Sunday, May 31, 2009


2:20 PM

Saturday, May 30, 2009


11:45 PM

In The Frying Pan!

9:26 PM

Thomas Garvey at The Hub Review has responded to my post some weeks ago.

There are two things that are factually in error in his response. The first:

Mr. Daisey even took it upon himself to thoroughly fisk some comments I made about his arguments on Art Hennessey's blog - as is his wont, without notifying me or allowing the possibility of any response.

Mr. Garvey, this is the INTERNET. You can respond anywhere you fact, I believe that where you posted this bizarre complaint is in fact YOUR RESPONSE ON YOUR SITE.

At the post I was respondeding to (
link) you can actually see my notification in the comments, where I let the world (and Mr. Garvey) know that I have made comments at my site. I never feel that is required, but I generally do it as a courtesy.

There's all sorts of
mystical technology on the internet that keep people informed when they are referenced or their site linked to. It has been my policy for some time that if people can't figure out how to know when they are being publicly commented on, they need to rectify that or take an off ramp from the Information Superhighway.

The second correction is for a humorous subtitle he uses under a picture of me:

You talkin' ta me? 'Cause I'm Mike Daisey, and I'm the only actor here!

I have said this here many times: I AM NOT AN ACTOR. I'm an independent artist working in the American theater. I'm not contained or constrained within the system that actors work within. I negotiate my own contracts, and make my own way in the world. I don't memorize lines, I don't play a role, I am not functioning as an actor within this system. If I lived within that system I would never have been able to give voice to HOW THEATER FAILED AMERICA.

When I work to improve conditions for actors, including pay, stability, and security, that won't change my own negotiations in any way. If I'm able to create artist/staff hybrid positions I don't expect I'll be in line for one, as I have different priorities.

After Mr. Garvey makes clear he believes I am a callow opportunist and an insecure lout, he says:

The fact that his cries for justice simultaneously operate as a means of self-promotion - for a show that, inevitably, takes paying jobs away from other actors - only means that he's a hypocrite, not that he's wrong.

Even when accompanied by insults, it is always a pleasure to hear someone admit that you're right.

After Mr. Garvey teeth-grittingly admits I am right, he writes very clearly and well about the market stressors that bring us to where we are now—there's not much that is new to the conversation, but it is very well put in a small amount of space. He'll be talking about these issues in a follow-up post, which I look forward to.

8:52 PM

Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes.  (Quote by Pope John II)

5:51 PM

Gawker - The Recession is Over! How We Celebrating? - Recessionomics:

Still, if the Great Recession does hightail it this year, I'll miss it. There's been something comforting about watching everything we've been taught to value liquefy into a river of shit. Plus when else will we get to see so many colossal hypocrites stripped down so publicly, like a daily Albee climax. The haute monde, the scions of capitalism — they were all exposed as liars or morons (or both), while everyone else was a deluded casualty. We got to watch, read, and blog while the system collapsed under its own hubris, flushing the white collars out of Midtown and Wall Street like a burst dam. There was nowhere to go but down. Sure took the pressure off.

4:22 PM


4:22 PM

The Making of Zach Galifianakis -

Perhaps more than anyone else in the business, Galifianakis embodies the rebellion against the outmoded Comedy Club circuit — the exposed brick, the two-drink minimum, the indifferent audience, the “regular guy with an attitude” routine — which has come to be labeled the “indie comedy” movement. “Zach is so conceptual,” Sarah Silverman, who has known and worked with Galifianakis since the mid-’90s, told me. “He’s definitely part of the excitement of this shift, this idea of comedy as art. Whether he’s at his piano, offering deadpan one-liners, or trying out some brand-new conceptual piece — like the ways he uses musicians, or flip-board messages, or the first thing that comes into his head — he is so totally original and thrilling to watch.”

12:51 AM

12:38 AM


12:08 AM

Friday, May 29, 2009


4:36 PM

2:16 PM

"Stupid garbage compactor ..."

1:13 PM

Gawker - Rehashing Your 'Coke Whore' Past for Fun and Profit - Danielle staub:

UPDATE: A Bravo rep got back to us with their stock response to the Staub controversy, the most delightfully absurd work of flack lunacy we've encountered in a long, long time: "Bravo does not comment on the personal lives of our talent." Eleven words, three lies: Guess what they are!

1:12 PM


12:50 PM

Whispering Secrets I Know I'm Not Supposed to Hear

12:21 PM

Arlene Goldbard's piece on the appointment of Rocco Landesman is laden with exactly the kind of smugness that makes me grind my teeth when I encounter it in the non-profit arts world. Check out the opening:

In case he reads this, I’ll summarize my advice up front: Rocco Landesman, the intelligence, risk-taking and independence for which you are admired on Broadway will be of little use to this country unless you recognize how much you have to learn about the public interest in culture and democracy, committing to educate yourself, pronto. I sincerely hope you accept this challenge.

Translation: you're an ignorant idiot—you probably can't or won't learn anything, but at least when you don't I'll be able to say "I told you so."

She does recognize that Dana Gioia was a disaster, so we're not disagreeing on everything—and I understand her ambivalence about even caring about what the NEA is funding, while simultaneously holding the symbolism of the NEA in regard as a long-dimming promise made to the American people.

Rocco and I don't agree on everything, but equating his appointment with that of Jane Alexander is insulting—Rocco has worked tirelessly in the theater for decades, producing some of the most critically-lauded shows of the last thirty years. He's studied and taught theater history and management at Yale, and has a long history publishing critical thinking on the state of theater and the arts in this country.

Tellingly she chooses to cherrypick quotes from a 1994 NewYorker profile of Landesman. More illuminating would have been if she had chosen to address
his 2000 essay on the non-profit theater movement, or any of his other writings on the subject. Rocco is extremely outspoken—there's no shortage of his opinion. It seems a shame to pick apart fifteen year-old profiles when one can actually wrestle with the man's ideas.

At one point Goldbard says:

The people who feel this way see Landesman as an intelligent and independent risk-taker, a no-nonsense entrepreneur whose remarkable commercial success will somehow translate into an era of thriving expansion for the NEA.

This omits an important detail: it's commercial AND critical success. Artistic success. And his success is tied directly to his skill at negotiating, and his personal charisma, both of which are high.

The counterargument is:

The people who are dismayed by his appointment see the yawning gap between the skills, values and expertise of a Broadway producer and the qualities and abilities needed in the person appointed to nurture and safeguard a cultural democracy encompassing the entire arts ecology.

We're dealing with the NEA, which just suffered terribly under Gioia's "leadership"—who would be a better fit? Who has the policy experience, tied to leadership and charisma to revitalize the NEA?

Rocco is a bold choice—I'd argue that arts in America have long been guilty of never making bold choices, accepting less and less, compromising and conceding and shrinking.

If not Rocco, who?

4:09 AM

Thursday, May 28, 2009


11:20 PM

Don’t pin the recession on AIG’s Joe Cassano - True/Slant:

Having written one of many articles identifying Cassano as a key cause of the crisis, I guess I and people like me should have seen this coming — that at some point down the road a general consensus would form blaming some rogue individual for the financial crisis. And while Joe Cassano is certainly as guilty as a person can be, the notion that he alone is responsible for this mess is not only appalling but extremely dangerous. The people who would believe such a thing are the same people who believe that this crisis might have been avoided if a few minor changes had been made. I’ve heard people say, for instance, that much havoc could have been avoidded if there had just been a law mandating margin requirements for CDS contracts, so that people like Cassano couldn’t make bets without the money to pay off.

This is bullshit. And it’s dangerous bullshit. The problem isn’t a few technical glitches in the system that allowed the Cassanos of the world to drive Mack Trucks of leverage through a loophole or two.
The problem is, at its roots, a profound collapse of morals on Wall Street that would have found its way to financial destruction using any available set of instruments and laws. We are talking about people who sold giant rafts of bullshit mortgages to pensions, who stuck municipalities, innocent taxpayers, with time-bombs of subprime debt. And not just one trader here and there, but thousands of them, with the sober approval of the highest level executives in the biggest firms. On its most basic level what these people did is rip off huge institutional investors — old people, taxpayers, you and me — by finding ways to game the system and trick the big institutional fund managers into buying what they thought were safe investments, but were actually financial lemons that could barely make it out of the lot.

5:38 PM

a lady hopes for the best...

