and they don't amount to much. The plays are slight, wispy things that don't stick. They don't ask for comment.
Later in the evening, the bar was packed with unaffiliated drinkers. "I saw a play in here tonight," I told a friend. "One of those 365 plays." He nodded, smiled, and changed the subject.
Word on the street is that there is a picture of me in The Onion this week, as the "supervisor" for the 298,999,999th most uninfluential person in the world. If anybody knows about this, and has electronic or physical evidence of this, let me know--I'm in Cape Cod, doing TONGUES WILL WAG and eating my weight in lobsters, so I can't get ahold of anything.
Thanks, Adam--here it is for your viewing pleasure:
Time Releases Annual List Of Least Influential Americans
If you're in Cape Cod like me, come on by the show--it's going to be quite a ride. Details can be found here.
The Laptop Who Came to Dinner | The New York Observer:
Eleanna, a 27-year-old artist who lives in Williamsburg, was at a dinner party at her friend Matt’s house the other night when an extra guest suddenly appeared. “We were sitting around eating appetizers and drinking wine,” Eleanna said. “Then we somehow started having an argument about yams and sweet potatoes. As in, ‘Is a yam a sweet potato?’ And Matt was like, ‘That’s it, I’m going online.’ So we all crowded around his computer and learned that yams were not sweet potatoes. This was like, the evening’s entertainment.” Once the laptop was out, there was no extinguishing its cold LCD glare. “I think we started arguing about what to play next on iTunes after that,” Eleanna said.
Somewhere between Facebook and YouTube, the notebook computer became so essential to our lives that we began inviting it to dinner. It came quietly, ingratiating itself into the social ritual with such ease that we barely noticed. Until one night, halfway through the main course, seven dinner companions were suddenly crowded around our unassuming little MacBook watching “Dick in a Box.” What had happened? Once merely a guest, Mr. Laptop had become the guest: the know-it-all who could produce, in an instant, any funny thing that another attendee had read or seen in the previous week, saving that person the trouble of actually explaining it. Not to mention settling pressing intellectual disputes such as, “Who was the bassist in Jem and the Holograms?”
Secret Buildings You May Not Photograph, Part 643 - Raw Fisher:
Hmmm. Any government installation? This overly broad approach to security is why we end up with ridiculous horror stories about innocent tourists getting hassled for taking photos of the Lincoln Memorial or the Department of the Interior. The good news here is that Arlington police didn't take a report or create a file on McCammon. The bad news is that they did pass his information along to "the internal security agency for this installation." Which means that somewhere in the vast security apparatus that we have constructed since 9/11--utterly ignoring the fact that the Soviet empire collapsed under the weight of its own paranoid security apparatus--there is now a report on Keith McCammon, photographer.
The bottom line is that McCammon was caught in a classic logical trap. If he had only known the building was off-limits to photographers, he would have avoided it. But he was not allowed to know that fact. "Reasonable, law-abiding people tend to avoid these types of things when it can be helped," McCammon wrote. "Thus, my request for a list of locations within Arlington County that are unmarked, but at which photography is either prohibited or discouraged according to some (public or private) policy. Of course, such a list does not exist. Catch-22."
The Gowanus Lounge: Who Knew the Post Office Was This Persistent?:
Last week I received a letter addressed to a woman who has not lived in my building for approximately eight years. I don't have a forwarding address for her, so I wrote "WRONG ADDRESS -- RETURN TO SENDER" in large capital letters on the front of the envelope, with an arrow pointing to the return address.
Knowing that this was not enough to prevent the post office from redelivering this letter to me, I took a Sharpie and crossed out the bar code on the envelope, and I inked over the plastic window on the envelope so my address was completely covered. Then I took it to the Van Brunt post office and dropped it in a mailbox there.
The letter was redelivered to me today. The post office had actually removed the inked-over plastic window to uncover the address. Then they put a new bar code sticker on the envelope. So here it is again. What the hell? Why are they so stupid? Why were they so determined to redeliver this letter to a place where it is clearly unwanted? And meanwhile, letters that are sent addressed to me, at my correct address, at a house that has been standing here for 100+ years, get returned to the sender marked "no such address"? Why why why?
My colleague Jonathan prepares for battle...
