Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Three Male Bruins make it to US Open 2nd round.

Three ex-Bruins won the first round on the men's side. Scooter is very happy. (Our best alumni, Jen Brady how to pull out).

Makenzie McDonald; UCLA Alum 26 years old - Born in Berkeley (Northern California) - now lives in Orlando

Makenzie today - won in straight sets

Makenzie at UCLA

Marcos Giron: UCLA Alum 28 years old - born in Thousand Oaks, now lives in Hermosa Beach (SoCal)

Marcos winning today - 5 sets and a tiebreak

Marcos at UCLA (NOT his best picture)

Maxime Cressy: UCLA Alum 24 years old - Born in Paris, US Citizen now.

Maxime at UCLA not so long ago

Maxime today a winner yesterday at the Open


MUST WATCH - 30 second commercial you will not forget

Okay, you might forget it, but first you will say, "What the hell was that?"


Maybe not my business, BUT in 2 days Texas Outlaws Abortion

In many ways, this isn't my fight. I don't live in Texas (although this law will be felt all over the country - and don't give any money to Planned Parenthood or you can be sued), I am not a woman, nor do most my female friends have to worry about this. But I still find it appalling that this will be the law in days.

You probably haven't heard all that much about the new Texas Abortion restrictions because everyone thought they would be overturned. That does not seem to be the case.

So here's the skinny: In two days a Byzantine law takes effect in Texas that will essentially outlaw abortions. The details of the law follow below:


Now we haven't heard much because a US District Court (5th District) was slated to take up the law with a full court hearing. Yesterday, a judge overruled that hearing. And put the review OFF the fast track. Meaning the law will be allowed to go into effect on Sept 1st, and any review will be 18+ months away. Yesterday it was appealed to the Supreme Court which has until tomorrow to stop it. If not, it goes into effect tomorrow. The details: 

In May, the state’s Republican lawmakers passed a law known as SB 8 that outlaws abortion after six weeks. But SB 8 is unique: It empowers private citizens, not government officials, to enforce it. The measure allows any random stranger to bring a lawsuit in state court against any individual who “aids or abets” an abortion in Texas after six weeks. Anyone in the country may file such a suit against abortion “abettors” in any state court within Texas. If the plaintiff wins, they collect a minimum of $10,000 plus attorneys’ fees. And if they win a case against an abortion provider, the court must shut down that clinic. If the provider somehow prevails, they collect nothing, not even attorneys’ fees.

Texas Republicans devised this convoluted system in order to prevent federal courts from blocking the law—and so far, they’ve succeeded: On Friday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals abruptly canceled a trial judge’s hearing on SB 8’s constitutionality, effectively allowing the law to take effect in two days, on Sept. 1. 

If SCOTUS does allow SB 8 to take effect, it will be open season on Texas’ abortion providers. Anyone, anywhere, can sue an “abettor” of any abortion that takes place after six weeks in Texas. Patients themselves are exempted from a suit, but their loved ones, including spouses, are not. Possible targets may include any person who encourages the abortion, including family members of the patient; rape crisis counselors, genetic counselors, and clergy; a friend who drives the patient to a clinic; donors to an abortion fund; and, of course, the clinic staff who facilitate the procedure. Any person who forms an intent to “abet” the abortion can also be sued, even if they don’t follow through on their intentions. All these individuals can be sued for at least $10,000 per abortion in any state court. If they don’t defend themselves, the court must automatically rule against them.

One little-mentioned provision of SB 8 also triggers the mandatory closure of abortion clinics in Texas. When a plaintiff wins a suit against an abortion provider, they get more than just monetary damages: The state court is legally obligated to shutter the provider, as well. Thus, if SB 8 takes effect, it will not take long for state courts to end all legal abortion services in Texas.

So, if you didn't read all that, let me sum it up. Anyone can sue anyone or any organization that helps a woman get an abortion after 6 weeks. Including her husband, a friend that drives here over state lines to get an abortion, anyone group that might counsel that an abortion is right for her. And anyone (again including her husband) that thinks about helping the woman, even if they don't follow through with it. And if the busy body wins, they get $10,000 (and closing of a clinic). If they lose, the winner gets nothing. Not even court costs.

Note: This legislature are also the assholes that refuse to ALLOW mask mandates, with the motto, My Body My Choice.

Everything is bigger in Texas, Especially the assholes.

Broadway Fun: 7

 In doing this review of who I have seen and lived on Broadway, some of my very very favorites were overlooked. Here they are. These three are great. I have never seen them perform poorly.

Bonus: At the Bottom is Bryce singing on the Tony's from a Gentleman's Gide to Love and Murder.


Top Row: Bobby Cannavale! You may have seen him, he plays very often on TV (Boardwalk Empire, Will and Grace, Angie Tribeca among many).