5:38 PM

Five Questions for Walter Kirn « Culturebot:

5. Have you ever had to make a choice between work and art? What did you choose, why, and what was the outcome?

I used to think that work and art were opposed somehow, like marriage and true love, say, but over the years I’ve come to see that keeping work out of your art and vice-a-versa impoverishes both of them. At Oxford I learned that our language’s greatest writers, from Shakespeare to Dr. Johnson, collapsed this distinction, singing for their suppers without apologies.
The notion that mere toil and fine expression are separate activities is mostly propounded by wealthy amateurs.

4:59 PM

Burlesque arrives

4:59 PM

Mike Arauz: Listen to Mike Daisey Tell You A Story:

Listen to this recording of Mike Daisey telling a story about Maureen Dowd, Facebook, Twitter, the death of print media, the movie Young Guns, douchebags, and more. There's a lot that will ring true - and hilarious - for anyone who spends time thinking about how we use the internet. (Warning: contains some NSFW language.)

Mike Daisey is a master storyteller. I've been fortunate enough to follow his work since his first New York production 21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ back in 2002. I've probably seen Mike tell his stories live over a dozen times. Now it's your turn to hear what's so great about him.

Mike performs these stories extemporaneously, i.e. without a script. He simply sits at a desk with a basic outline of topics to cover and proceeds to weave together these incredibly complex and compelling tales.

4:54 PM

158.365 – Catch Yourself

4:54 PM

The Economic Downturn Has Made Everything Boring | new curator:

The late J. G. Ballard once said:

I would sum up my fear about the future in one word: boring. And that’s my one fear: that everything has happened; nothing exciting or new or interesting is ever going to happen again… the future is just going to be a vast, conforming suburb of the soul.

The Ballardian nightmare is that we would run out of innovation. If news patterns are anything to go by, the recession has done something worse: It has put our future on pause.

I’m viewing this through newcurator editorial lens. Everything I blogged was chosen (sort of) carefully. They were not all heralds of a sweeping changes in the museum mainstream, nor end points of discussion. They were little steps or small shifts along a path that I would sometimes get demonstrative over to make a point. I notice there has been a a distinct lack of these steps compared to a couple of months ago; an innovation downturn. Don’t believe what the New York Times says about “Tight Times Loosen Creativity”. What Mike Daisey (and Susie Bright) posted in response says it better than I could.

4:53 PM


4:52 PM

Live Arts & Fringe Festival Blog: Bacon Is Delicious. And Mysterious. Unless You're Vegan. Then Only Mysterious.:

Mike Daisey is, bluntly, a brilliant performer. His monologue The Last Cargo Cult will see its world premiere at the 2009 Live Arts Festival, where he'll also perform his show How Theater Failed America. Last month, he launched "Mysteries of the Unexplained" at Joe's Pub in Manhattan. It's a series of one-off, one-night-only performances, each of which takes on one mysterious topic.

4:51 PM


4:51 PM

Skull and Bones - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Members are assigned nicknames. "Long Devil" is assigned to the tallest member; "Boaz" goes to any member who is a varsity football captain. Many of the chosen names are drawn from literature ("Hamlet," "Uncle Remus"), from religion and from myth. The banker Lewis Lapham passed on his name, "Sancho Panza," to the political adviser Tex McCrary. Averell Harriman was "Thor," Henry Luce was "Baal," McGeorge Bundy was "Odin." George H. W. Bush was "Magog," a name reserved for a member considered to have the most sexual experience. George W. Bush, unable to decide, was temporarily called "Temporary," and the name was never changed.[9]

12:53 AM

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


1:15 AM


1:07 AM

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


11:06 PM

You have to give this son of a bitch credit for his balls:


10:41 PM

Our thanks to everyone who came out for the first MYSTERIES OF THE UNEXPLAINED in early May. The topic was FACEBOOK—that phenomenon was addressed, as was Maureen Dowd, the death of print media, the movie Young Guns, the evolution of douchebags, and all points between.

Because we sold out quickly many of you didn't get to see the show, so follow the link below to listen to a recording of the evening here:

Mysteries of the Unexplained: FACEBOOK!

Thanks to all of you who submitted new topics for future
MYSTERIES OF THE UNEXPLAINED. Some of our favorite submissions included:

Whole Foods

Crop Circles

Bed Bugs or the MTA--both are creepy

Attachment Parenting

Attention Deficit Disorder (Note: show must be in 3 acts of only 12 minutes each)

Ayn Rand


What Do Women Want? Really, Seriously! I mean it!!!

But the winning submission was provided by Rishi Chatrath, who will receive free tickets to see his suggestion brought to life onstage on June 8th:


Mike Daisey Presents
June 8th at 9:30pm
Joe's Pub at the Public Theater

We return to Joe’s Pub with a one-night orgy of all things bacon: from sizzling fat to swine flu, from baco-bits to Hasids to Charlotte’s Web. In one delicious hour we’ll explore bacon in all its filthy, gorgeous deliciousness.

*** Note: Bacon will be cooked and served by the performer during the performance. ***

Tickets are limited and will go quickly, so to avoid a terrifying bacon-less future order at the following

Be seeing you,


PS: This is not a joke. There really will be bacon for all who attend.


3:39 PM

Behind the scenes at FAT

3:35 PM

Shouts & Murmurs: My Quiet Time: Humor: The New Yorker:

By 1:03, I’ve had two cups of coffee, I’m down in my basement on the elliptical, and my heart is pounding like a cheetah’s. I know that cheetahs have a fast heart rate because I often watch Animal Planet while I’m on the elliptical, although sometimes I’ll do the picture-in-picture thing so I can watch CNBC Asia while I’m watching the thing about the cheetahs. It isn’t always about cheetahs; it’s about other animals, too, like meerkats. I just said cheetahs as a for instance. I do the elliptical naked. One time when I was on the elliptical, I patched myself into a conference call in Jakarta and accidentally hit the camera thing on my phone, so everyone wound up seeing me in the buff, all flopping around and everything. Another time when I was on the elliptical, I saw an amazing documentary about cheetahs.

2:41 PM

Monday, May 25, 2009


1:59 AM

Saturday, May 23, 2009


8:47 PM

Parabasis: Mission Paradox on Endowed Artist Chairs:

I think (correct me if I'm wrong here, Adam) where this quibble flows from is that Adam believes that donors aren't resistant to funding people rather than buildings, it's that they're generally unaware that the people are so underfunded. Therefore there's no real need for a new funding model for artists, we just need institutions to use the old model correctly.

The problem is... well, they don't use them correctly. They largely haven't over the past couple of decades and that's how we got here.  So to me, having some structure in place (dare I say... a lock box?) the ensures that money go to a specific worthwhile and important goal that institutions frequently shortchange is a positive not a negative thing. I understand it might not be in the institutions self-interest, but again that might in some cases be a positive.

5:57 PM

birthday party

12:57 PM


12:55 PM


11:47 AM

Morning Musings:

The time you told me you loved me I was, yup, you guessed it, at a rave. i was on drugs. i thought it was e that we bought, but apparently no. i was sinking into the floor and i told you i loved you and you said nothing. wine and feathers were flying through the air and i was clinging to your long body for stability. after the parade of feathers and people in weird outfits had passed you told me you loved me and my heart did something really weird.

1:27 AM

Our Theme Music | You Look Nice Today:

Our opening theme music is a track called “Pony Gallop (Morning Surprise),” by the Five Senses. They were a mostly-ukulele jam band out of Montréal, famous for their 4 hour sitar/uke trance sessions and subsequent pancake breakfasts. Sadly, their CD’s were deemed “obscene” by US Customs (a clerical error, one must assume), and all copies were destroyed at the border. Worse, the band had forgotten to hold on to the original recordings.

1:20 AM

How I got addicted to playing games on my iPhone. - By Farhad Manjoo - Slate Magazine:

When I tell people that my iPhone isn't a very good phone—its reception in my apartment is so terrible that I reach for Skype as an alternative—they look at me as if I'm an idiot. Why pay all that money for a phone that doesn't phone? But the iPhone's name is a marketing trick; it's really a mobile computer that I occasionally use to make crappy phone calls.

12:42 AM

Friday, May 22, 2009


11:47 AM

Thursday, May 21, 2009

9:46 PM

Franklin among laid off WMA staffers - Entertainment News, Entertainment Industry & the Economy, Media - Variety:

Peter Franklin, the longtime head of WMA's theater department, was among the 100-plus WMA staffers to get a pink slip earlier this week.