The Daily Times - www.delmarvanow.com - Salisbury, Md.:
It does matter. I like the fact that he recognized it to be that because it is. When you become a comedian dedicated to writing and then performing, it's your art. I'm 70 years old, so I consider myself a solid master because that's what I entered show business with. I wasn't an actor. I wasn't a juggler or a singer. I came in as a storytelling monologist. And I have continued for 46 years doing this. Therefore, I know what I'm doing and I've always written my own material. I know the writer and the performer. And I'm elated that I am appreciated from the mouths of the comedians who are solid and working solid because I follow them into many of the venues. And to follow headliners in my own discipline who have said so forth and so on, it's just wonderful.
"All I've done all my life is disobey."
Koschei - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Koschei cannot be killed by conventional means targeting his body. His soul is hidden separate from his body inside a needle, which is in an egg, which is in a duck, which is in a hare, which is in an iron chest, which is buried under a green oak tree, which is on the island of Buyan, in the ocean. As long as his soul is safe, he cannot die. If the chest is dug up and opened, the hare will bolt away. If it is killed, the duck will emerge and try to fly off. Anyone possessing the egg has Koschei in their power. He begins to weaken, becomes sick and immediately loses the use of his magic. If the egg is tossed about, he likewise is flung around against his will. If the needle is broken (in some tales this must be done by specifically breaking it against Koschei's forehead), Koschei will die.
Jesse Thorn is the creator of The Sound of Young America, which has nothing to do with Up With People!. As his website says,
Think of it like Conan O'Brien on public radio, or "Fresh Air," but more fun.
Or think of it as Terry Gross on mescaline. A grad of UC Santa Cruz, Thorn lives in Koreatown where he blogs, produces his show, and obviously agonized over our carefully crafted questions. (If we were really clever, there'd be a podcast. Sigh.)
The Wit of the Staircase:
From the French phrase 'esprit d'escalier,' literally, it means 'the wit of the staircase', and usually refers to the perfect witty response you think up after the conversation or argument is ended. "Esprit d'escalier," she replied. "Esprit d'escalier. The answer you cannot make, the pattern you cannot complete till aterwards it suddenly comes to you when it is too late."
Sheila on the wonders of Santorini:
Yesterday I was on Colin McEnroe's show, talking about monologues, lying and telling the truth and the nature of performance that mirrors life by existing and dying in the same breath--Colin's show is great because there aren't many places in talk radio that run the full range of political, social and cultural topics, beyond simple ranting--it's sorely needed. You can listen to the show in two parts: Part One and Part Two.
Congratulations to Scott for this outstanding feature on his work--couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.
The Hit Maker of Barrow Street:
Mr. Morfee is an example of an almost extinct breed: the creative commercial Off Broadway producer. At a time when the Off Broadway model has been declared broken and financially unworkable, he continues to steer long-shot propositions into the Barrow Street.
So far he has beaten the odds: his productions regularly win good reviews and eke out yearlong runs. “When everyone else is screaming ‘Disaster! Close it! It’s over!,’ Scott is piece by piece putting it together,” said the playwright and actor Tracy Letts, whose plays “Killer Joe” and “Bug” were produced in New York by Mr. Morfee.
If you have ever visited the Barrow Street and seen one of the shows Mr. Morfee has mounted with his longtime producing partner Tom Wirtshafter — Austin Pendleton’s “Orson’s Shadow,” Nilaja Sun’s “No Child ...” and the improv act TJ & Dave among them — you have probably seen him. He may be running the box office or taking tickets. On the opening night of his latest effort, the whimsical, quasi-documentary musical “Gone Missing” (yet another critical favorite) he was an usher. It’s all part of a catch-all work ethic he drills into his staff and that he bases on a sign he once saw in a Montauk restaurant. It read: “Piano player needed. Must have knowledge of shucking clams.”
Flâneur - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
There is no English equivalent for the French word flâneur. Cassell's dictionary defines flâneur as a stroller, saunterer, drifter but none of these terms seems quite accurate. There is no English equivalent for the term, just as there is no Anglo-Saxon counterpart of that essentially Gallic individual, the deliberately aimless pedestrian, unencumbered by any obligation or sense of urgency, who, being French and therefore frugal, wastes nothing, including his time which he spends with the leisurely discrimination of a gourmet, savoring the multiple flavors of his city.