  • Bobby Cannavale: Headshot
  • Lifespan of a Fact: with Daniel Radcliffe AND Cherry Jones! This was a great story with fantastic players, based on a true story. It was hilarious and serious.
  • The Big Knife: A story about Hollywood. it wasn't great but Bobby has never looked better.
  • Motherfucker with The Hat: A grittier look at life with Chris Rock.
  • The Hairy Ape: A show at The Armory. It is a very old show about how Industry is taking away man's uniqueness, Because it was the Armory and they do great staging, it was played on a revolving round stage where each scene was brought in front of the audience on train tracks. Bobby was amazing playing a broken man who rebels.

Second Row:

  • Sherie Rene Scott:  Headshot
  • Aida: She was in with the original cast. She blew us away. She only was overlooked because Heather Headly was stupendous.
  • Everyday Rapture: An off-Broadway show - at 2nd Stage - about her life (she was a Quaker), loves and Broadway. Later it moved onto Broadway
  • The Front Page: Wasted in the role of the girlfriend.

Third Row

  • Bryce Pinkerton: Yale Honored Alumni
  • The Heidi Chronicles: This was the only non-Musical I have seen him in. The show was utterly forgettable.
  • Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson: he was very good, as was all the cast, but I only had eyes for Benjamin Walker.
  • The Gentleman's Gide to Love and Murder: He played Monty Navarro, the disowned nephew of the great Diesquith family. He made the show!
  • Superhero: An off-Broadway show (again at 2nd Stage) that was a disappointing story, with unforgettable voices (his and Kate Baldwin's)

As for the bonus here it is:



Monday, August 30, 2021

For those of you blissfully unaware of American's stupidity, read on...

Okay, approximately 60% of Republicans are leery of the Covid vaccine. And half of those say they definitely will not take the jab.

The reasons range from fear of vaccines to not trusting the Democrats (why this is political is anyone's fucking guess). Many are worried that it is unsafe and the CDC approval was rushed. Others say Covid isn't real or isn't really a threat. So, they say it is for safety reasons.

Which is why it makes perfect sense that thousands of these people are taking horse / cow dewormer for Covid. Seriously. Trips to the hospital and calls to poison control have lept upwards (as they did when Trump proposed swallowing bleach).

So Covid is not real, but the idiots are taking horse medicine for it. Or the vaccine isn't safe, so they ingest  cow dewormer. And while prescriptions have increased, many others are simply buying the horse / cow levels from livestock and feed stores. So much so that at least 1 store demands proof you have a horse to buy it.

As you can see from the older sign, just telling people it will kill them has not stopped a run on it. They may die of Covid, but the won't have worms!

A roundup that isn't so fun

 I have been (and will continue) to show some of the fun Broadway stuff and actors I love. Part of that is I set it all up before my monitor crashed. (Until the replacement arrives, I am now working on a Microsoft Surface, which isn't bad, but I have to get my eyes SUPER CLOSE to read what I am writing. To be frugal, I purchased a rehabilitated screen, but I forgot that delivery then takes DAYS! I am so used to Amazon next day that I am freaking out a little.)

What I haven't been doing is talking about current events. But shit is hitting the fan both real and hand ringing. Let's take a tour.

End of our Afghanistan Adventure

It's been 20 years since 9/11, the reasons we invaded Afghanistan. As I have said before, the stated purpose was to stop the Taliban from letting Al Queda use Afghanistan as a base for terror attacks to the US. We accomplished this quickly, but then turned our attention to Iraq. I cannot even totally blame Bush II for this, for every Senator and Representative agreed.


Congress gave Bush II, Obama and Trump a carte blanch to use the military to attack anywhere that might harbor terrorists. And this act has been used to justify American Troops going into: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Mozambique, Mali, Morocco / Algeria / Mauritania, Somalia, Yemen, parts of Pakistan, Libya, Cameroon, and the Philippines. Attempts were made to revoke this blanket approval for foreign wars under Obama and Trump, but partisan issues and the Presidential Administrations stopped it.

Under Biden, and with his backing, this open declaration of War on Anyone has been overturned. Finally. The Constitution says that Congress must declare war, although the President is allowed to take immediate action in case of a threat. This Congressional power was increased after the Vietnam War, only to be ignored by everyone from Reagan through Trump (not trying to point the finger at Republicans here, both Obama and Clinton also had longer term operations without Congressional approval).

Having said this, I think talking with the Taliban was okay even when done by Trump. Biden moved the exit date from Trump's May 1 to August 31. To give our troops extra time to get out orderly. 

But I think the military figured they could stop him, as they have every other President that wanted to leave Afghanistan. But they didn't and because so little ground work was done, the leaving of Afghanistan has turned into a giant shit-show. I don't think this is Biden's fault, but he is President and - as he said - he will take responsibility.

North Korea is Fucking with us again

North Korea has started up it's plutonium capable, Youngbyan reactor again. America (and our regional allies) worry because this is a giant step towards much more powerful nuclear weapons. Uranium is used to make fission bombs, A-Bombs - the same technology we used in World War 2. Plutonium is used in fusion bombs, H-Bombs. The H-Bombs are smaller (easier to fit on a missile) and up to 1000 times more powerful that A-Bombs.