A fixture at the agency, Franklin worked with a list of firmly established legit creatives including Edward Albee, Arthur Laurents and Terrence McNally.

News of Franklin's departure amid the consolidation of WMA and Endeavor operations sounds like confirmation of long-swirling rumors that the WMA theater department would be shut down in the merger with Endeavor. However, a rep for WME said there are no plans to scuttle the division.

I call bullshit—it's TOTALLY a sign that WMA doesn't give a tin shit about the theater division, regardless of who is in the stable, and even if there is the possibility of film/TV adaptation. They are cleaning house and planning for the future post-Endeavor, and in William Morris' eyes that future doesn't include theater.

Franklin is as big as they come in the world of legit theater agents. That they'd be willing to kick him to the curb so brazenly indicates a belief that the fearful playwrights and directors will stick with WMA...and also some degree of not caring whether they do or not. Theater income is a rounding error in the William Morris shark tank.

This is the kind of theater news that most will gloss over or not appreciate, but it's actually a really big indicator, and more of the kind of seismic tremors occurring as theater retracts and appears less relevant as a cultural medium to corporate moneymakers.

(Full disclosure: I've worked with William Morris—or was that unclear?  ;)

2:30 PM


6:51 AM

Kindle Bloggers Become Amazon’s Bitches : Edward Champion’s Reluctant Habits:

Not only do you give Amazon “a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide right and license to distribute” your blogging, but you also give this up to affiliates and independent contractors. So let’s say a major publisher decides to “independently contract” with Amazon. And they see a blog that they like. Well, guess what? They can take your content, publish it as a book, and collect the revenue without paying you a dime. Because Section 4 (”Royalties”) specifies that the blogger only gets paid for “Subscription and Single Issue sales revenues,” meaning any of the 30% revenue that you’re going to get with the Kindle. And I particularly love how Section 5 gives the blogger a mere six months to file a legal claim, which is “limited to a determination of the amount of monies” and not operational practices. You know, trivial concerns such as Amazon distributing your content to affiliates and independent contractors without the blogger’s consent.

I am extremely saddened to see so many of my fellow bloggers betray their interests. They have happily become corporate slaves, granting “a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide right and license” to their thoughtful essays and carefully written posts.

1:01 AM

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

11:56 PM


11:46 PM

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

In November I had coffee in New York with Kate Whoriskey, one of the most well-regarded under-40 stage directors in the country. She was working with Elizabeth Franz on the New York debut of Julia Cho’s “The Piano Teacher” at the Vineyard Theatre. Despite her success, Whoriskey said she was worried about the future. “It’s not easy living from job to job,” she told me. “Often I have no idea where the next (directing assignment) will come from, or when it will come.” Whoriskey admitted she would love to find a resident full-time position, perhaps an artistic director job at a regional theater. “This gets old after a while,” she said of her itinerant and meager existence.

Whoriskey is a very compelling and likely choice to replace Bart Sher at Intiman. I have no inside track—I'm just saying that she has a fantastic resume, has worked on some excellent and provocative projects and just directed the Pulitzer Prize-winning RUINED.

She's also directed both THE CHAIRS and BLUE/ORANGE at Intiman, and was in residence at Intiman on a TCG New Generations grant.

6:48 PM


10:05 AM

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Playgoer: Bart Sher: On the Move?:

Gossip aside, though, there is a larger question: what do we make of jetsetting regional theater Artistic Directors who spend more time in NYC than in their "home" town? Lord knows, there have been several. Jack O'Brien ran a veritable Broadway empire for years out of the Old Globe. Ditto Des McAnuff at LaJolla. (And now at Canada's Stratford Festival.)

Kind of reminds me of Mike Daisey's image in "How Theater Failed America" of NY actors being freeze-dried and flown into random cities for their six weeks before being sent back to NY. If our "regionals" need to build stronger bonds with their local communities, shouldn't it start at the top? With Artistic Directors truly living and working there year-round?

11:30 PM

Azzurro .....

11:30 PM

Recession Comes to the Professionals:

Business Week's Michael Mandel crunches the numbers and turns up some disturbing results. While recession has hit hardest at blue-collar workers, it is taking its toll on professional jobs as well. Unemployment for professionals overall increased by roughly four percent between August 2008 and April 2009. But the recession is hitting much harder at certain types of professionals. Computing and mathematical jobs (heavy on software engineers, computer scientists, and systems analysts) are down 9.3 percent; engineering and architectural jobs (two-thirds engineering) are down 10.3 percent; and "creative professional" jobs - working artists, musicians, dancers, entertainers, reporters, editors, writers, and other media types - are down 11.3 percent.

5:09 PM

Allison Kilkenny: What Maureen Dowd is Trying to Tell Us:

How did you ingrates expect her to maintain this level of excellence all these years without occasionally plagiarizing from a "parasitic blogger"? And yet I see this latest scandal as a cry for help from Dowd. She's trying to tell us, and her bosses at The New York Times, something very important.

Maureen Dowd wants to retire her column to Josh Marshall.

12:46 PM


12:46 PM

Monday, May 18, 2009

Obsidian Wings: The Uighurs: 1:

The short version is: the Uighurs are refugees from China who wound up in a village in Afghanistan affiliated with a group called the East Turkestan Islamic Movement. Some wanted to resist Chinese rule; some were just trying to get away from Chinese oppression; one was trying to go to Turkey and couldn't get a visa. They were not trained by al Qaeda. There is no evidence that any of them had anything against the US, or ever acted against us. The village was bombed, and they fled and were turned in by bounty hunters.

Even the Bush administration's Combatant Status Review Commissions, which were heavily slanted towards the government, found them not to be enemy combatants. (The government had decided that some of them were not enemy combatants even before their CSRT hearings.) Despite that fact, we have kept them in prison for over seven years. (After they were cleared in 2003, they could not be released back to China, since they would be tortured or killed.) That's a very long time to be locked away without having done anything. Some of them have children they have never met. Their wives and families did not know that they were alive for several years.

2:20 PM


2:18 PM


A beige toaster is a maggotbox.
A bit bucket is a data sink.
Farkled is a synonym for hosed.
Flamage is a weenie problem.
A berserker wizard gets no score for treasure.
In MUDs one acknowledges
a bonk with an oif.
(There’s a cosmic bonk/oif balance.)
Ooblick is play sludge.
A buttonhook is a hunchback.
Logic bombs can get inside
back doors. There were published bang paths
ten hops long. Designs succumbing
to creeping featuritis
are banana problems.
(“I know how to spell banana,
but I don’t know when to stop.”)
Before you reconfigure,
mount a scratch monkey.
A dogcow makes
a moof. An aliasing bug
can smash the stack.
Who wrote these tunes,
these runes you need
black art to parse?
Don’t think it’s only
genius (flaming), humor (dry),
a briefcase of cerebral dust.
A hat’s a shark fin, and the tilde’s dash
is swung: the daughter of the programmer
has got her period. It’s all about wetware at last,
and wetware lives in meatspace.

—Heather McHugh
1:26 PM


2:29 AM

1:39 AM

Sunday, May 17, 2009


10:45 PM

Alvord Playa, Oregon

10:23 PM

GROGNARDIA: An Interview with Lawrence Schick:

A more professional approach to publishing, instead of rampant cronyism and callous exploitation of the D&D fan base, would have enabled TSR to reach beyond the niche and find a broader audience. D&D would have been able to co-opt computer RPGs and collectible card games, instead of being steam-rollered by them. Ultimately Gygax and the Blumes were unable to transition effectively to the mass market, and thus lost control of their product and brand. I mean, I was only 24-25 years old in those days, and even then I could see where they were going wrong. They were done in by greed and arrogance.

10:23 PM

WET's Titus Amends a Gory Story - Seattlest: Seattle News, Food, Arts & Events:

The hipster spaceman costumes of the soldiers in Titus are your first clue that this isn't a traditional take. So too with the decision to exsanguinate Shakespeare's goriest play--each character “bleeds” red, but it's not stage blood, but rhinestones, thumb tacks, feathers, even gummy worms.

7:32 PM

Goodnight, Moon.

7:31 PM

I just received spam from a CNN-subsidiary who programs their in-flight news. I've always wondered how the material I get tortured with when I fly American Airlines gets chosen--apparently they just randomly spam people who have what appear to be tech-oriented sites with sufficient traffic.