Cornelia Otis Skinner, writing in: Elegant Wits and Grand Horizontals (New York : Houghton Mifflin, 1962)
Wooster Collective: Fucking With Perception - Hirst's "For The Love of God" Diamond Skull:
Placed outside of the White Cube Gallery Masons yard at 3.30 am on Sunday night in response to the Damien Hirst's "For The Love of God" diamond skull exhibition.
The "For the Love of God" prank was created using 6522 Swarovski crystals
and took Laura, the artist, a month to create.
bunnie’s blog » Blog Archive » Made in China: Dedication:
Here’s another interesting story. On our way out of the factory floor one day, Xiao Li asked me what does a chumby do? Well, I don’t speak chinese very well, and she doesn’t speak english very well either, so I decided to start with a few basic questions.
I asked her if she knew what the world wide web was. She said no.
I asked her if she knew what the internet was. She said no.
I was stunned. Here is a girl who is an expert in building and testing computers–I mean, on some projects she has probably built PCs and booted Windows XP a hundred thousand times over and over again (god knows I heard that darn startup sound a zillion times that night on the factory floor, as right next to me was a bank of final test stations for ASUS motherboards)–yet she didn’t know what the internet was. I had taken it for granted that if you touched a computer today, you were also blessed by the bounties of the internet. I felt like a bit of a spoiled snob and a pig all at once for forgetting that she probably couldn’t afford a computer, much less broadband internet access. If she were given the opportunity, she was certainly smart enough to learn it all, but she’s busy making money that she’s probably sending back to her family at home.
How do you describe the color blue to the blind? In the end, the best I could do was to tell her it was a device for playing games.
EPR paradox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Although originally devised as a thought experiment that would demonstrate the incompleteness of quantum mechanics, actual experimental results refute the principle of locality, invalidating the EPR trio's original purpose. The "spooky action at a distance" that so disturbed the authors of EPR consistently occurs in numerous and widely replicated experiments. Einstein never accepted quantum mechanics as a "real" and complete theory, struggling to the end of his life for an interpretation that could comply with relativity without implying "God playing dice", as he condensed his dissatisfaction with quantum mechanics's intrinsic randomness and counter-intuitivity.
The EPR paradox is a paradox in the following sense: if one takes quantum mechanics and adds some seemingly reasonable conditions (referred to as locality, realism, counter factual definiteness, and completeness), then one obtains a contradiction. However, quantum mechanics by itself does not appear to be internally inconsistent, nor — as it turns out — does it contradict relativity. As a result of further theoretical and experimental developments since the original EPR paper, most physicists today regard the EPR paradox as an illustration of how quantum mechanics violates classical intuitions.
Christian Right Activists Disrupt Hindu Chaplain In The Senate | TPMCafe:
Today was a historic first for religion in America's civic life: For the very first time, a Hindu delivered the morning invocation in the Senate chamber — only to find the ceremony disrupted by three Christian right activists.
We have video of the astonishing scene, and we'll be sharing it with you shortly.
The three protesters, who all belong to the Christian Right anti-abortion group Operation Save America, and who apparently traveled to Washington all the way from North Carolina, interrupted by loudly asking for God's forgiveness for allowing the false prayer of a Hindu in the Senate chamber.
"Lord Jesus, forgive us father for allowing a prayer of the wicked, which is an abomination in your sight," the first protester began.
"This is an abomination," he continued. "We shall have no other gods before You."
Went to midtown today to record for NPR--and it was the weirdest building, with an incredibly designed elevator.
Very steampunky--beautiful, pointless detailing and scary/creepy tubes, hydraulics and more. This pic of the panel below the above is illuminated by a perfectly sickening green light that accents all the wiring--I have no idea if it is real or not.
Just outside the building is this ridiculous sign--I can't decide if it ruins the coolness of the elevator, or is the perfect footnote.
"as many as 28 or more"--what kind of a tortured construction is that? So it may be up to 28, or it may even be more than 28...why not simply say "many"?
Because they want you to know and FEAR their IMMENSELY POWERFUL CAMERAS, all running on brass cylinders and the hydraulic oil of the damned!
Gothamist: The Flag in Grand Central Terminal:
There's a thought-provoking essay in the Observer suggesting it's time to take down the huge American flag in the heart of the terminal. The flag was placed in Grand Central soon after September 11, 2001, and MTA Metro-North spokeswoman says the flag's "nearly four stories tall" size is "basically unprecedented." (There is also a smaller, standard sized flag in the hall.)
