Thursday, January 31, 2008


5:20 PM


2:25 PM

Incredible irony—as of this morning, I am working with Amazon again. Sigh.

Amazon Snaps Up Audible For $300 Million (AMZN) - Silicon Alley Insider:

More digital ambitions from Amazon: The company is buying audio book pioneer Audible for $300 million. The $11.50 per share price is a 24% premium above yesterday's close; it gets Jeff Bezos a company that lost $192,000 on sales of $27 million in its last quarter.

12:58 PM

A Golden Infatuation

12:57 PM

Pirates of the Burning Sea - Online Gaming - New York Times:

But the golden age of piracy three centuries ago remains so fascinating because it hovers just on the cusp between myth and historical fact. Roaming bands of lawless men amok on the high seas, the Caribbean pirates were in some ways a final paroxysm of the premodern world before colonial governments took full control of the Western Hemisphere. It is no coincidence that the seminal romanticization of piracy, Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island,” did not appear until 1883, after the real thing had largely disappeared.

Pirates of the Burning Sea is set in 1720, the peak of Caribbean piracy, just after the War of the Spanish Succession. The game models the entire region, from the eastern coasts of Mexico and Florida down to the northern coast of South America as far as Guyana. Users play as members of the English, French or Spanish empires or as a pirate associated with the infamous Brethren of the Coast.

Within their vast virtual basin, thousands of players can simultaneously explore dozens of towns and anchorages or freely sail one of dozens of meticulously rendered historical ships. The economy is almost entirely player-driven, meaning that rather than ships magically appearing for sale, players cooperate to harvest raw materials like wood and iron and then process and sell them as more advanced wares for a profit.

12:15 PM

The Gates of Saint Peter

12:14 PM

My new desktop.

2008 01 Rudyends

So long, you fucking fascist douchebag.

4:21 AM

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


12:56 PM

Iced Fire

12:56 PM

Slashdot | Schneier's Keynote At

"Computer security expert Bruce Schneier took a swipe at a number of sacred cows of security including RFID tags, national ID cards, and public CCTV security cameras in his keynote address to (currently being held in Melbourne, Australia). These technologies were all examples of security products tailored to provide the perception of security rather than tackling actual security risks, Schneier said. The discussion of public security — which has always been clouded by emotional decision making — has been railroaded by groups with vested interests such as security vendors and political groups, he claimed. 'For most of my career I would insult "security theater" and "snake oil" for being dumb. In fact, they're not dumb. As security designers we need to address both the feeling and the reality of security. We can't ignore one. It's not enough to make someone secure, that person needs to also realize they've been made secure. If no-one realizes it, no-one's going to buy it,' Schneier said.

3:49 AM

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Guarda Rios

3:38 PM

Smithsonian Magazine | Arts & Culture | Being Funny:

In a college psychology class, I had read a treatise on comedy explaining that a laugh was formed when the storyteller created tension, then, with the punch line, released it. I didn't quite get this concept, nor do I still, but it stayed with me and eventually sparked my second wave of insights. With conventional joke telling, there's a moment when the comedian delivers the punch line, and the audience knows it's the punch line, and their response ranges from polite to uproarious. What bothered me about this formula was the nature of the laugh it inspired, a vocal acknowledgment that a joke had been told, like automatic applause at the end of a song.

A skillful comedian could coax a laugh with tiny indicators such as a vocal tic (Bob Hope's "But I wanna tell ya") or even a slight body shift. Jack E. Leonard used to punctuate jokes by slapping his stomach with his hand. One night, watching him on "The Tonight Show," I noticed that several of his punch lines had been unintelligible, and the audience had actually laughed at nothing but the cue of his hand slap.

These notions stayed with me until they formed an idea that revolutionized my comic direction: What if there were no punch lines? What if there were no indicators? What if I created tension and never released it? What if I headed for a climax, but all I delivered was an anticlimax? What would the audience do with all that tension? Theoretically, it would have to come out sometime. But if I kept denying them the formality of a punch line, the audience would eventually pick their own place to laugh, essentially out of desperation. This type of laugh seemed stronger to me, as they would be laughing at something they chose, rather than being told exactly when to laugh.

3:37 PM

Monday, January 28, 2008


8:07 PM

New York's "automotive Bermuda Triangle" - Boing Boing:

Cars are mysteriously dying in a few block radius around New York City's Empire State Building. Many people think the phenomena is caused by the 30+ transmission antennas on the spire of the 102-story building. Officials from the building deny there's a problem.

7:02 PM


4:06 PM

Light Still Shines On The Fair

4:05 PM

no need

3:52 PM

Sunday, January 27, 2008


12:06 PM



12:03 PM

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan:

Sorry, but the Clintons were just destroyed in South Carolina in an unprecedented turnout. This was a butt-kicking of massive proportions. How else do you interpret a 28 point margin? It's staggering.

And I'm sitting here watching Bill Bennett, despite his Republican loyalties, clearly happy that we have achieved this breakthrough in civility, in transcending race, in bringing so many people back into the system. Good for Bennett to see the import of this. This is history.

In some ways, I wonder if the Clintons' baring of the fangs hasn't played to Obama's advantage. He is showing he can beat some of toughest competition out there. If he wins, he will have beaten not just Hillary but Bill as well. He will have redefined the Democratic party and remade its politics. By staying civil, by focusing on the big picture, by refusing to take the low road while defending himself robustly: he won the right way. And he will win in a big way.

11:51 AM

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan:

In last week's SC GOP primary, McCain and Huckabee (the top 2 finishers), got 147,283 and 132,440 votes respectively. That's a total of 279,723. Obama just pulled down 291,000 by himself. Here's the data.

I'd say this is the game changer. Obama can now say that he's got the best ability to put southern states in play. Obama can attempt a true 50 state strategy. He probably would not win too many southern states, but winning a few absolutely obliterates the GOP's chances in November.

11:47 AM

Gone fishing

11:47 AM

Teens With Phones: The Next Big Thing For Child Porn:

Kiddie porn! Twelve-year-olds photographed against their will by mustachioed 40-year-old perverts and passed around to other perverts! Except it's also photos of high schoolers, taken by high schoolers, and passed around to other high schoolers, like the photos and video of two girls (one showing her breasts, the other having sex with a boy) that spread throughout an Allentown, PA high school for six weeks before the cops started to investigate. Students say everyone at the 3200-student Parkland High School got a copy, usually on their cell phones. So did students at another high school and at Temple and Harvard. So who goes to jail when underage teens possess underage teen porn?

11:28 AM

Alison: Boiler Room

10:57 AM - Click: Theater at your fingertips:

Monologist Mike Daisey, who calls himself an "early adopter" of the Web, has been active in the Internet since 1998. He has accumulated 21,000 e-mail addresses from fans.

"Without it we would not be where we are now, with a national career and multiple major cities that expect and anticipate our returning regularly," Daisey said in an e-mail. "I use the main page (of my Web site) as a blog, but it's a blog that has mainly images, articles about info I'm engaged in, work that is being reviewed now -- it's a constant stream ... I do it in public in the spirit of openness and transparency, and readers enjoy the way that articles and pieces they see there find their way into and influence upcoming work."

10:56 AM

Remains of the day ...

10:55 AM

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Gothamist: Idiotarod '08 Has Taken Off!:

12:45pm - Nearly 300 people, including contestants and judges, just crossed the Manhattan Bridge and seem to be coming from Chinatown.

1:00pm - Our team is on their way from Checkpoint 1 to Checkpoint 2 reporting there's "now about 350 involved and a million photographers and video crews chasing them. It looks like contestants are headed towards cobble hill. Lots of food is being thrown. one team has a catapult in their cart lobbing balloons filled with beer, mustard, and mayo. People dressed as ninjas, in jumpsuits, there's a downtown urban exploration team. Lots of x-dressing contestants."

7:39 PM


7:39 PM

This week's episode of NPR's Studio 360 is all about NIKOLA TESLA, and features narration from me throughout, illuminating the man's fantastic and impossible life. There are also stories of real-life scientists working in garages today, talk of the archetype of the mad scientists, death rays, earthquake machines--it is a stellar hour of radio, and I was honored to play a role akin to the Stage Manager from Wilder's OUR TOWN in helping to link and connect all the parts together.

Direct link to Studio 360's program--Nikola Tesla: Strange Genius

2:53 PM

They Washed Their Hair...