I particularly like the part about "captive audience", which they've extended to include the folks they spam as well. I also love that they pretend that it is an invitation to appear on CNN, when it is really an invitation to advertise.

From: Tricia Chu
Subject: Invitation to Appear on the CNN Airport Network and Sky Radio
Date: May 17, 2009 9:38:33 AM EDT
To: Mike Daisey

I hope this finds you well.

Great news! Sky Radio and Video Network, the largest producer of
in-flight entertainment in the country, is pleased to announce an
exciting new partnership with CNN Airport Network.

For the month of Septemeber 2009 we will be producing our Best of Breed:
Industry Innovators, which will be broadcast exclusively throughout the
CNN Airport Network and on the American Airlines "Business and
Technology Report" In-Flight Radio Channel. This program will focus on professional
associations, societies and foundations who provide untold benefits to
their members and the economy at large.

We invite you to participate and share your story with our captive
audience of millions of executive business travelers--decision makers,
early adopters, and influencers with a high household income. Our
production team will produce a one-on-one radio interview to air on
American Airlines and the content will be extended in a video commercial
to air on the CNN Airport Network.

CNN's Airport network has a total audience of nearly 16 million viewers
per month with an average household income of $104,157. Our video
programs play at 44 of the busiest airports and over 2,000 of the
busiest gates in the United States during the CNN broadcast. To view a
sample clip, visit 

The audio interviews play on 29,000 audio-equipped American Airlines
worldwide flights reaching approximately 4.2 million travelers per
month. To hear recent audio interviews, click on

Your participation includes:

1. Production/placement of 2 minute interview to air worldwide
throughout September 2009  on 29,000 American Airlines flights reaching
4.2 million.
2. Program listing in American's American Way in-flight publication (694,000
monthly copies).
3. Production/placement of a 15-second commercial to air once daily
Monday and Wednesday during prime time 5-8pm on the CNN
Airport Network for 4 consecutive weeks airing 8 times monthly in 44 markets nationwide.
4. Production of CNN commercial includes using still photos, logos,
graphics and voice over talent and any existing b-roll footage you may
5. Rebroadcast on  with hotlink to your website for
one year.
6. Re-usage rights for promotional purposes.
7. Right to use "As heard on... " logos for airing on your site.
8. All production including scripting, recording, editing, mastering and
delivery (FAQs:

9. Introductory special rate $3,995

Space is limited.  Please call or email me if you're interested in being
in front of this audience or have any questions. Please let me know if this is something
you want to do by next Monday May 18th at noon PST.

Here are some sample video clips to see production quality:


Tricia Chi
Sky Radio Network
<address, phone and email redacted>

11:48 AM

~ lie down in the grass, close your eyes and make a wish ~

11:17 AM

Friday, May 15, 2009


I owe a small but significant debt to Nellis, the man in the picture above.

In 1997, when I was finding my feet in Seattle I hooked up with the kids at AHA! Theatre in Belltown...not knowing that I was showing up at the tail-end of an era. The theater would end up shutting down shortly after I began working with everyone there.

During that brief intersection I was asked to be involved with the final STAR DREK show, a satire/parody of Star Trek which Nellis had put heart and soul into, taking something that could have been simple fannishness but mixing it up with real theatrical chops and a talent for martini-fueled fun to make something truly extreme. They would do one last show because now that the theater was shut down, it didn't matter if Paramount came after them with more legal letters.

Nellis was always a catastrophic sort of person, who would do everything or nothing—and somehow *I*, whom no one really knew, was suddenly tasked with writing the final show when Nellis got too drunk or didn't show up, I can't recall what happened.

It was a crazy task, and I felt dwarfed by the amount of work (a whole show to write in 48 hours) the legacy of STAR DREK (it had been insanely popular in its time) and my tender age and time in the community.

It happened, in the way of all theater: we made it happen, which is much like the lessons one learns on the original Star Trek. It wasn't pretty--in fact, it was kind of a hideous trainwreck. Like
Omega Glory bad.

When Nellis saw it, he laughed and laughed. Afterward, I tried to apologize for the writing and he laughed some more.

Even though he was laughing in part at me, for needing his approval, it meant a lot to me then—even though he's the one who had thrust me into the position of having to suddenly make it happen, I knew in the end it was his mad vision I was trying to capture.

Throughout my Seattle years I continued to find a voice, and Nellis was there—at the bar after the show, outside the theaters, quick with a joke, onstage in someone else's sketch. He drank harder than almost anyone I knew, and lived fully in the garage theater world, with legions of friends...though he was hard to truly know, and a drinker, and difficult.

Nellis died today in Seattle.

I'll always be grateful because of the early push he gave me—by accident, unintended—but it was a great push.

Thank you, Nellis.

10:58 PM


10:11 PM

Mike Daisey Questions the Los Angeles Theatre Community:

As part of his five day series at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in mid-March, theatre monologuist and provocateur Mike Daisey moderated a community roundtable between eight diverse leaders in the LA theatre community and a full house of several hundred theatre artists, patrons and supporters.  Held after a sold-out performance of his famed monologue, HOW THEATER FAILED AMERICA, Mike asked a series of pointed and probing questions to the panelists and audience members, hoping that the monologue and the roundtable would provide a basis for ongoing dialogue and action in the theatre of LA in this time of change in our country.

5:02 PM


9:31 AM

the baconista blog: Unexplainable Bacon:

“Master storyteller” Mike Daisey will be at Joe’s Pub on June 8th discussing our favorite subject: bacon! Not only that but he will be cooking and serving bacon during the show! If there was ever a time to start supporting the performing arts it’s now...

Mike Daisey Presents Mysteries of the Unexplained: BACON!
Mike Daisey returns to Joe’s Pub with a one-night orgy of all things bacon: from sizzling fat to swine flu, from baco-bits to Hasids to Charlotte’s Web. In one delicious hour we’ll explore bacon in all its filthy, gorgeous deliciousness.

12:14 AM

Salisbury Cloisters

12:14 AM

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Parabasis: On Institutional Conservatism:

One force that frequently conservatises institutional theaters are their existing audiences.  Time and again as I've sat on panels and had conversations with people and read articles articulating the institutional perspective, they say "Look, we tried everything we could to attract younger/edgier audiences. They didn't come, it doesn't work, we're going back to doing what we're doing."  What this generally usually means is: "We adjusted our marketing language to try to trick them into liking the same stuff we always did and we lowered our ticket prices and they didn't respond".  The reason why is if they made the actual programming choices that would be necessary to attract the different audience they claim they want, they'd piss off their existing base.

7:31 PM


7:31 PM

A Modest Proposal: Three-Strikes for Print | Freedom to Tinker:

Yesterday the French parliament adopted a proposal to create a "three-strikes" system that would kick people off the Internet if they are accused of copyright infringement three times.

This is such a good idea that it should be applied to other media as well. Here is my modest proposal to extend three-strikes to the medium of print, that is, to words on paper.

My proposed system is simplicity itself. The government sets up a registry of accused infringers. Anybody can send a complaint to the registry, asserting that someone is infringing their copyright in the print medium. If the government registry receives three complaints about a person, that person is banned for a year from using print.

As in the Internet case, the ban applies to both reading and writing, and to all uses of print, including informal ones. In short, a banned person may not write or read anything for a year.

A few naysayers may argue that print bans might be hard to enforce, and that banning communication based on mere accusations of wrongdoing raises some minor issues of due process and free speech. But if those issues don't trouble us in the Internet setting, why should they trouble us here?

6:30 PM

Stay Wild

6:30 PM

FREE STUFF!! « Culturebot:

Baryshnikov Arts Foundation is offering theatre seats and other materials to other non-profit companies. They are completely renovating the 299-seat theatre in that space, and are looking for non-profits who might be able to make use of the seating and other materials (including a large amount of piping.)

The project supervisor has asked that anyone interested in seeing what they have call him as soon as possible. They will be stripping the seats this weekend and throwing them away, if no one can make use of them. The seats can be taken in strips, or individually, and they are in very good condition.

If people are interested, they should contact Dennis Wilkins at 732-567-6943 immediately.