A Letter to Optimus Prime From His GEICO Auto Insurance Agent.:
Dear Mr. Prime,
We have received your accident-claim reports for the month of June—they total 27. I regret to inform you that GEICO will not be able to reimburse you for any of those repairs. I feel that I have sent the same letter to you once a month for the last six months, and I am now sending it again.
Since becoming a GEICO customer in January of this year, you have reported 131 accidents, requesting reimbursement for repairs necessitated by each one. You have claimed not to be responsible in any of them, usually listing the cause of the accident as either "Sneak attack by Decepticons" or "Unavoidable damage caused by protecting freedom for all sentient beings."
I met Andrew at MacDowell, and am lucky to consider him a friend--he won't read this as he's in Tanzania, but congratulations on getting hitched--nicely done!
Andrew Solomon and John Habich - New York Times:
IT was no billet-doux. Certainly, there was nothing in the e-mail message Andrew Solomon sent John Habich six years ago, as they were arranging their first meeting, to suggest that they would one day publicly wed at an English country house.
“I understand you might write something about my book,” Mr. Solomon — the author of “The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression” (Scribner 2001), examining depression in personal, cultural, and scientific terms — recalled writing to Mr. Habich, then on the staff of The Minneapolis StarTribune. “Do let me know if you have any questions of a nature such that the author might be of assistance.”
But not long into their interview in St. Paul, where Mr. Solomon was on a book promotion tour, Mr. Habich realized that he had been “thwacked by cupid,” he said. Mr. Solomon, of New York and London, was smitten, too.
stuffonfire.com» Blog Archive » iPhone SDK:
The last thought I had was about the lack of Flash on the handset. I’ve done a lot of work with Flash on the desktop lately on Windows and I have to say that despite Adobe’s efforts to modernize their infrastructure, Flash is still a very primitive technology with strong roots in education CD-ROMs on Mac OS 9 — they’ve made tremendous strides in terms of rapid application development and deployment, but I don’t think performance or reliability has ever really been on Adobe’s radar with this product.
Some of the problems I’ve encountered include random crashes on shutdown, enormous memory leaks in the runtime (a leak in something that draws at 24fps is a huge issue!) — not to mention Flash’s notoriously awful performance. On the application side, many Flash applications (no naming names) written to run in Flash in a browser just don’t care about performance or resource utilization because most web applications have a process lifetime of a page view, or about 10 seconds. Finally, in a mobile context, consider the effect that Flash’s inefficient programming model will have on battery life. The last thing to remember is that the Flash runtime’s performance is about 4-20x worse on Mac OS X than it is on Windows — I bet Apple evaluated its options and decided it didn’t want to have its browser experience marred by Adobe’s lack of focus. You can also bet that with all the crazy user-space scaling tricks that iPhoneSafari does, Flash wouldn’t work.
NPR : YouTube Guitar Lessons Pulled in Copyright Spat:
Thousands of guitar students lost a valuable resource last week. The most popular guitar teacher on YouTube saw his more than 100 videos yanked from the site. The reason: a music company accused him of copyright infringement for an instructional video on how to play a Rolling Stones song.
Slashdot | Sprint Drops Customers Over Excessive Inquiries:
"The WSJ confirms earlier reports that Sprint Nextel is terminating the contracts of subscribers who call customer service too much (registration required). The 1,000 or so terminated subscribers called an average of 25 times a month — 40x times higher than average — according to a company spokeswoman, who also noted that a large number of calls from these customers were related to billing issues."
This is it--our bags are packed, we're ready to go. The cab's outside, he's blowing his horn . . . we hate to wake you up to say goodbye, Bay Area, so we'll hit the road. Thanks to everyone at BRT and our Bay Area audiences for helping us end this epic tour in style.
Barring the unforeseen, when next my bloggy fingers type to the web they shall be doing it from my home at last, at last. Hallelujah!
THIS IS IT. The final show of our five month tour is tonight's performance of TONGUES WILL WAG, which is sold out. If you're hoping to come and don't have a ticket, don't despair--come just before 7:30 and there will be a wait-list which we'll use to seat people on a first-come, first-served basis, and I believe (no promises) that we'll be able to accommodate many folks.