2:45 PM


6:20 AM

2199639293 Fd180686Fc O

6:17 AM

Speechification » Blog Archive » Studio 360: Nikola Tesla: Strange Genius:

Forgive me as I stray a little northwards from my Antipodean lair to bring you this quite wonderful edition of Studio 360, presented as usual by Kurt Anderson. It’s devoted to amateur inventors and ‘mad scientists’, with Nikola Tesla as the super-dense object bending the show’s waves around him. The programme lovingly and carefully explores Tesla’s pioneering work in radar, radio, alternating current and just about everything else in the modern world - which was all to little acclaim at the time.

Mike Daisey relates the life of Tesla in a hilarious and bewitching set of excerpts from his one-man show. With a delivery like Emo Phillips with the fast forward button held down, be sure to stay for the story of Tesla’s death ray. Just after the story of Tesla x-raying Mark Twain’s head.

5:42 AM


5:42 AM

Friday, January 25, 2008

Parabasis: Enhancement?:

Ultimately, enhancement sits in the intersection of show and business, which is usually a pretty fraught place to be.  We can't expect it to go away.  We're not Sweden where, as Mike Daisey memorably put it, the government just shits money into your mouth.  There's a kind of relentless "damned if you do..." logic whereby the alternative could conceivably lead to some really rocky times for professional theater.  And that possibility is, of course, conservatizing... its the same conservatizing impulse that keeps ADs from making adventurous choices and keeps us justifying the current system instead of envisioning and implementing change. We need to look at the implications of all of this and question how choices are being made at the theaters that are the supposed stewards of the nonprofit system. To do that, we need those stewards to talk about this in the open.

7:24 PM

7:24 PM

Just a heads up that all tickets are SOLD OUT for tonight and tomorrow night's performance of MONOPOLY!--there are still some available on Sunday, but they're going quickly.

You can order tickets directly from the link in the sidebar, and since  it is general admission I highly recommend showing up by 6:45--the house opens at 7:00, and the show starts at 7:30.

4:41 PM

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Capitol Hill Arts Center - Theater - MONOPOLY! (Seattle Weekly):

Mike Daisey has been compared to Spalding Gray, David Sedaris and other solo monologuists. But he’s more dynamic and theatrical. Yes, he’s a great storyteller, but he’s also an amazing physical comedian—all the more amazing because he performs seated behind a desk. From that seemingly static position he creates, in MONOPOLY!, a hilarious repertory of hand chops, head shakes, arm sweeps and body jiggles that are every bit as important as the words on the page. Not to mention the guy’s whisper-to-a-roar vocal control and gift for subtle mimicry. His script, which knits together ruminations on big, bad capitalism across recent history (Thomas Edison trying to squash a competitor; Bill Gates and Microsoft doing their thing; Wal-Mart sucking up all the remaining life in Daisey’s Maine hometown; Parker Brothers marketing a stolen game) with incidents from the performer’s personal history.

9:55 PM

The Big O into the blue night HDR*

8:58 PM

Daily Kos: State of the Nation:

Where the hell has this red-faced, angry, combative Bill Clinton been for the last eight years?

Did Bill get angry and demand that wrongs be righted after the Florida miscount? After Bush v. Gore? After Bush, Cheney, and Rice blew off his concerns about terrorism for 8 months? After Bush's unpreparedness for, inadequate and incomplete response to, and unconscionable exploitation of 9/11? After the unfair media and GOP attacks on Al Gore, Howard Dean, and John Kerry? After Katrina? Plame? The US Attorneys? The "lost" emails? The countless other mistakes and malfeasances of the Bush administration?

Sorry, Bill -- by remaining silent in the face of so many grave catastrophes, you forfeited your right to attack Obama. You forfeited your right to be taken seriously as someone concerned about defending the principles of the Democratic Party -- or of the Constitution, for that matter. You, more than anyone on the entire planet (with perhaps the exception of Colin Powell, who's beholden to neither the Democratic Party nor Hillary Clinton) acquiesced in the American disaster that is the Bush administration by your silence. By your lack of outrage. You could have spoken when it mattered. But you didn't.

And now, by speaking out against Obama, you implicitly argue that he is a greater threat to the Republic and the Democratic Party than anything or anyone over the last 8 years.

So shut the fuck up, Bill.

6:53 PM


6:41 PM

407835260 A46D05F1Df B

6:06 PM

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Robert Heinlein

5:33 PM


5:33 PM

BBC NEWS | Americas | Last Alaska language speaker dies:

A woman believed to be the last native speaker of the Eyak language in the north-western US state of Alaska has died at the age of 89.

Marie Smith Jones was a champion of indigenous rights and conservation. She died at her home in Anchorage.

She helped the University of Alaska compile an Eyak dictionary, so that future generations would have the chance to resurrect it.

4:53 PM

4:38 PM

4:28 PM

Unhinged | Slog | The Stranger | Seattle's Only Newspaper:

FOX News host John Gibson revelled in Heath Ledger’s death yesterday on his radio show, finding a new opportunity to mock Brokeback Mountain (and by proxy, gay love), which in 2006 he called a “gay agenda movie,” Think Progress reports:

“Playing an audio clip of the iconic quote, ‘I wish I knew how to quit you’ from Ledger’s gay romance movie Brokeback Mountain, Gibson disdainfully quipped, ‘Well, he found out how to quit you.’ Laughing, Gibson then played another clip from Brokeback Mountain in which Ledger said, ‘We’re dead,’ followed by his own, mocking ‘We’re dead’ before playing the clip again.”

1:24 PM


5:28 AM

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5:17 AM

William Gibson:

I saw Cloverfield last night, and nothing about it bugged me more than those quotes around "Central Park" on the DoD evidence tag that opens the film. It immediately tells us that this film has not been made by native science fiction minds. If Central Park is no longer called Central Park, but is officially referred to as "the area formerly known as 'Central Park'", but the DoD still exists, we know that this is not a *far-future* evidence tag. So if Central Park is now known as "The Killing Fields", or "The Ghastly Black Glass Ocean", then *tell* us. Those quotes are extraordinarily clumsy (and the card itself is typographically unconvincing).

Very first thing in the film. Matters. Hugely.

4:39 AM

a solar blast warms my winter chills

4:38 AM

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

We landed a flat-out rave in today's Seattle Times, the Northwest's "Paper of Record"

The Arts | Mike Daisey's spellbinding "Monopoly" | Seattle Times Newspaper:

A single narrative well-wrought and well-told can be fully satisfying.

But in his spellbinding monologue "Monopoly!," Mike Daisey counterpoints several stories. Stories about the quixotic genius inventor, Nikola Tesla. And the Redmond-based software giant Microsoft. And the invention of America's favorite board game. And a working-class clan in Maine.

Layering outrage, official and underground history, personal memoir and rollicking humor, Daisey makes you think, feel and question in this show at Capitol Hill Arts Center.

And yes, he makes you laugh — hearty laughter, cathartic and barbed.

7:50 PM

I'm not at liberty to say

7:49 PM

Mike Daisey to Headline A Family Affair Benefit: Theater News on

In A Family Affair, Daisey will tell stories of families and their wonderful, terrifying and infuriating power, joined by solo performers from the Seattle community including Mark Boeker, Allen Johnson, Troy Mink, and Suzanne Morrison. At the conclusion of the performance Daisey's sister Mary will perform a rebuttal to his story, revealing for the first time the true story that lives right under the surface.

5:19 PM

National Gymnasium

5:19 PM

Wookie Roar | Ask MetaFilter:

Chewie was actually a baby brown bear called "Pooh" whom, Burtt jokes, they didn't feed for a few days, then teased with bread soaked in milk. That sound was then overlaid with dogs and a stranded walrus.

So, first, get a baby brown bear, deny it sustenance for a while, and learn to imitate the frustrated growlings that result when you tease it with snacks.

Then, pay close attention to your dog's vocalizations.

Next, strand a walrus, and listen carefully. I'm sure we would all be very interested to hear your success in this endeavor. I stranded a walrus once, and, boy, do I have some stories!

2:41 PM


1:05 PM

heather corinna: pure as the driven slush » Blog Archive »:

In college, for instance, on a flight to Oxford-via-Amsterdam in 1990 — back in those halcyon days when there was a smoking section on international flights, and that section was often like a cocktail party — I wound up sitting beside this poetry professor from Iraq. This was a double boon, since previously, I was sitting next to a male schoolmate who had teased me all the way to the airport about the fact that I was a nervous flyer, only to immediately vomit on my feet twice during take-off. So, being able to move at all was a lifesaver. But there I was reading my Blake, preparing for my Big Blake Immersion, and there was this professor reading over my shoulder and sighing blissfully.