4:59 PM

you could read her like an open book

4:59 PM

Re: Heckuva Job, Torturers! | Slog | The Stranger:

This is the key thing about the Bush-Cheney torture policy, and something that's often overlooked. The fact that torture produces false results was the whole point. It's not that they were stupid or incompetent for implementing a policy that had little chance of success, they undertook this policy knowing full-well that it had little chance of "success," but stood a good chance of justifying a policy they had already decided upon. They needed bullshit intelligence to support their bullshit war. The best way to get someone to admit to something that's not true? Torture them.

3:24 PM

3:24 PM

kanYe West : Blog ::


3:22 PM

(Not an error—I just love this picture of Robert Byrd.)


3:15 PM


12:03 PM


11:59 AM


12:35 AM

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

12:20 PM

Daring Fireball: The Location Field Is the New Command Line:

What I’d overlooked is that most people don’t use advanced text editors or desktop publishing software; and more importantly, most people simply don’t care about the quality of an app’s user experience. Not at all. They just want it to work, and to be “easy”.

My saying that web apps would never become popular was like a theater critic in the early 1950s dismissing television.

11:55 AM

week eight. (explore)

11:55 AM

Rocco Landesman, Broadway Producer, to Lead National Arts Endowment -

Rocco Landesman, the colorful theatrical producer and race-track aficionado who brought hits like “Big River,” “Angels in America” and “The Producers” to Broadway, has been nominated as the next chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, the White House said on Tuesday.

Rocco was on our roundtables for HOW THEATER FAILED AMERICA Off-Broadway—he's a tremendous choice, and his nomination is the highest-profile political moment for American theater in living memory.

10:22 AM

10:10 AM

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Oh No, She Didn't!:

Wanda Sykes' comedy routine at the White House Correspondent's Dinner was really offensive. In it, Sykes suggested that conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh  is supported by Hamas, and that Islamists are "constantly issuing Limbaugh talking points." She joked about terrorists supporting conservatives in general, suggesting that recent violent events in Iraq are attempts by terrorists to swing the upcoming midterm elections in favor of Republicans.

Then she got really personal. She
joked that Limbaugh was a racist who doesn't want black people to "escap[e] the underclass." She accused him of being responsible for killing "a million babies a year," and aired her friend's theory that Limbaugh himself was a terrorist attack," a followup to 9/11. She also, most disgustingly, said that if conservatives kept apologizing to Limbaugh, they'd eventually contract "anal poisoning." She wondered when Republicans would finally stop "bending over and grabbing their ankles" for Limbaugh, and finally concluded that Limbaugh was just a "bad guy."

Oh wait. Wanda Sykes didn't say any of these things. These are things Rush Limbaugh has said about Obama or other Democrats in the past year, the kind of statements few reporters found
offensive enough to write about, despite the fact that most of them were said with the utmost seriousness. And while Sykes is a mere comedian whose influence on the Democratic Party is negligible, Limbaugh's influence in the party is so great that Republican leaders can't even criticize him without having to issue apologies after the fact.

3:53 PM


3:29 AM

Monday, May 11, 2009

Parabasis: August Wilson:

And many of Wilson's plays contain a scene that Anne and I like to call the "I Got What You Need" scene.  Joe Turner actually has three of them.  The scene goes like this:

Young Black Man: I got what you need.

Young Black Woman: You think you got what I need?

YBM: Yes. I got what you need. A woman needs X, Y and Z. I got those things. You want to come away with/set up with me?

YBW: You think you got what I need. You don't know what i need.

This scene generally ends with the YBM and the YBW ending up together.

6:57 PM


6:19 PM


3:24 PM

Five Questions for Shanta Thake « Culturebot:

5. Have you ever had to make a choice between work and art? What did you choose, why, and what was the outcome?

I chose both work and art although each has been compromised for the other on various occasions. The outcome is that I love my job and that I’m tired all the time.

(A great answer.)

1:54 PM


1:54 PM

The Stranger Gong Show 2009: Dancing Bellies, Comic Robotics, Avant-Garde Oxygen Deprivation, Judgmental Screeches, and Award-Winning Carving of Air | Slog | The Stranger:

Relegated to second place but claiming first place in my heart: These guys, whose act involved a long table placed center stage, at one end of which was an aquarium full of water. The act commenced when one of the men submerged his head in the aquarium while the other stripped off his shirt, laid back on the table, and began eating cereal out of his oddly concave chest cavity. This cereal-eating involved pouring cereal from the box, pouring milk over the cereal, eating the milky cereal with a spoon, then sucking up the remaining milk with a long straw. This was all done quite leisurely, while music played, and when the cereal eater was done with his first serving, he poured another: cereal, milk, spoon, straw, the whole process again. Throughout all of this, the other guy's head was underwater. After two and a half minutes (!), the cereal guy stood up, the other guy pulled his head from the aquarium, and the act was complete. The properly awed judges gave the act almost straight 10s, marred only by judge Jen Zeyl's title-denying 9, which came with a wisecrack that was easily worth $300: "I loved it, but you really could've taken the time to slice a banana."

1:24 PM


10:56 AM

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Critical Shopper - Zadig and Voltaire - Clothes at Zadig and Voltaire Say Relax, but Tags Beg to Differ -

One $75 T-shirt bore the word ARTIST across the chest in a bold glitter font. Now, any artist I know who’s worth his salt would print the shirt himself if it cost more than $22 — and it would never say ARTIST. It might say JANITOR, or IDIOT, or possibly HOOKER. But wearing a $75 T-shirt that says ARTIST suggests that the most artistic thing about the wearer is the T-shirt itself, much as you know that anyone who actually uses the word “classy” probably isn’t. Even if they could afford it, real artists wouldn’t wear such redundancies, any more than raccoons would buy themselves $75 T-shirts that say RACCOON.

5:40 PM


5:40 PM

We have got to get it together « Culturebot:

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I see so many arts organizations – and artist “service” organizations focusing on educating artists to “be more entrepreneurial” when they are not innovating their own behavior in any meaningful way. Artists don’t need to become more entrepreneurial, most of the ones I know already are. No, the institutions that support, develop and present them need to change. Significantly.

12:50 PM


11:19 AM

Buddhisms, Ctd:

I'm often struck by how people find in Eastern traditions valuable insights -- which is great -- and act as though they were not available in the West -- which is a little frustrating and probably a serious indictment of modern education. The lovely quote from your reader about non-attachment in Buddhism is almost exactly like the teachings on the subject by St. Loyalo Ignatius Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises.

Since Ignatius is right smack in the middle of Western culture, he is of little interest to many who have dismissed such teachings a priori in favor of non-Western sources. This is fine if they find these same valuable ideas there. But it's equally true that Ignatius has taught hundreds of thousands of people for half a millennium the value in the ability "to conquer oneself and to regulate one's life in such a way that no decision is made under the influence of any inordinate attachment." He devised (or synthesized from sources ancient, medieval, and modern) a means to a greater degree of freedom from one's own likes, dislikes, comforts, wants, needs, drives, appetites and passions, so that the soul may choose based solely on what it discerns as God's will is for it.

11:17 AM

Saturday, May 09, 2009


2:13 PM

The Playgoer: Whither Manhattan Theatre Club:

Myself I don't think Accent on Youth is that much a crime against the theatre. David Hyde Pierce is in top form, Byron Jennings and Charles Kimbrough are wonderful, and, at its best, the scipt plays like a perfectly charming Molnar farce or Lubitsch film. (Its author Samson Raphaelson was one Lubitsch's screenwriters of choice.) But for $100 a seat???

The truth is, Accent would be a perfectly fine choice in a rep theatre's second (or third) space. But MTC--despite the fact that, as Feldman points out, they're decidedly not a rep company--made an oddly fateful decision. They programmed this brittle trifle in their high visibility (and Tony-eligible) Broadway venue, while the play they imported from Chicago that would eventually win the Pulitzer--Ruined--got stuck in their Off Broadway "Stage 1". And there it remains, even after its sixth(!) extension.

In short, despite incredible buzz coming out of Chicago's Goodman, where the premiere was a box office phenomenon, MTC didn't know what they had.

2:08 PM

Good Morning

2:08 PM

Friday, May 08, 2009

The New Nuke Porn:

The nature of the doom these books threaten us with has recently undergone a subtle shift, especially in the realm of what I've called in the past "nuke porn." I coined the term (in a Harper's article) at the height of the Cold War to characterize the way nuclear war novels and films from Fail-Safe to Strangelove and the like adapted or imitated the techniques one could find in conventional porn: the excitement of arousal and buildup, the finger on the trigger as the world was brought to the trembling brink of a consciousness-obliterating climax. And the post-coital tristesse of "survivor novels" like On the Beach, where the onrushing end of the species licensed a doom-inflected licentiousness.