I'm off to ensure that the show is ready--I can't quite believe that I'm at the end of it all, and though we're all exhausted and battered it's terribly exciting to end with a full house and a new monologue. It's opening day and closing day and every day all rolled up together, and I'm thrilled.
See you on the other side,
forcemajeure: The Storyteller:
The theater darkens, and a fat man sits at a simple wooden table. Before him sits a glass of water, a black handkerchief, and a stack of handwritten notes on yellow sheets torn from a legal pad. The lights come up, and he tells a story. He is brightly lit in clear white light throughout; the stage and a nondescript background are lit subtly in reds and blues, shifting color subtly as he moves from scene to scene in his story. Each scene break is marked by the turning of a page, perhaps nine or ten times in a ninety minute story; his notes constitute an outline, not a script, but the storyteller modulates his voice and repeats key phrases, sometimes for comic timing, sometimes to maintain a rhythm, and sometimes for the sheer pleasure of saying "black magic sex cult" over and over.
~stevenf: The Official stevenf iPhone Review:
Best phone ever. And given the rest of the industry's generally pervasive cluelessness about pretty much everything, I don't expect it to be surpassed by anything until the iPhone 2. In my opinion, this is a homerun for not just Apple but AT&T who were smart enough to let Steve Jobs have his wicked way with them.
The iPhone's noteworthy not just because of what it does, but because of what it doesn't do -- namely, all the irritating shit that encumbers every other smartphone OS. The only time the iPhone frustrates is when you think of something it could do, but doesn't -- yet.
Kudos to everyone involved. It's an industry-changing product, and I would never say that lightly.
Fantastic and chilling series at the Washington Post on exactly how Dick Cheney functions in our government.
Read the entire series here.
Last night we had a great house, and a good friend brought Robin Williams and his wife to see the show. I think I engage in a modest amount of celebrity worship for an American--I don't have an altar set up in my home or anything--but it was interesting to experience the very real electricity that filled the space when he arrived, and given that the thrust stage at BRT lets the audience watch itself I could feel throughout the show a curious "bouncing" as audience members watched me, then watched Robin watching me, then laughed if they saw Robin laughing, and back again. It made the audience hard to manage, but I got my arms around them, and it really turned into a big, rollicking show.
Celebrity is a strange phenomenon, but I think Robin's affability and public persona as a comedian do a lot for loosening things up; fame seems to amplify what is already there, and he's a grounded and empathetic guy. I think this surprises people, as his energy onstage sometimes makes folks think he needs massive Ritalin injections, and we all have hours and hours of memories of him doing WACKY SHIT over the years embedded in our minds ahead of time, which can't help but affect impressions.
Meeting him after the show was fun. Years ago one of the earliest pull quotes we used was from the New York Post, which called me "between Robin Williams and Spalding Gray"--and as it was one of the earliest high profile pull quotes we plastered it on everything. Beyond that, he's had a big role in my life--I remember watching his stand-up as a kid and being delighted at the connections he'd make, leaping from point to point at will. Along with Bill Cosby he's one of the lodestones of my early childhood experience of live performance.
He was very generous after the show--he was the first person who leaped to his feet at the curtain call, and I feel he deserves some credit for the standing ovation that followed, because I'm sure some in the audience thought, "if Robin Williams is standing up, why aren't I?" Speaking afterward he was modest, funny and sincere about the show, and we had a great conversation.
One anecdote: they don't drive over to the East Bay very often, and when they parked, in the two blocks to the theater they ran into two bums who instantly recognized Robin and shouted at him, "LOOK! IT'S ROBERT WILSON!" I suggested that he should immediately have begun performing a seven-hour piece called "Man Walks Very Slowly On The Beach Toward The Theater" for them, which we all agreed was funny but works better in theory than in practice.
Today is the final marathon for GREAT MEN OF GENIUS--all four shows happen today and today only, and then we are DONE. It has been a tremendous experience for us, and I'd like to thank Berkeley Rep for having the balls to let us create a six hour monologue and stage it in June, the most beautiful month in Berkeley--our houses have grown and grown, and I couldn't be more delighted with the way it has all turned out. It was genuinely frightening at moments, when I didn't know if we could have the beast ready in time, but we did it by the skin of our teeth...thank you, everybody, for believing in us and giving us such a tremendous canvas to paint a gigantic story.