We wound up in this amazing 7-hour-long conversation, punctuated by an awful lot of wine and the distribution of many cigarettes; about poetry, art, death, poverty, racism, world peace, love, longing, the whole enchilada. We laughed, we cried, we even yelled once or twice, we held hands. When we parted ways, we exchanged things of great value to each of us, so thankful to have made that connection: I gave him a bunch of stones and crystals I always kept with me for my back (I used a cane for walking for six months in college due to an injury), and he gave me this heavy, woven gold ring. I still have and cherish it: I call it the world peace ring because not shortly thereafter, the first (though technically the second- we’re really in the third now) gulf “war” started and it struck me as so tragically silly that if two strangers, from the U.S. and Iraq, could get along so quickly and easily and talk about difficult subjects so freely and openly, surely world leaders apparently schooled in diplomacy could freaking work it out.

4:44 AM


4:41 AM

The Arts Blog » Blog Archive » A career in theater is a fast track to poverty -

Those who bemoan the state of American theater should consider this sobering fact: even for its most successful playwrights and directors, it’s a world without money or security. According to theater lore, it was playwright Robert Anderson (“Tea and Sympathy,” “I Never Sang for My Father”) who said that the theater is a place where you can make a killing but not a living.

4:17 AM

Day 14 of 365

4:17 AM

Mr. Excitement News: Paula Vogel, Richard Nelson and the New American Playwriting Narrative:

Second, as many have noted, Paula Vogel's students from Brown have taken over the American theater. Three of the playwrights at this year's Humana Festival are Brown alumni (a higher number than any other program), while Playwrights Horizons jumped on the bandwagon too. It's always nice to see playwrights breaking through and being successful--and I'm a person who believes that there's room for everybody, in terms of styles.

However, this has also led to a certain sort of play --
which privileges whimsy as its most important element and is typified by the Brown mantra of "the unstagable stage direction" -- being heralded as the New American Playwriting. I'd like to suggest that setting up such a strong narrative about where American playwrights are coming from and what sort of elements typify their plays is a problematic thing.

4:14 AM


4:13 AM

The Future

On the afternoon talk shows of America
the guests have suffered life's sorrows
long enough. All they require now
is the opportunity for closure,
to put the whole thing behind them
and get on with their lives. That their lives,
in fact, are getting on with them even
as they announce their requirement
is written on the faces of the younger ones
wrinkling their brows, and the skin
of their elders collecting just under their
set chins. It's not easy to escape the past,
but who wouldn't want to live in a future
where the worst has already happened
and Americans can finally relax after daring
to demand a different way? For the rest of us,
the future, barring variations, turns out
to be not so different from the present
where we have always lived--the same
struggle of wishes and losses, and hope,
that old lieutenant, picking us up
every so often to dust us off and adjust
our helmets. Adjustment, for that matter,
may be the one lesson hope has to give,
serving us best when we begin to find
what we didn't know we wanted in what
the future brings. Nobody would have asked
for the ice storm that takes down trees
and knocks the power out, leaving nothing
but two buckets of snow melting
on the wood stove and candlelight so weak,
the old man sitting at the kitchen table
can hardly see to play cards. Yet how else
but by the old woman's laughter
when he mistakes a jack for a queen
would he look at her face in the half-light as if
for the first time while the kitchen around them
and the very cards he holds in his hands
disappear? In the deep moment of his looking
and her looking back, there is no future,
only right now, all, anyway, each one of us
has ever had, and all the two of them,
sitting together in the dark among the cracked
notes of the snow thawing beside them
on the stove, right now will ever need.

Wesley McNair

3:40 AM

The Pixies - Where Is My Mind?

3:40 AM

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Talking About AT&T's Internet Filtering on AT&T's The Hugh Thompson Show - Boing Boing Gadgets:

Yesterday, I was invited to talk about gadgets onThe Hugh Thompson Show, a television-style talk show sponsored exclusively by AT&T for distribution on the online AT&T Tech Channel. I eventually did talk about gadgets, but in light of AT&T's shocking and baffling announcement of their plans to filter the internet, I thought that a much more interesting and important topic.

So that's what I talked about.

As you can see from the video, the crew ended up scrubbing the interview about half-way through. Figuring that might happen, I asked my steely-nerved friend Richard Blakeley to tape the first take. I wanted to make sure that we had a record of the event, primarily to ensure that AT&T would have no reason to try to bury the interview entirely—the same reason I am running this clip now, while discussion about what to do with my segment in post-production is surely underway.

7:35 PM

KCR Train

7:30 PM

Adam Leventhal's Weblog:

I let it run for a while, made iTunes do some work, and the result when I stopped the script? Nothing. The expensive DTrace invocation clearly caused iTunes to do a lot more work, but DTrace was giving me no output.
Which started me thinking... did they? Surely not. They wouldn't disable DTrace for certain applications.

But that's exactly what Apple's done with their DTrace implementation. The notion of true systemic tracing was a bit too egalitarian for their classist sensibilities so they added this glob of lard into dtrace_probe() -- the heart of DTrace:

#if defined(__APPLE__)
* If the thread on which this probe has fired belongs to a process marked P_LNOATTACH
* then this enabling is not permitted to observe it. Move along, nothing to see here.
if (ISSET(current_proc()->p_lflag, P_LNOATTACH)) {
#endif /* __APPLE__ */

Wow. So Apple is explicitly preventing DTrace from examining or recording data for processes which don't permit tracing. This is antithetical to the notion of systemic tracing, antithetical to the goals of DTrace, and antithetical to the spirit of open source. I'm sure this was inserted under pressure from ISVs, but that makes the pill no easier to swallow. To say that Apple has crippled DTrace on Mac OS X would be a bit alarmist, but they've certainly undermined its efficacy and, in doing do, unintentionally damaged some of its most basic functionality.

7:29 PM


7:29 PM

be happy and be free.

7:11 PM

Seattlest: We Review: Mike Daisey's Monopoly at CHAC:

Reliable sources tell us that if you ask Mike Daisey what he does for a living, he replies that he's "a monologist."

Daisey may be the only person in America who introduces himself that way.

If only those hordes who introduce themselves as "mortgage bankers" or "members of the Bush Administration" were as good at their jobs as Daisey is at his.

6:45 PM

Monday, January 21, 2008

Why does AT&T want to know what you're downloading? - By Tim Wu - Slate Magazine:

Chances are that as you read this article, it is passing over part of AT&T's network. That matters, because last week AT&T announced that it is seriously considering plans to examine all the traffic it carries for potential violations of U.S. intellectual property laws. The prospect of AT&T, already accused of spying on our telephone calls, now scanning every e-mail and download for outlawed content is way too totalitarian for my tastes. But the bizarre twist is that the proposal is such a bad idea that it would be not just a disservice to the public but probably a disaster for AT&T itself. If I were a shareholder, I'd want to know one thing: Has AT&T, after 122 years in business, simply lost its mind?

8:40 PM

Sun and Signs

8:40 PM

Mike Daisey hopes to save America from itself : Sharply funny and highly intelligent, Mike Daisey's "Monopoly" was very impressive.

Daisey is mesmerizing in inflection and facial expression, enough so that staring at the guy for 100 minutes is insanely interesting.

The travesty of Wal Mart and corporate America, the tragedy of inventor Nikola Tesla's thwarted American dream and Daisey's encounter with the richest man alive make for an engaging, intellectual monologue that was like nothing I had seen before. All of these themes tie into the game of Monopoly, an American institution. Because, if the whole point of life is to "pass go and collect $200" and to live under the corporation umbrella, there is nothing to show for it all but loss and profit.

Quite a lot to think about, but Daisey weaves it all together seamlessly. He just...makes sense.

In the end, the show was not as cynical as I was expecting, but even more intellectually engaging than I'd hoped.

6:56 PM

Happy Birthday! 365 Day 314

5:02 PM

I did an interview on Friday about Microsoft, corporate power and the elements of my monologue MONOPOLY! on National Public Radio--if you'd like to listen to it, you can do so here.

In more local news, it is my birthday. It is also my first day off with no performances, no marketing, no interviews or kibitzing, no fundraising, emergency writing, microproducing, audience shaping, contract negotiations or other bullshit. Low-key plans are being laid, and I am in heaven just sitting quietly.

The view outside my window:


Happy birthday, everybody. Make it a good one.

12:44 PM

12:21 PM

'Monopoly!' rips into capitalism:

Daisey and Gregory moved to New York, where they have turned out a half-dozen monologues, all with Daisey's signature knack for personal revelation combined with socioeconomic insight. In that regard Daisey continues the legacy of the late genius raconteur Spalding Gray.

His latest creation, "Monopoly!," has the standard Daisey drollness. Everyone in the theater is grinning and laughing with one exception: him. Daisey covers the gamut from whispers to roars, from outrage to astonishment. But jolly he is not. He is your classic serious comedian.