I attempted to make the point that it was not just novels and films like Red Alert (the template for Dr. Strangelove) and Fail-Safe and On the Beach that incorporated pornographic tropes and techniques but that the literature of real-world nuclear strategists had internalized the tropes and techniques of nuke porn. (Nuclear strategist Herman Kahn's elaboration of a 44-step ladder of escalation deliberately used the rhetoric of porn: Step No. 4: "hardening of positions"; No. 11: "Super-Ready status": all the way to No. 44: all out "Spasm or Insensate War."

3:41 PM


3:41 PM

Broader Unemployment Rate Ticks Up - Real Time Economics - WSJ:

Many forecasters expect the official unemployment rate to top 10% by early next year. If the path of the broader unemployment rate continues, it’s likely to top 18%. For people in this group, comparisons to the Great Depression (when 25% of Americans were out of work) may not look so wild even if overall economic activity is holding up better.

1:16 PM

Fashion Project Photo Shoot - Yazmin Shears

1:16 PM

Big City - A Love of God, and the Stage -

In fact, most of the artists Mr. Wegman has been bringing to the Abrons Arts Center, which is gaining a reputation as one of the last standing locations for avant garde performance downtown, do not even realize that Mr. Wegman is also a practicing priest. “People put religious people into a box, and clergy into a smaller box,” he said. “I don’t even address the box.”

12:59 PM

12:59 PM

Heretic’s Foundation III: Smart Plays Need Smart Audiences, Don’t They? « Clyde Fitch Report:

It began with a theater that was deeply controversial and embroiled in issues of belief and meaning. From the time the first wooden ‘O’ known as The Theatre was built in 1576 in the playing fields of Spitalfields, the ‘theater critics’ of the day had a very clear reaction. They recognized it as a theater of resistance, a challenge to religious orthodoxies and thus the very basis of state power. An entire generation of sermons and pamphlets criticized the plays and their players. In 1577, Thomas White complained in a sermon against the “common playes in London” and the “multitude that flocketh to them.”  The same year, in his Treatise Against Dicing, Dancing, Plays and Interludes, John Northbrooke claimed stage plays were “not tolerable” and wanted to ban actors from receiving the divine sacrament. In his Anatomy of Abuses (1583), Philip Stubbes claimed plays were “sucked out of the Devil’s teats, to nourish us in idolatry, heathenrie, and sin.”

A few years later, there would have been clear risks for players at The Rose in performing the plays of Christopher Marlowe. He was, after all, an atheist who had declared the sacred Gospels “all of one man’s making” and that the figure of Jesus was merely a “deceiver” in “vain and idle stories.”  Although some 40% of the English population were nonbelievers in Christianity, such revolutionary ideas were, again, a direct threat to state power. So for Marlowe’s plays — which contain a straightforward anti-Christian allegory most easy to spot in Dr Faustus — as well as others, the secret service would carefully monitor performances. State Decipherers, as they were called, were seated in the audience trying to work out if secret allegorical meanings were concealed within the plays. From time to time, as with The Isle of Dogs, the spies thought they had found something untoward. Then the playwright and the entire acting company were hauled off to prison, perhaps to be tortured. So performing theater was dangerous work, like walking a literary tightrope without a net. And that was one exciting reason why audiences went to see it. The cast might be arrested, but no government could arrest a whole audience.

12:56 PM

Thursday, May 07, 2009

11:42 PM

This is a recording of my keynote address last night at the SoloNOVA Festival about why solo performance matters and its role in the future of theater. I'm releasing it under a Creative Commons license to the world at large.

Similar to the manifesto I was commissioned to deliver for the PuSh Festival in February, this was an extemporaneous speech composed as it was delivered. Like all manifestos it was a one-time performance, though the arguments and content are being refined for the future.

You can listen and download the mp3 here:


3:19 PM

Dancing in the fire

2:56 PM

If you saw last night's manifesto, then you'll know why I'm posting this:

My thanks to everyone who attended, and to SoloNOVA for the honor.

10:52 AM

tiny blossoming of a bush

10:49 AM

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

4:21 PM

Christopher Durang, Mike Daisey, Alex Timbers et al. Set for Post-Show Panels for Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson:

The Public Theater has announced the line-up of post-show discussions to follow select performances of the new musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which is currently being presented in concert, through May 24.

Written and directed by Alex Timbers and featuring music and lyrics by Michael Friedman, the work is an irreverent look at America's seventh president, Andrew Jackson. The cast includes David Axelrod, James Barry, Darren Goldstein, Greg Hildreth, Jeff Hiller, Lisa Joyce, Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, Bryce Pinkham, Maria Elena Ramirez, Kate Cullen Roberts, Ben Steinfeld, Benjamin Walker, and Colleen Werthmann.

Following the Tuesday, May 19, at 7 pm performance will be "Comedy and Politics," a panel discussion featuring Mike Daisey, Christopher Durang, and Timbers, moderated by Oskar Eustis.

2:02 PM

Fuchsia FoXXX - Kali

2:02 PM

Monsters, Inc.: Financial Page: The New Yorker:

The same can’t be said, though, of the boom of the past decade. The housing bubble was unique, and uniquely awful. Each of the previous waves had come in response to a profound shift in the real economy. With the housing bubble, by contrast, there was no meaningful development in the real economy that could explain why homes were suddenly so much more attractive or valuable. The only thing that had changed, really, was that banks were flinging cheap money at would-be homeowners, essentially conjuring up profits out of nowhere. And while previous booms (at least, those of the twenties and the nineties) did end in tears, along the way they made the economy more productive and more innovative in a lasting way. That’s not true of the past decade. Banking grew bigger and more profitable. But all we got in exchange was acres of empty houses in Phoenix.

1:46 PM

Forget me not

1:46 PM

Chris Wilkinson continues covering discussions over here at the Guardian. I'm going to respond to just this:

But the institutions that Daisey is concerned about are not the only places where art can be produced, and if they are not working properly, then artists just have to find other contexts in which to be creative.

(Highlighting my own.)

I agree with the thrust of this, however the way it is worded—opening with "but", and that we "just have to find", minimizes the issues. It makes it sound as though it's as simple as if not A, then we'll simply choose B, that it's a simple change of context and we're done. If the repertory theater won't have us, we'll use this warehouse and that's that.

But A is where all of the arts funding and institutional support is in this country, and B is in the shadows. If our arts are so enervated that artists are driven by institutional malaise to choose B again and again, it's the culture at large that pays the price. I support linking artists to security and stability in communities not only because it is good for the artists—I believe it is essential if the theater at large is going to remain a vital force.

If the best theater in America is consistently happening in warehouses rather than theaters, that's an issue for the ecology at large.

12:05 PM


1:54 AM

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

99seats: You Say You Want A Revolution? or Seven Concrete Steps:

6. Act like a rock band. This follows on that last point. The music industry is as crowded, if not more crowded than the theatre industry and it's hard to make a living or bust out, but bands do. And they do it with their own blood, sweat, tears and duct tape. Form your theatre company like you're forming a band, a small, tight-knit crew of people who share ideals, influences and goals. Put yourself out there like you're a band, a unit. And control as much of the marketing and audience interface as you can. Design your own logo, draw it on your jacket and wear it around town. Carry your own stuff in and out venues and only play rooms that fit your style. Use mailing lists and websites to keep your fans up-to-date and ready to come out and support you. And love your fans. Respond to your fans. Make sure they know you can't it without them. They're why you're here.

7. Show ferocious loyalty. So much of this business is predicated on an utter and complete lack of real loyalty, especially on the way up. You're expected to drop your director, drop your actors as soon as a theatre dangles a production in your face. They will only love you as long as the NY Times loves you. Then you're out. And we wonder why it's so lonely and so depressing. Show loyalty. Demand that your collaborators are in the room. And be prepared to walk away if you're told "No." We are all in this together, and sometimes we have to lock arms and march.