The invention, about 70 years ago, of the unprecedentedly popular board game Monopoly serves as a paradigm for chicanery and deception. Apparently a manufacturer's myth, still to be found in Monopoly packages, neglects to mention that the person who got rich off the game had stolen the idea from a guileless idealist.

In contrast to the rampant capitalism stories, Daisey offers a counterparadigm of pluck and imagination. His hero, the guileless and idealistic inventor Nikola Tesla, improved on Edison's hazardous direct current with the now universally accepted alternating current. He went on to devise a generator that would distribute electricity into the air, free for the taking. Free for the taking?! No meters? No billing? As you can imagine, that did not go over well at all with Tesla's backer, J.P. Morgan.

Fragments of modern economic history and business lore intertwine with personal recollections. The hardship of living without a television in a Seattle house with crackheads and a heroin addict is alleviated by a trip to Wal-Mart with it universe of cheap TVs. The inspiration of working with visionary New York theater artists is frustrated when the vision includes a Tesla coil -- a potentially dangerous device that throws off synthetic lightning.

12:20 PM

Sunday, January 20, 2008


7:45 PM

AFP: Huckabee links gay sex to bestiality, abortion to slavery:

Republican presidential hopeful and former Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee linked gay sex to bestiality and abortion to slavery in an interview Thursday, explaining why, if elected, he would try to amend the constitution.

"Marriage has ... as long as there's been human history, meant a man and a woman in a relationship for life. Once we change that definition, then where does it go from there?" he asked in an interview with online "Beliefnet" magazine.

"Well, I don't think that's a radical view, to say we're going to affirm marriage. I think the radical view is to say that we're going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal," he added.

"The Bible was not written to be amended. The Constitution was," he said, announcing his intention to amend the document if he were to be elected president in November to ban abortion and establish that life begins at the moment of conception.

3:50 PM

56/365 - Reflected

3:50 PM

Norm! Vegas Confidential:

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her camp ate a little higher off the hog than her rival Barack Obama during their week of campaigning in Las Vegas.

Both campaign camps called N9NE Steakhouse at the Palms minutes apart Friday for a food delivery.

Chef Barry Dakake and Jenna Morton, wife of N9NE co-owner Michael Morton, delivered around $200 worth of food, including two Kobe burgers, two organic chicken sandwiches and one order of Dover sole, to Obama in a conference room at the Las Vegas Signature Terminal.

The Clintons' tab came to $1,530 and included entrees of nine steaks, three chicken, three salmon and three Maine scallops, two lobster pappardelle, salads, sashimi, rock shrimp, and various side dishes.

1:05 PM

In the shipyard ...

12:44 PM

Saturday, January 19, 2008



Last night's preview went very well--the house filled up to capacity, and it was great fun to bring MONOPOLY! back up to full speed after a five month hiatus. It was very cool to feel the stories coming up under my hands moment by moment, and knowing that the whole machinery of it was humming underneath. We're working with the space in a fascinating way this time--giant windows are open to the world, so that during the show electric arc lamps visible outside stream light in, and the skyline of Seattle is visible. It is such a delight to be doing the monologue in such a compelling, living space.

Tickets are completely sold out for tonight. I can't emphasize enough that you should come early, as it is going to be a bit of a madhouse. Doors open at 7pm.

As an aside, this poster design has been somewhat controversial--it's very different from some of our other posters, and has been used around town on the same model as movie posters, with massive walls being put up with many posters together:


However, once you adopt the movie poster angle and put yourself out there, you actually start getting graffiti written on your posters, wherein people share their true, darkest feelings:


I like that someone wrote MOLESTER with the same shade of red as the poster...and that the second person appropriated that into the oldest joke in the world. Culture in action!

3:35 PM

puddling about

4:17 AM

Friday, January 18, 2008


4:50 PM

Happy Tears

3:14 PM

So hard for me to just embrace the lens.

2:49 PM

Cult of Mac » Blog Archive » MacBook Air - The Final Word. At Least For Now.:

Steve made a machine for himself, as ever. It’s just a shame that this time his view of the world was so vastly different from the realities most of us have to deal with. He lives in Palo Alto, where WiFi is ubiquitous, so forget about a 3G modem on the Air. He has a million external data storage options and more powerful computers at his disposal, so keep the hard drive tiny. He won’t buy the one with a regular hard drive, so throw in a slow, unreliable iPod hard drive instead of a real one. The rich people like Steve will all buy the one with the SSD in it, so who cares about the low end?

At the end of the day, this is my take on the MacBook Air: Gorgeous design solving a questionable goal of ultimate thinness. The model with the SSD is a dream secondary computer for the rich and famous. The other one is going to be unsatisfying to a lot of people. Most importantly, it’s just not small enough. Who decided that thin was the only way to go about making a full-featured laptop that doesn’t weigh much? And the 12
Powerbook still hasn’t been topped as a design triumph at Apple. Period.

2:48 PM

Call Me Fishmeal.: MacBook Air Haters: Suck My Dick:

I'm a programmer. I just want a machine I can write software on. Once, I loved gadgets, too, but now I really just want a gadget that (a) works, and (b) is beautiful and easy-to-use. Sure, my iPhone doesn't have as many raw features as my lawyer's Blackberry + RAZR combined (she carries both). But I understand my iPhone, and I don't have to learn it, because it's learned me. I can take a photo in three seconds, and so can she (we tested) even though she'd never seen an iPhone before.

I can't take apart my Kitchenaid blender. If they come out with a new motor, I'm screwed. It's not upgradeable! And when the motor blows (as it DID... grrr), I have to send it back. I can't take apart my car. When Lotus came out with a bolt-on supercharger, I had to (gasp) take it to the dealer to have it put in. Somehow I survived.

I don't buy a laptop because I want to replace its drive in a year. I buy it because it seems great and meets my needs today. If my needs magically morph over the coming year, I guess I'll sell it on eBay. Or pay Apple to throw in a different drive, or something. Honestly, I think we need to admit that just because machines get faster every year, doesn't mean that the majority of people need faster machines.

2:46 PM

True blue~

2:21 PM

Suggests - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:

The Stranger Suggests
January 16 - January 23

1:26 PM

2.5MV abstract 5

1:59 AM

Can you help pick a name??

1:56 AM

2195552170 2Bb36Cb42B B

1:55 AM

The satire is political, in 'Monopoly!' and personal, in 'Kvetch':

Virtuoso raconteur Mike Daisey takes on Microsoft and Wal-Mart against a background of antique capitalist foible fables involving Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. There's also a foray into the anguished birth of the cherished board game Monopoly.

1:54 AM

Thursday, January 17, 2008


5:25 PM

The Arts | Monologuist Mike Daisey gets fired up about two Seattle shows | Seattle Times Newspaper:

In casual conversation, Mike Daisey is generally polite, agreeable and doesn't come across as a flame-throwing theater radical.

And the format of the semiautobiographical monologues he crafts (with director-wife Jean-Michele Gregory) and performs around the U.S. and abroad is simplicity itself.

In the manner of the late, great solo spieler Spalding Gray, the fair-haired, round-bodied Daisey works on stage garnished by a small table.

No video projections, no music, no lighting effects. Just a very smart, funny guy ... yakking.

But also like the late Gray, Daisey is a riveting raconteur — and a sly provocateur.

5:24 PM


5:22 PM

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Microsoft seeks patent for office 'spy' software - Times Online:

Microsoft is developing Big Brother-style software capable of remotely monitoring a worker’s productivity, physical wellbeing and competence.

The Times has seen a patent application filed by the company for a computer system that links workers to their computers via wireless sensors that measure their metabolism. The system would allow managers to monitor employees’ performance by measuring their heart rate, body temperature, movement, facial expression and blood pressure. Unions said they fear that employees could be dismissed on the basis of a computer’s assessment of their physiological state.

Technology allowing constant monitoring of workers was previously limited to pilots, firefighters and Nasa astronauts. This is believed to be the first time a company has proposed developing such software for mainstream workplaces.

10:39 AM

Eagle Warehouse

10:39 AM

Forest Whitaker to Lead ‘The Patriots’ -- Vulture -- Entertainment & Culture Blog -- New York Magazine:

Daisey Explains How Theater Failed America: Following a sold-out performance this past weekend, America's wettest monologist Mike Daisey brings his sure-to-be-controversial How Theater Failed America back to the Public Theater for five nights in April and May at Joe’s Pub.

10:35 AM

speeding tunnel

10:35 AM

Playbill News: Daisey Will Ponder How Theater Failed America at Joe's Pub:

Extemporaneous monologist Mike Daisey will take to the intimate stage of Joe's Pub this spring to address the state of theatre in America.

Daisey will present his latest work, How Theater Failed America, April 14, 21 and 28 and May 4 and 11 at 7 PM.

3:49 AM

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


3:30 PM

J.J. Abrams TED talk: "Mystery in a Box" (video) - Boing Boing:

Abrams started his talk by showing a wrapped box he's owned for decades. It's a "mystery package" he bought from Lou Tannen's Magic store in New York. It has a big question mark on it. He's never opened the box and never will open it because he says the mystery of what's inside the box is more interesting than anything that might be in the box. "It represents infinite possibility; it represents hope; it represents potential... mystery is the catalyst for imagination... maybe there are times where mystery is more important than knowledge." 

6:19 AM

6:19 AM

The Blog of Grammatically Obsessed Comedian Jennifer Dziura: Mideast tour: white people and a total lack of irony:

Towards the end of the tour, we did a show on the USS Enterprise, and the ship's media officer did taped interviews of us for the ship's local TV channel (when they don't have something like a rerun of last night's comedy show to play, it's just a blue screen with motivational messages scrolling by). Despite all the (wry, offbeat) quotes that could've been extracted from those interviews, when the ship's newsletter came out the next morning, it was peppered with made-up (unfunny) quotes purportedly from the comics, things like, "Performing for the troops who are defending our country makes me proud to be an American," and, "Entertaining the hardworking men and women of the USS Enterprise is the greatest experience of my life."

We did not say those things. But we forgive the "media specialist" responsible.

4:26 AM


4:07 AM


1:18 AM

Parabasis: How Theater Failed America: The Cliffs Notes:

If you can see Daisey's show, you absolutely should. It'll be back in NYC in a couple of months. But in the meantime, I thought I'd briefly talk about the show so we could all have a common frame of reference for discussing what it raises.

The show is actually two different things at once... one half of it is an excoriation of the failures of the regional theater movement over the past couple of decades. This section is drawn from Daisey's experience as an actor and as a touring monologist who is often called in to replace (as cheaply as possible) cancelled shows in a LORT theater's season. The other section is about Daisey's own experience in the theatre and how it saved his life and how he found his own voice.

12:59 AM

Milk and Blood

12:55 AM

Theatre Ideas: Mike Daisey: How Theatre Failed America:

I almost cried when I did: this is the conversation I have been trying to have on this blog for over two years, and I am so glad that Daisey has broached the subject as an insider. I hope to God he publishes this script eventually, for those of us who can't see it ourselves.

Tomorrow, I hope to post a longer response, complete with some new numbers pulled from the TCG database and the NEA report. Like Daisey, it shows a view of how theatre failed America, but from a different angle. I hope you'll check back.

12:54 AM


12:44 AM

Tongues Will Wag

That's the title of a one-man theater piece "about the eternal love affair between man and dog," to be performed tonight at 7 p.m. by Mike Daisey, an author and autobiographical monologuist who's earned critical praise from The New York Times and The New Yorker, and invited comparison to Spalding Gray, Robin Williams, Jack Black, Noam Chomsky, and Franz Kafka, among others.

Daisey himself names comedians Bill Cosby and Lewis Black as influences. Incidentally, both are dog lovers - as is Daisey, who lives in Brooklyn with his director and collaborator, Jean-Michele Gregory (who's also his wife) and the couple's dog.

"He's a small black pug named Baci," Daisey says. "He's a lean and leggy pug, the Naomi Campbell of pugs - if his needs are not expressly met he sometimes throws a cellphone at us. He certainly inspired tonight's show. [It's] about this dog and how he changed my relationship between my wife and me forever, and the humor that comes out of life with an alien creature in the house."

12:00 AM

Monday, January 14, 2008


11:59 PM

I must say, this is a crazy doubleheader.

Yesterday's show at the Public was earthshattering for me. The house was full--I mean FULL, not regional theater full, but ACTUALLY EVERY SEAT IS TAKEN UP, PEOPLE ARE STANDING IN THE BACK, FULL. It was deeply inspiring and moving to see so many folks out at 2pm on a Sunday for a show with such an admittedly negative title.

I saw many old friends, and even better I saw many I've never met before--and that is very inspiring, and humbling. Thank you.

Tonight's performance of TONGUES WILL WAG is completely sold out. I am told there will be rush tickets available starting at 6:30 for the 7pm curtain, if you'd like to make it in.


3:14 PM

1:40 PM


1:27 AM

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Long Wharf rocks the boat - Entertainment News, Legit News, Media - Variety:

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- A new $50 million Long Wharf Theater in a hip district of downtown New Haven is causing leaders of the 43-year-old institution, one of the oldest in the regional theater movement, to ask: "Who are we?"

With a graying -- and declining -- subscription base familiar to many U.S. regionals, Gordon Edelstein, a.d. of the Tony-winning theater for the past six years, sees part of the answer in the programming of provocative new plays by both emerging and established playwrights.

10:18 PM

colourful papers

10:11 PM

I survived.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

10:04 PM

This is it.

My thanks to everyone who has been so incredibly supportive through this process--I won't make a list here, because I need to prepare and because I'll end up leaving tons of people off the list, but it includes Mark, Meiyin, Shanta, Oskar, Nicole, Bob, Tony, Susie, Shanta, Matthew, Tommy, Reggie, Heidi, Sheila, and most assuredly Jean-Michele. (I guess I did make a list. Ah well.)

I'll see you all on the other side,



PS: For those hoping to get in; I think it's not impossible, but you will definitely want to arrive very early. Best of luck!

9:15 AM

You Are Beautiful

1:41 AM

Outline is complete--took about 11 hours this time. I am tremendously psyched for tomorrow.

1:32 AM

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Two more tips from the Under The Radar festival:

Go immediately today and see small metal objects, a fantastic piece of environmental theatre set at the Whitehall ferry terminal at the southern tip of Manhattan. It's quite wonderful, and seeing a small human story play out in the midst of a huge crowd, as you watch from the seats with headphones on is pretty magical. It's only for a few more days--and it is FREE. Get all the details here.

My other must see isn't as imperative, but only because these fellows will be around NYC for quite some time: Nature Theater of Oklahoma, who have been lauded high and low as the Next Big Hot Thing. Allow me to join the applauders, as their Poetics: A Ballet Brut is a wonderful exploration that creates a vocabulary of dance that is heartfelt, passionately executed, silly and fiercely intelligent. It's the big hit of the festival, and if tickets are available you'd find them here.


On our end--we've teched the show. Now I sit down to create the outline, which will take the rest of the day into the evening.

2:11 PM


1:56 PM

TNR: Ian McEwan:

It is a bit of a problem, the title "Atheist"--no one really wants to be defined by what they do not believe in. We haven't yet settled on a name, but you wouldn't expect a Baptist minister to go around calling himself a Darwinist. But it is crucial that people who do not have a sky god and don't have a set of supernatural beliefs assert their belief in moral values and in love and in the transcendence that they might experience in landscape or art or music or sculpture or whatever. Since they do not believe in an afterlife, it makes them give more valence to life itself. The little spark that we do have becomes all the more valuable when you can't be trading off any moments for eternity.

8:41 AM



8:32 AM

Hey maaaan!

8:14 AM

it says nothing to you about your life

8:14 AM

Lessons of the New Hampshire polling fiasco:

Rasmussen Reports, another firm that blew the primary, speculates that "polling models used by Rasmussen Reports and others did not account for the very high turnout." For instance, "Rasmussen Reports normally screens out people with less voting history and less interest in the race. This might have caused us to screen out some women who might not ordinarily vote in a Primary but who came out to vote due to the historic nature of Clinton's candidacy." The firm allotted 54 percent of its final weighted sample to women. In reality, women cast 57 percent of the votes.

You weren't aware that pollsters screen out respondents, or discount their stated preferences, based on sex, race, religion, and other "demographics"? You thought polls were raw data? Silly you. Read the pollsters' post-New Hampshire explanations, and you'll learn about all the formulas they use to "refine" their data before you see it. They apply "likely voter screens," "demographics," "turnout models," and "allocation of undecideds." In this case, their big mistake was underweighting responses from older women and overweighting responses from independents and young voters.

Lesson: Polls aren't raw data. They're data modified by assumptions. Pollsters should publish their assumptions so we know what we're eating.

8:11 AM

Friday, January 11, 2008


7:35 PM

A brief report from the Under The Radar Festival:

* Even more full than last year--this has become the de facto epicenter for new work in NYC, and you can feel how the festival's tendrils have extended--it's truly enormous at this point. It may be the most exciting time of year for NYC theater, especially theater that one can actually afford to see.