6:14 PM

Day 124/365: Hobbit

6:14 PM

Stephen Fry's letter to his 16-year-old self | Media | The Guardian:

I hope you are well. I know you are not. As it happens you wrote in 1973 a letter to your future self and it is high time that your future self had the decency to write back. You declared in that letter (reproduced in your 1997 autobiography Moab Is My Washpot) that "everything I feel now as an adolescent is true". You went on to affirm that if ever you dared in later life to repudiate, deny or mock your 16-year-old self it would be a lie, a traducing, treasonable lie, a crime against adolescence. "This is who I am," you wrote. "Each day that passes I grow away from my true self. Every inch I take towards adulthood is a betrayal."

Oh, lord love you, Stephen. How I admire your arrogance and rage and misery. How pure and righteous they are and how passionately storm-drenched was your adolescence. How filled with true feeling, fury, despair, joy, anxiety, shame, pride and above all, supremely above all, how overpowered it was by love. My eyes fill with tears just to think of you. Of me. Tears splash on to my keyboard now. I am perhaps happier now than I have ever been and yet I cannot but recognise that I would trade all that I am to be you, the eternally unhappy, nervous, wild, wondering and despairing 16-year-old Stephen: angry, angst-ridden and awkward but alive. Because you know how to feel, and knowing how to feel is more important than how you feel. Deadness of soul is the only unpardonable crime, and if there is one thing happiness can do it is mask deadness of soul.

4:19 PM

1:46 PM

If you saw last night's FACEBOOK! show, then you'll know why I'm posting this:

11:19 AM

Obama Seeks to Curb Foreign Tax Havens -

At issue are tax laws that were originally intended to prevent multinational corporations from being double-taxed, by the United States and by foreign countries, by allowing companies to defer reporting their foreign income to the Internal Revenue Service and to get tax credits in the United States for foreign taxes paid.

Economists are divided over whether higher taxes would give corporations incentives to move jobs overseas or impair economic growth at home. In the coming debate, both Mr. Obama and the business lobby will claim that their way will save jobs.

The top corporate tax rate is 35 percent, but the Treasury Department estimated that in 2004, the most recent year for which data is available, American multinationals paid $16 billion in taxes on $700 billion in foreign income — an effective rate of 2.3 percent.

11:02 AM


10:43 AM

Among the Savages: Flea Market:

Steve was excited about the robot, which he acquired for only a dollar. The robot says "I am VoiceBot, your robot warrior. What is your command?" And ths boys shout a command, such as "Shoot Missles" or "Transform!" and the robot says "Please repeat command." And the boys shout "Transform!" and the robot says "Please repaet command." And this can go back and forth a few hundred times before the robot FREAKS OUT and beeps and blinks and honks and needs to be turned off so it will shut up. Sometimes the robot will actually move forward a few inches, and Nate can turn it into something that I think is supposed to be a vehicle. The boys LOVE the robot. "Isn't it great?" they kept asking me.

3:33 AM

like air to my lungs (313/365)

3:33 AM

Monday, May 04, 2009

A message from Martin Dockery:


If you're considering coming to see The Surprise - and I hope you are! - then consider coming on Thursday, May 7th. Any of the 5 dates is great (fantastic, actually), but The New York Times is coming to review the show that day, and so it's important to have a good audience.

Maybe I'm mistaken and they're only coming to do research for an article on open relationships (for the Lifestyles section), or an article on secret families (for Weekend Getaways), or a piece on the ancient ruined temple-city of Angkor Wat (for the Ancient Ruined Temples section).  As The Surprise is indeed about all these things, it's quite possible The Times is actually devoting an entire edition to it. (Granted, on a slow news day.)

Either way, though, please come! Support the show; have a worthwhile time.

The Surprise
A comic, true monologue about a family rife with secrets... and clueless as to how to reveal them.
Created and Performed by Martin Dockery
Directed by Jean-Michele Gregory
May 7, 9, 11 & 13 @ 7pm
May 10 @ 2pm
DR2 Theatre
103 E 15th St (just off Union Square), NYC
$20 tickets at
Or go to
More info at

Here are some nice things that have been said about the show:

*Winner* Audience Choice Award, FRIGID Fest NYC 2009

”The Surprise is funny, warm, and entertaining…. A superlative storytelling show, one that offers plenty to laugh about, relate to, and ponder long after the storyteller has left the stage.” —

“Dockery is a master at weaving his own personal life into his family saga. Travels, girlfriends, ecstasies and disappointments are masterfully layered with his own brand of neurotic, self-effacing humor.”—

"The theatrical hybrid of the website F My Life and a David Sedaris novel."—Washinton Square News

Hope to see you at the show - and if not, then somewhere else soon enough!

A big thanks,

3:03 PM

12:26 PM

Text Me Later (Or: How Theater Isn't Baseball) - critical difference:

When someone's gone to a play, we don't ask her afterward, "Who won? What was the score?" We ask, "How was it?" In order for her to know the answer to that, attention must be paid. And it's a kind of attention that demands more effort of the audience than passive forms of entertainment like movies, TV or sports. It's a cliché of theater to say that actors get energy from the audience, but they do, and you can feel it in a performance. An audience focused on a glowing screen isn't going to hear that line land, isn't going to see the fluid movement of an actor's body, isn't going to register an eloquent shift in the lighting. The performance will be lost on them and, with their concentration elsewhere, something will be lost from the performance.

9:24 AM


1:08 AM

The Theatre: The Theatre: The New Yorker:


The “SoloNOVA” arts festival opens with a keynote address by Mike Daisey, winner of terraNOVA Collective’s Solo Artist of the Year award, on May 6. (DR2, 103 E. 15th St. 212-239-6200.)

12:38 AM

Got my eye on you

12:38 AM

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Good post over at Parabasis. In the comments, Brant of Theatreforte writes:

I don't discount the valuable contributions Mr. Daisey has made to this discourse. But doesn't it undercut his message if he's only willing to rock the boat, but not chart out a better direction? He's a gifted writer, and I would love to hear his thoughts about what to do now that the proverbial consciousness has been raised.

It doesn't undercut any of my work, as I've said in the past, but rather than hashing that out again I'll just cop to something most have suspected, and which colleagues and friends have known for a while:

I'm working on this.

The first steps in this direction are a series of manifestos I'm performing—the first was in February at the PuSh Festival in Vancouver, and the second happens this Wednesday night as the keynote for the SoloNOVA Festival. Some can be seen in some of the writings on this site.

I expect that what I'm working on in this arena will make its way fully to the public in time. It took a number of years for HOW THEATER FAILED AMERICA to fully develop, and I expect that this contribution will take a similar amount of time at least.

Isaac also adds:

I have no problem with Mike not talking about solutions in his work, btw. He's said flat out that's not what he's interested in doing and I thank him for what he's done to raise the problems. But something has to be done to turn this energy into actually thinking about how to change things and then how that change might be accomplished.

I agree entirely, and my hope is that some of the great talking and thinking that has been generated over the last few years is carried forward into action across the country...and I'll be detailing what my plans are, and how I hope to contribute, in time.

11:20 PM

One Point In Life

9:47 PM

Song bashing "corporate enablers" used to move iPhones - Ars Technica:

But Apple's entire iPhone campaign—indeed, the company's entire product line—is predicated on consumerism, the purchase of expensive technology, owning the trendiest gadgets, and creating a sense of need in people who never knew their lives were incomplete without a glossy black phone. As with most companies, Apple stands to lose big if people truly "need much less" and turn their backs on US consumption patterns.

Steve Jobs is widely reputed to have Buddhist leanings; how the man pairs "nonattachment" with "running Apple" is a mystery we may never plumb. The song may resonate with a Jobsian "billionaire's detachment" from the material world that binds us to a cycle of suffering, but it stands in stark counterpoint to the product it's being used to sell.

9:18 PM

9:09 PM

Moore: DCTC hires just second local director in 25 years - The Denver Post:

Thompson has quietly done something that's happened only once in the past 25 years: He's hired a director out of the local theater community.

When Christy Montour-Larson helms "Well" in November, she'll join longtime Colorado Shakespeare Festival member Gavin Cameron-Webb ("Season's Greetings," 2006) as the only DCTC directors since at least 1984 who already were established in the local theater community.

6:50 PM

6:50 PM

Why I ditched Buddhism. - By John Horgan - Slate Magazine:

But what troubles me most about Buddhism is its implication that detachment from ordinary life is the surest route to salvation. Buddha's first step toward enlightenment was his abandonment of his wife and child, and Buddhism (like Catholicism) still exalts male monasticism as the epitome of spirituality. It seems legitimate to ask whether a path that turns away from aspects of life as essential as sexuality and parenthood is truly spiritual. From this perspective, the very concept of enlightenment begins to look anti-spiritual: It suggests that life is a problem that can be solved, a cul-de-sac that can be, and should be, escaped.