* If you have tickets to any show, get there early--the lobby can be a madhouse with four or five shows launching at once, and you'll need time to get sorted out, especially if you are seeing sold out shows. People are managing to get in to sold out shows by arriving early, so if that's your plan ensure that you do.

* TERMINUS is absolutely amazing--a fantastic, magical piece of storytelling and theater from the Abbey Theatre. Get a ticket to it right the fuck now.

* Reggie Watts' DISINFORMATION is wonderful. I know Reggie and his director from way, way back, and this is the best adaptation of the late-nineties absurdist sketch comedy fused with masterful sonic play and Reggie's signature presence. You would be a fool to miss it.

* Finally, this isn't at UTR but I must say that I saw HAPPY DAYS at BAM on Tuesday, and even though I was impossibly busy this week I've rarely been more happy about my time investment. Fiona Shaw is brilliant in this role, and its a staggering production--I'd never really enjoyed this particular work as much as others by Beckett, and now I see the error of my ways. Brantley's review is here, and tickets may still be available here.


And as for me?

I'm extremely excited, nervous and above all things, pregnant with the new show. I can feel it roiling inside me, and I am having trouble focusing on anything around me with any detail. So many conversations, interviews, facts and figures are still spinning inside me, and I can feel the edges of structure beginning to emerge out of myself--hints, shapes, edges of reason and argument. I am so afraid of ego, of losing the thread, of not standing up for the things I want to speak about, of so many things....but my fear is a light patina on top of a growing resolve. I just hope that I am enough for it, and that I can serve the story well, and that it passes over and through me completely.

I wonder what will happen. There is so little we can know.

12:41 PM


11:43 AM

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Letter from California: Château Scientology: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker:

The path to becoming an “Operating Thetan,” or pure spiritual being (“thetan” being Hubbard’s word for the soul), is laid out in a table called “The Bridge to Total Freedom: Scientology Classification Gradation and Awareness Chart of Levels and Certificates.” Scientology is a technological religion and claims to have developed “exact, precise methods to increase man’s spiritual awareness and capability.” Completion of the Bridge takes years, and each stage requires a cash investment. An initial twelve-and-a-half-hour auditing session costs between six and seven hundred dollars, Greg LaClaire, a vice-president of Celebrity Centre, says. (Aspiring Scientologists can mitigate the expense by choosing to be audited by a fellow initiate rather than by a staff member.) In the Holiday 2007 Dianetics and Scientology catalogue, a deluxe Planetary Dissemination Edition E-Meter—billed as a “tool for Golden Age of Tech certainty,” to assist in “faster progress up The Bridge”—was offered, in “Diamond Blue,” for five thousand five hundred dollars.

10:36 PM

to live is to feel oneself lost

10:35 PM

Gone Indie — Thought Palace:

Finally — and this may seem petty — Apple’s lack of individuality bugs me. I don’t mean internally: within the company, communication is reasonably open (modulo confidentiality issues) and there’s lots of room for self-expression. But ever since the return of Steve Jobs, the company has been pretty maniacal about micro-managing its visible face, to make it as smooth and featureless as an iPod’s backside. (In my darker moments I’ve compared it to the brutal whiteness of “THX-1138”.)

It’s deeply ironic: For a company that famously celebrates individuality and Thinking Different, Apple has in the past decade kept its image remarkably impersonal. Other than the trinity who go onstage at press events — Steve Jobs, Jonathan Ive, Phil Schiller — how many people can you name who work for Apple? How many engineers?

10:33 PM

365/9: C is for Carnivore

9:59 PM

Tesla Slept Here: The Talk of the Town: The New Yorker:

According to Joseph Kinney, the chief engineer and unofficial archivist of the New Yorker Hotel (an ancillary enterprise not of this magazine but of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church), three types of inquisitive visitors regularly make pilgrimages there: (1) electrical engineers and technology enthusiasts; (2) people interested in U.F.O.s, anti-gravity airships, death-ray weapons, time travel, and telepathic pigeons; (3) Serbs and Croats. (A guest last year, Bozidar Djelic, the deputy prime minister of Serbia, inscribed for Kinney a copy of his book “Serbia: Things Will Get Better.”)

What these callers have in common is a wish to pay homage to Nikola Tesla, the tragically underappreciated Croatian-born ethnic-Serb immigrant visionary who lived at the hotel, at Thirty-fourth Street and Eighth Avenue, for ten years and, in 1943, died there, at the age of eighty-six. Despite having conceived—but, inconveniently, not necessarily having perfected patents for—dozens of revolutionary devices, Tesla during his lifetime failed to receive proper credit, or royalties, for theoretical work that made possible wireless power transmission and X-rays. It’s generally agreed that Tesla was an earlier inventor of radio than Guglielmo Marconi, who won the patent and a Nobel Prize. At the time of his death, Tesla was nearly destitute, having been bamboozled by, among others, Thomas Edison. He was undone as well by his own impracticality, deficient business acumen, and a predilection toward delusion.

8:42 AM

teeny tiny

8:24 AM


8:07 AM

Only A Journey

7:56 AM

High Water Mark

It's hard to believe, but at one point the water rose to this
level. No one had seen anything like it. People on rooftops.
Cows and coffins floating through the streets. Prisoners
carrying invalids from their rooms. The barkeeper consoling
the preacher. A coon hound who showed up a month later
forty miles downstream. And all that mud it left behind. You
never forget times like those. They become part of who you
are. You describe them to your grandchildren. But they think
it's just another tale in which animals talk and people live
forever. I know it's not the kind of thing you ought to say...
But I wouldn't mind seeing another good flood before I die.
It's been dry for decades. Next time I think I'll just let go and
drift downstream and see where I end up.

David Shumate

7:55 AM

Sunset... Star-rise...

7:55 AM

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Seattlest: We Interview: Mike Daisey, About His Monopoly On Funny, Fiery Monologues:

Q: You’re very funny onstage, but getting angry is a key element, too. What’s the role of anger in your work?

A: A monologue is an interesting form because your job is to remove as many boundaries as possible between yourself and the audience. It’s an attempt to create as unmediated a space as you possibly can, and try to be truly present when you’re talking. One of the consequences of that is people become more themselves when they perform – those elements that are central, integral to them are heightened. They’re what resonate, and I’m very angry. So that becomes a palpable thread through most of my pieces. I think that a lot of my pieces are informed by my rage at different things, the state of things, things that should change or have to change or which I know will never change, the efforts and sacrifices people make to effect change. So the anger fuels and drives a lot of the work. It’s the impetus for a lot of the monologues. If I didn’t have it, I don’t know that I would practice the form. Certainly I wouldn’t in the way that I do now, because it motivates me, to find things that I feel passionately about. It’s the fire underneath things.

Q: There’s an emotional commitment to getting that upset in public.

A: Yeah. It’s rarely seen. You rarely see people upset or angry in a way that’s constructive. If the structure of the monologue is well-built, and the anger can be used to further the ends you’re interested in, it can be very compelling. Not just dramaturgically, but as a model, where we don’t get to see people model that behavior very often in a way that’s productive. Generally when you see people lose their shit, it’s not their finest hour. It’s empowering to see people experience strong, genuine emotions onstage. The form lends itself to that, to generating intense emotions.

1:37 PM

Open your eyes

1:35 PM

All tickets are thoroughly sold out for HOW THEATER FAILED AMERICA, but there are still a few seats left for TONGUES WILL WAG at Ars Nova the following night:


Click here for tickets now, before they're all gone.

1:09 PM


1:11 AM

1457694380 Ced82F5715 O

1:06 AM

God's away on business

1:04 AM

Extraterrestrial art form

1:04 AM

Taranaki reflected in the Pouakai Tarns

1:03 AM

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Along the Silk Road 2

4:33 PM


4:33 PM

Light from ice

11:05 AM

Russia says it is ahead in race to put man on Mars:

by 2025, a leading scientist was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

"We have something of a head start in this race as we have the most experience in piloted space flight," the director of the prestigious Space Research Institute, Lev Zelyony, told Interfax news agency on Tuesday.

The goal of becoming the first country to land a human on Mars is "technically and economically achievable" by 2025, he said.

Mars is the most prestigious prize for the Russian space industry if it wants to boost the country's "scientific and political prestige" through manned space flight, he said.

"We lost the race to the moon," Zelyony said.

11:00 AM

The Others

11:00 AM


The 12-day event kicking off tomorrow, now in its fourth year, showcases the talents of the most cutting-edge and dynamic new theater from around the country and across the globe.

Several performers will be familiar to New York audiences, including monologists Mike Daisey - delivering the ominously titled "How Theater Failed America" - and Obie winner Dael Orlandersmith ("Yellowman," "Beauty's Daughter") with her work-in-progress "Stoop Stories."

10:18 AM

Monday, January 07, 2008

11:33 PM

Time Out New York: Radar love:

Some shows are newer, such as Mike Daisey’s monologue How Theater Failed America. “This will be its first performance ever,” Daisey explains. His piece critiques the way repertory acting companies were supplanted by marketing teams on theater payrolls. “I hasten to add that it is also funny,” he says.

Daisey’s Invincible Summer premiered at UTR last year, and he knows the power of a good showing there. “I finalized an American Repertory Theatre gig and took the show to Yale Rep,” he says. Other success stories include the Civilians’ Gone Missing (UTR 2005), running Off Broadway at the Barrow Street Theatre through Sun 6, and The Brothers Size (UTR 2007), which recently graduated to the Public itself.

9:07 PM

B&W #17

9:07 PM

Huckabee Steps Back Into the Pulpit at Evangelical Church in N.H.:

But instead this small evangelical congregation heard from a different special guest: Baptist minister and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who delivered a sermon of more than 20 minutes on how to be part of "God's Army" in the middle school cafeteria where the congregation meets.

"When we become believers, it's as if we have signed up to be part of God's Army, to be soldiers for Christ," Huckabee told the enthusiastic audience.

"When you give yourself to Christ, some relationships have to go," he said. "It's no longer your life; you've signed it over."

2:34 PM

Sunday, January 06, 2008


1:28 PM


12:01 PM

An Angry White Guy in Chicago: The Year in the Rear View Mirror: 2007:

2007 brought the theater world the half-assed, uninspired publicity stunt that was 365 Days/ 365 Plays, an exercise in performance art that was, depending on who you asked, a great community building experience, a demonstration of the connectedness of American theater artists or a huge stunt pulled off nation-wide. Most did not, however, discuss the brilliance of any one of the 365 "plays" Lori-Parks "wrote" for the year-long festival. Why? Because, for the most part, the pieces were badly written bits of theater that left any and all of their failure or success on the shoulders of the performing artists - a feat that could have been accomplished by selecting 365 soup can labels and having 365 different companies "stage" the labels as performance art.

2:07 AM


2:01 AM

Saturday, January 05, 2008

It's official: HOW THEATER FAILED AMERICA at the Public Theater's Under The Radar Festival is SOLD OUT.

I want to thank everyone who made this possible--Mark Russell, Meiyin Wang, the rest of the fine folks at the Public, and of course all of you who bought tickets for the show--it's a remarkable thing to have completely sold out the largest theater at the Public a full ten days before the show. I'm deeply humbled and hope to dedicate my time this week to preparing to bring you a great first performance. 

I am told by The Public that there will be a rush line for seats that are available during the performance--it will open at the box office one hour before performance, at 1pm on the 13th. 


11:59 PM


11:30 PM

Huckabee thinks Canada has a giant igloo for a capital building.

No shit. He really did.

6:55 PM

Day 45 - I See You

6:51 PM

The Dance Ends for Eugene Plotkin - New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer:

Perhaps he ought to have stuck to the real story, in which a 63-year-old retired underwear seamstress in Croatia suddenly makes $2 million moving shares of Reebok stock, just days before Salomon AG's $3.8 billion acquisition of the company, which tips off the Securities and Exchange Commission to a pair of bright, young bankers who, it turns out, hatched a plan involving a Merrill Lynch analyst, a stripper, a guy from Brooklyn called Elvis Santana, and two workers at the Wisconsin plant that prints Business Week in order to rake in $6.7 million.

11:36 AM

You reel me out then you cut the string (027/365)

11:36 AM

Salman Rushdie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

In 1990, a Pakistani film was released in which Rushdie, played by Afzaal Ahmad, was depicted as plotting, soon after his publication of The Satanic Verses, to cause the downfall of "Pakistan, the stronghold of Islam" by opening a chain of casinos and discos in the country. The hero of the story, played by Mustafa Qureshi, learns of the plot and decides to quit his day job as a police officer to recruit his unemployed brothers and create a mujahid (God's soldiers) group to pursue Rushdie and slay him before the plot can go into effect.[19][20] The film was popular with Pakistani audiences, and it "presents Rushdie as a Rambo-like figure pursued by four Pakistani guerrillas"[21] and surrounded by the Israeli armed forces.[22]

Rushdie is portrayed as "a smug, bespectacled butcher in a double-breasted suit, who lives in palatial splendor, [and who] personally slaughters his enemies with a huge blood-soaked sword".[23] In the end, as the trio of brothers and their mother are being crucified by Rushdie, Allah frees them with bolts of lightning and "Rushdie is attacked by a quartet of floating holy books (the Koran, Tawrat, Zabur, and Injil), which shoot laser beams into his skull until he bursts into flame"[23], "a scene that evoked shouts of approval from [Pakistani] audiences."[21]

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Friday, January 04, 2008


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1:26 PM

OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan:

And so it begins.

We wanted exciting, we got exciting.

As this is written, late on the night of the caucuses, the outlines of the decisions seem clear: Barack Obama won.

Hillary Clinton, the inevitable, the avatar of the machine, lost.

It's huge. Even though people have been talking about this possibility for six weeks now, it's still huge. She had the money, she had the organization, the party's stars, she had Elvis behind her, and the Clinton name in a base that loved Bill. And she lost. There are always a lot of reasons for a loss, but the Ur reason in this case, the thing it all comes down to? There's something about her that makes you look, watch, think, look again, weigh and say: No.

She started out way ahead, met everyone, and lost.

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1:01 PM

Playbill News: Daisey's Tongues Will Wag Will Play the Ars Nova Jan. 14:

Extemporaneous monologist Mike Daisey will take to the intimate stage of the Ars Nova Jan. 14.

Daisey will present his latest work, Tongues Will Wag, at 8 PM. The monologue, according to press notes, is described as "a heartbreaking and hilarious story about the eternal love affair between Man and Dog."

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Edison electrocuted an elephant 105 years ago today - Boing Boing:

Today's the anniversary of Thomas Edison's vicious electrocution of a live elephant in order to prove the dangers of Nikola Tesla's alternating current and the safety of his competing direct current.

11:19 AM

nyc travels-1010436

11:18 AM

Starbucks To Begin Sinister 'Phase Two' Of Operation

"Starbucks has completed the coffee-distribution and location establishment phase of its operation, and is now ready to move into Phase Two," read a statement from Cynthia Vahlkamp, Starbucks' chief marketing officer. "We have enjoyed furnishing you with coffee-related beverages and are excited about the important role you play in our future plans. Please pardon the inconvenience while we fortify the second wave of our corporate strategy."

Though the coffee chain's specific plans are not known, existing Starbucks franchises across the nation have been locked down with titanium shutters across all windows. In each coffee shop's door hangs the familiar Starbucks logo, slightly altered to present the familiar mermaid figure as a cyclopean mermaid whose all-seeing eye forms the apex of a world-spanning pyramid.

Those living near one of the closed Starbucks outlets have reported strange glowing mists, howling and/or cowering on the part of dogs that pass by, and electromagnetic effects that cause haunting, unearthly images to appear on TV and computer screens within a one-mile radius. Experts have few theories as to what may be causing the low-frequency rumblings, half-glimpsed flashes of light, and periodic electronic beeps emanating from the once-busy shops.

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11:07 AM

Thursday, January 03, 2008

10:58 PM

Keys to the Kingdom: Entertainment & Culture:

When we last saw him, nearly 19 years ago, everybody’s favorite archaeologist was literally riding off into the sunset after having found the Holy Grail. This seemed as though it had to be the end of the adventure series that had gotten its start with Raiders of the Lost Ark, the big summertime blockbuster of 1981. But then, on the morning of June 18, 2007, Steven Spielberg, the director of the Indiana Jones movies, and George Lucas, who came up with the idea for the franchise, found themselves facing cast and crew on an empty piece of land in Deming, New Mexico. “How time flies,” Spielberg said, raising a flute of champagne, in a moment captured on video, which ended up on YouTube. “No one’s changed, we all look the same. I just want to say: Break a leg, have a good shoot, do your best work, and here’s looking at you, kids.”

10:51 PM

10:45 PM

MTA Holiday Train Show 10

10:15 PM

Slashdot | HD Monitor Causes DRM Issues with Netflix:

When I called them they confirmed my worst fears. In order to access the Watch Now service, I had to give Microsoft's DRM sniffing program access to all of the files on my hard drive. If the software found any non-Netflix video files, it would revoke my rights to the content and invalidate the DRM. This means that I would lose all the movies that I've purchased from Amazon's Unbox, just to troubleshoot the issue.

Technically, there is a way to back up the licenses before doing a DRM reset, but it's a pretty complex process, even by my standards. When I asked Netflix for more details, they referred me to Amazon for assistance.