6:48 PM

11:21 AM


11:08 AM

The Week Ahead - May 3-9 - Schedule -

Among the loyal friends who accompany me to the theater, there is one game soul whom I can rely on to be willing to see almost anything. Puppet Shakespeare? Jukebox musicals? Polish experimental dance? Say the word and he’s there. The only exception — and it’s a big one — is a solo show. His is not an unusual prejudice, especially because part of the impulse to produce this form is — let’s be frank — financial. But the good news for this derided form is that MIKE DAISEY is taking up its cause.

Mr. Daisey, who kicked off a national discussion last year about the state of regional theater with his fiery “How Theater Failed America,” will deliver another fiery call to arms called “Why Solo Performance Matters: A Manifesto” on Wednesday, the first night of the soloNOVA Arts festival. (The festival runs through May 30.) Also that night, Mr. Daisey will receive the soloNOVA artist of the year award.

Mr. Daisey’s one-night event will argue, he wrote in an e-mail message, “that the solo form is the next great American contribution to world drama.” Its low budget is actually part of the allure since mounting a one-man piece enables a flexibility that big productions cannot match. The goal, as he put it in a previous show, is “a theater that can survive the apocalypse.” 8 p.m., DR2 Theater & D-Lounge, 103 East 15th Street, Manhattan, (212) 239-6200,; $35.

11:07 AM


12:09 AM

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Over at Mirror Up To Nature there's a response from Thomas Garvey of The Hub Review, which I respond to below:

The problem here, of course, is that the economic model for theatre is broken - the available, freely-paying audience is not large enough to support it.

The vast majority of theater in America has been heavily subsidized from a variety of sources for the last century, so the idea that what is broken is simply that there isn't a market for it is patently untrue. What's broken (amongst other things) is the priorities of institutions in choosing real estate over people, and their failure to recognize the long-term effects that has on the theatrical ecosystem.

Wage equity inevitably breaks down in such a situation, and actually, at a deep level, whether it is indeed possible, or even "should" be possible, is somewhat in question.

And here is some of the fruit of these decisions—we begin to question whether ANYONE should be able to make a living at these crafts. Note that we no longer need to wait for the Puritans to bring arguments against theater artists—we do it to ourselves.

We are not having any kind of debate about whether development directors or marketing should be paid a living wage. Why? Because in our hearts we all agree to value what they do. They have not been the victims of a systematic campaign to devalue and disempower their craft for the last two generations, and it shows.

Artists have been devalued until we are not even certain they deserve a fair shake, and even more disgustingly, we in the theater have done it to ourselves.

Thus neither Daisey nor Ned Averill-Snell, the writer of this letter, seems to have a cure for the condition underlying the symptoms they decry. (They just don't admit it. Of course no one else does, either.)

First, I have to say I'm getting sick of this manuever. If someone points out that something is broken, especially something that has been broken a long time but no one is speaking about in public, that actually has worth in and of itself.

Example: if one began speaking about migrant farmers around the country and their working conditions, no one would negate the value of that advocacy by simply saying, "So? Unless you have a plan TODAY for how to reform our farm system, what you're saying is WORTHLESS."

They wouldn't say that because it's an infantile tactic. I keep hearing it again and again (often much more pointedly than from Mr. Garvey above) because in politics when people can't address a fundamental inequity, when a power system is clearly in the wrong and can't argue out of its responsibilities, there isn't much else to do but look for tactics to silence discussion and debate.

Even their seemingly justified anger at investment in theatres rather than actors is at least partly deflated by the observation that physical facilities last, while performances are ephemeral - the money spent on a theatre ensures that performances can go on for years.

AT WHAT COST? I argue that valueing the shells of buildings over the art and the artists inside those buildings is morally, ethically and aesthetically bankrupt—and that the work, the institutions, and the people suffer from those decisions.

Far from agreeing that my arguments are "partially deflated", I'd say THIS is the centerpiece of the battlefield.

Who do you value? What do you stand for? In the end, what served the arts, the artists, and the community with more honesty, integrity, and strength?

So I'm not sure that a theatre that invests in a new facility rather than a full Equity cast is entirely in the wrong.

None of us are entirely in the wrong. I understand completely why theaters make the decisions they do in these cases. On the balance spreadsheet it makes sense doesn't it? Of course, if we ALWAYS listened to balance sheets, every theater in America would simply close or convert to a banquet rental hall.

But they can not be allowed to believe they are in the
right. Ecologically, these decisions are eroding the support and stability that could make great work possible within those institutions. Inch by inch we all do our part, eating away at the possibility of change.

It's not as though the current, inequitable system works. It doesn't—it's broken, and everyone in the American theater knows it.

We can debate about what kind of tomorrow we want to have, but have no doubts that regardless of what happens, it will look very different from today. I believe it's an opportunity to take hold of our destinies, assess what we believe in, and begin, at long last, to fight for it.

4:03 PM


1:55 PM

On Screen - Film - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:

This is also the sort of movie where rules that make no sense apply because the script says they do. I would like to point out that even given the circumstances I do not think that a bullet made of the indestructible metal adamantium shot into the brain of a 150-year-old wolverine person whose skull is lined with the indestructible metal adamantium would cause amnesia.

1:54 PM


1:29 PM

Helen Shaw at TONY's Upstaged blog, which I highly recommend, takes note of my back and forth with Mr. Olson here.

Personally, I find that both fellows need to take a “Getting to Yes” seminar or maybe do some conflict-resolution work—

This deal keeps getting worse all the time! First I had to balance a budget, then I had to reform the entire system in order to balance the budget equitably...but now I have to attend a communications seminar? Conflict-resolution work!? Next we'll have to work a potter's wheel together ala GHOST.

I think it's worth saying that Olson's tone was matched by my own in our official back and forth, but we've had emails aside from this correspondence and beyond it that are quite civil. I think the distance between our positions is actually not all that great—we both love theater, we both want theater to thrive, etc.—but like many ideological battles, the devil is in the details.

Daisey points out that Olson selectively quotes from his responses, but then Daisey himself is employing tactics that deliberately ratchet up unproductive tension.

Maybe...but all too often I think we don't recognize that tension isn't automatically unproductive. The artists of the American theater are locked in a power structure that doesn't allow them voice. Giving voice to their arguments for why theater needs to change, not only for their sake but for the sake of the work itself, demands tension.

Still, both are passionate, and the debate leaps thrillingly across lines that are usually firewalls.

I would agree with that, and I'd say that this tension is one of the reasons that the debate has been leaping the usual boundaries...and when you talk about issues in ways they don't normally get discussed, and have direct, engaged confrontations with people you disagree with, tension will inevitably rise.

That doesn't mean it's all unproductive, or that it's negative. Out of this conflict can sometimes come growth and change...and I know that without tension and conflict passion dies, and change slowly hardens to become impossible.

1:28 PM


1:16 PM

Friday, May 01, 2009

Kristi Hamilton:

NEWPORT - Kristi L. Hamilton, 61, died peacefully April 29, 2009, at a Waterville hospital, after a long illness. She was born Dec. 6, 1947, in Dexter, the daughter of Wilber "Peg" and Beverly (Soper) Hamilton. Kristi was educated in Newport schools, graduating from Newport High School, Class of 1965. She also graduated from the University of Maine, Orono, in 1968 with a bachelor's degree. She continued her education and graduated with a master's degree, also from the University of Maine, Orono. A teacher all her adult life, Kristi taught at Nokomis Regional High School. During her 34-year teaching career she taught ancient and modern history. She was the history department chair for more than 20 years. Very active with students, Kristi was the senior class advisor for 19 years, as well as National Honor Society advisor for 10 years. Kristi was also active with Nokomis Sports Boosters, working at many basketball games. She was active in SAD 48 Teacher's Association; Kristi was president and chief negotiator for many years. Since her retirement in 2002, Kristi enjoyed working at Rowe's House of Apples, Newport. She also spent hours working on her flowerbeds and making sure her home was as beautiful on the outside as it was inside. She especially enjoyed sitting on her porch on sunny days.

6:49 PM

Jennifer Miller

12:00 PM


11:32 AM


12:23 AM