Perhaps even worse than having to choose between having access to Netflix or giving up my Unbox movies was the realization that my real problems were actually tied to the shiny new monitor that I've already grown fond of.

Netflix's software allows them to look at the video card, cables and the monitor that you are using and when they checked mine out, it was apparently a little too high def to pass their DRM filters.

Because my computer allows me to send an unrestricted HDTV feed to my monitor, Hollywood has decided to revoke my ability to stream 480 resolution video files from Netflix. In order to fix my problem, Netflix recommended that I downgrade to a lower res VGA setup.

As part of their agreement with Hollywood, Netflix uses a program called COPP (Certified Output Protection Protocal). COPP is made by Microsoft and the protocol restricts how you are able to transfer digital files off of your PC. When I ran COPP to identify the error on my machine, it gave me an ominous warning that "the exclusive semaphere is owned by another process."

My Netflix technician told me that he had never heard of this particular error and thought that it was unique to my setup. When I consulted Microsoft, they suggested that I consult the creator of the program. Since Microsoft wrote the COPP software, I wasn't sure who to turn to after that.

The irony in all of this, is that the DRM that Hollywood is so much in love with, is really only harming their paying customers. When you do a DRM reset, it's not your pirated files that get revoked, it's the ones that you already paid for that are at risk. I'm not allowed to watch low res Netflix files, even though I have the capability to download high def torrents? How does this even make sense? It's as if the studios want their digital strategies to fail.

10:14 PM


10:14 PM

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan:

The fruits of Rove come to pass. Turn politics into religion and you'll get a preacher as your nominee.

9:13 PM


9:13 PM

Theater Listings - New York Times:

‘UNDER THE RADAR 2008’ Performances start Wednesday. This well-regarded annual festival by the downtown tastemaker Mark Russell includes new work by Dael Orlandersmith, Mark O’Rowe, Young Jean Lee and Mike Daisey. Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, at Astor Place, East Village, (212) 967-7555.

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3:53 PM

LES/East Village Street Art

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10:58 AM

Love & Rejection at the Base of the Washington Monument

9:56 AM

Joel Osteen's God really wants you to dress well, stand up straight, and get a convenient parking space. - By Chris Lehmann - Slate Magazine:

Osteen is the pastor of Houston's Lakewood Church, a Pentecostal congregation recently named the largest in the country by Outlook magazine, hosting some 47,000 souls in the former Compaq Center, where the Houston Rockets used to play. Every Sunday, he broadcasts a running string of similar homespun nuggets of wisdom—usually rife with metaphors of automotive and financial trials that resonate with his exurban flock's daily routines—while beaming incandescently before an audience of millions on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and various other cable services. And each of those sermons kicks off with Osteen's patented chant, with those 47,000 voices declaring, "This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I have what it says I have. I do what it says I can do," and building to an oddly colorful climax: "I am about to receive the incorruptible, indestructible, ever-living seed of God, and I will never be the same. Never, never, never. I will never be the same. In Jesus' name. Amen."

The chant is about as close as Osteen's relentlessly upbeat preaching ever comes to a theological doctrine, and it captures many of the key themes behind his runaway appeal.

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9:54 AM

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Technology Review: "You Don't Understand Our Audience":

The most memorable reporting I've encountered on the conflict in Iraq was delivered in the form of confetti exploding out of a cardboard tube. I had just begun working at the MIT Media Lab in March 2006 when Alyssa Wright, a lab student, got me to participate in a project called "Cherry Blossoms." I strapped on a backpack with a pair of vertical tubes sticking out of the top; they were connected to a detonation device linked to a Global Positioning System receiver. A microprocessor in the backpack contained a program that mapped the coördinates of the city of Baghdad onto those for the city of Cambridge; it also held a database of the locations of all the civilian deaths of 2005. If I went into a part of Cambridge that corresponded to a place in Iraq where civilians had died in a bombing, the detonator was triggered.

When the backpack exploded on a clear, crisp afternoon at the Media Lab, handfuls of confetti shot out of the cardboard tubes into the air, then fell slowly to earth. On each streamer of paper was written the name of an Iraqi civilian casualty. I had reported on the war (although not from Baghdad) since 2003 and was aware of persistent controversy over the numbers of Iraqi civilian dead as reported by the U.S. government and by other sources. But it wasn't until the moment of this fake explosion that the scale and horrible suddenness of the slaughter in Baghdad became vivid and tangible to me. Alyssa described her project as an upgrade to traditional journalism. "The upgrade is empathy," she said, with the severe humility that comes when you suspect you are on to something but are still uncertain you aren't being ridiculous in some way.

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10:41 PM

Returning each evening

8:24 PM

Gay News From

The Iraq government is considering the release of some 5,000 prisoners but a spokesperson said it would not include terrorists or homosexuals.

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TSA to punish fliers for facecrime - Boing Boing:

TSA screeners are learning to recognize set of secret, forbidden facial expressions. If your face slips into one of these during a TSA inspection, you will be taken off and given a thorough, secondary screening:

TSA officials will not reveal specific behaviors identified by the program -- called SPOT (Screening Passengers by Observation Technique) -- that are considered indicators of possible terrorist intent.

But a central task is to recognize microfacial expressions -- a flash of feelings that in a fraction of a second reflects emotions such as fear, anger, surprise or contempt, said Carl Maccario, who helped start the program for TSA.

"In the SPOT program, we have a conversation with (passengers) and we ask them about their trip," said Maccario from his office in Boston. "When someone lies or tries to be deceptive, ... there are behavior cues that show it. ... A brief flash of fear."

Making Light's Avram Grumer draws a vivid parallel to Orwell's facecrime:

He did not know how long she had been looking at him, but perhaps for as much as five minutes, and it was possible that his features had not been perfectly under control. It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself — anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offence. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called. (Nineteen Eighty-Four, Part 1, Chapter 5)

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1:35 PM

The Boston Globe asked me and an eclectic bunch of folks (David Cross, Robert Brustein, Ben Karlin, Branford Masalis and more) about what we were "so over" in the new year. My answer was ridiculous but heartfelt--others went all over the map, and it's a light but interesting read.

Over and Out - The Boston Globe:

Bored with Britney? Done with the Dow? Sick of steroids? You are not alone. As the new year approaches, we asked our decidedly unscientific panel what they were 'so over' in 2007. From the responses, we can already forecast a frustrating 2008 for a few of our esteemed experts.

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12:05 PM

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Iowa's undemocratic caucuses are no way to choose a presidential candidate.

I was in Des Moines and Ames in the early fall, and I must say that, as small and landlocked and white and rural as Iowa is, I would be happy to give an opening bid in our electoral process to its warm and generous and serious people. But this is not what the caucus racket actually does. What it does is give the whip hand to the moneyed political professionals, to the full-time party hacks and manipulators, to the shady pollsters and the cynical media boosters, and to the supporters of fringe and crackpot candidates. It is impossible that the Republican Party could be saddled with a clown like Huckabee if there were a serious primary in Iowa, let alone if the process were kicked off in Chicago or Los Angeles or Atlanta. (Remember that not Iowa but its "caucuses" put Pat Robertson ahead of George H.W. Bush in the race for the GOP nomination in 1988.) The process might be a good way for Iowa to pick its party convention delegates, though I frankly doubt even that. It is an absolutely terrible way in which to select candidates for the presidency, and it makes the United States look and feel like a banana republic both at home and overseas.

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5:45 PM

the insanity cometh

3:40 PM

When I say "eat" you EAT!!

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3:36 PM

The BEAST: America's Best Fiend:

5. Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid

Charges: Graduates of the Neville Chamberlain school of appeasement, the Democratic leadership continues to ignore the constitution-and the American people-by keeping impeachment "off the table" and refusing to defund the war. True pushovers, they're too stupid, cowardly, weak and outmatched politically to accomplish anything substantive, their "strategy" essentially boiling down to whining a lot while handing Bush whatever the hell he wants. There is just no way that appearing this weak and ineffectual could be any better for them politically than impeachment. Everything that the White House gets away with, it gets away with because congress allows it.

Exhibit A: Failure to woo the two thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto is moot: They could defund the war with a 41-senator budgetary filibuster. But that would take guts and conviction.

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2:50 AM

Seattle Spotlight: January 2008: Into The BreachCity Spotlight on

The Capitol Hill Arts Center hosts renowned monologist Mike Daisey in Monopoly! (January 18-February 3), which explores the warped genius of inventor Nikola Tesla and his war with Thomas Edison over electricity, followed by How Theater Failed America (February 8-10), which takes stock of the dystopian state of theater in America.

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