North Korea already has A-bombs, and the world has kind of just accepted it. I don't know what happens next with the plutonium start up. Trump gave North Korea acceptance on the World Stage, as a nuclear power. Biden hasn't offered the same status or respect and so North Korea is saber rattling again.

North Korea may also be frustrated that being in the nuclear club still hasn't gotten sanctions lifted. So all they have left is posturing or actually using one.

My only worry here is that North Korea is just crazy enough to use them. Trump ordered the US to full nuclear alert and might have used it, if his generals hadn't talked him out of it.

People in the US are getting fed up with Americans that won't get the Vaccine


This isn't particularly unexpected. For eight months some Americans have refused the vaccine because of various reasons. Some think it is a matter of freedom. Some think the vax has microchips in it. Some think the vax will rewrite or  actually delete your DNA, And now, many Republicans are doing it to "own the libs".

But vaccine stubbornness has finally run into some very real anger in the vaccinated population. Hospitals throughout the south are running out of ICU beds, oxygen, and hospital space in general. The states with the lowest vaccine rates are seeing massive increases in cases and deaths. Southern Governors (in general, not Florida or Texas) are now begging people to get vaccinated. Deaths are occurring now in adults and children that have nothing to do with Covid, but there is no room in hospitals. There are more stories of easily treated conditions causing death because there are no doctors or hospital space to handle them. Texas ran out of children's ICU beds a month ago.

But there is no talking to or persuading of some of them. Trump himself was booed a one of his new rallies last week when he said he was vaccinated and people should do the same. Booed! Trump himself at his crazy rallies!

And so we are see some bad results. Doctors and Nurses are quitting. A few are saying they will no longer treat the unvaccinated (an empty threat we all know). 

But now some employers are demanding vaccines, others will probably follow. Delta Airlines has a new policy that other companies are thinking offollowing. If you are not vaxed, Delta requires their employees to pay an extra $200 per month more than those vaxed for health insurance. They have also said, if you get sick with Covid, and are not vaccinated, you MUST use your vacation time for your stay at home or the hospital, and once you run out, they will not pay you at all. If you vaxed, then none of that applies.

New York City requires proof of vaccine for Broadway, nightclubs, gyms and restaurants. And now the US Open. We all have a New York app that you get if your vaccinated, and it ties to the actual database, so that is cool. More cities are following this, although even asking if you are vaxed is illegal in Florida and Texas (Florida now has more than 100,000 deaths in that state alone).

Whether the vaccine would have stopped the Delta variant is questionable. But it would have stopped the massive hospitalization numbers. Approximately 99% of all patients in hospitals now are unvaccinated. And the vaccinated majority are getting pissy about it. New masks rules have gone into force, and the only people following the rules are those already vaxed. 

I don't know how this one ends. It might not end at all.



Broadway Fun 6: A Potpourri

 There are a lot of great performers I have seen only a few times. Here is the first batch of my favorites:


Ethan Hawke: the man doesn't like playing a type. He gest into a role so much you think he is a little nuts.

  1. Things We Want at a tiny theater off-Broadway. It is (and I quote) "a high testosterone, dirty sexy suicide play. He was intense.
  2. Clive, later at the same theater. He was a washed up singer. meh.
  3. True West is a "Grim Slice of American". I don't know about that, but it is a show about a wanna be film writer who terrifies his brother. He was very good at being very scary.

Jake Gyllenhaal: He hasn't been on stage much. Ed and I saw him in everything he has done.

  1. He sings like a dream in Sunday in the Park with George, a great revival with Annaleigh Ashford (featured here soon). I thought he was much better than Mandy Patinkin - the original.
  2. In Constellations he and Ruth Wilson play a pair of star crossed lovers, but in different version of the same action 2 or 3 different ways. It sounds confusing, but you get into it easily.
  3. If There Is, I Haven't Found It Yet was his first New York production. It was at one of the bigger off-Broadway theaters and he was excellent. He played the older brother in conflict with his father and taking care of his younger sister.

And then there is Kyle Dean Massey, one of my very favorite performers. KDM is often the second person into a show. He followed Aaron Tveit into Next to Normal and Mathew James Thomas into the starring role as Pippin. You might have also seen him in the TV show Nashville.

  • Headshot: Yep that is Ed and Kyle and I at 54 below, where we saw his gig. 54 Below is the closest we have to a "Supper Club" anymore.
  1. In Next to Normal, he took over as Gabe. His take was a bit darker than Aaron Tveit's take on the role. Not better, but just as good in a unique way.
  2. As Pippin he took over the lead role from James Michael Thomas. He was actually so good that the New York Times re-reviewed it with him. He was more adult, sexier and differently compelling as Pippin. The producers had him play the role for over a year, doing it on the streets of New York at times and touring with it in Europe.
  3. So, I love Pirates of Penzance,  and I love Kyle Dean, so it was a no-brainer to take the trip up to Pittsford in Massachusetts to see him in this role during summer stock. He was Frederick, the Pirate Apprentice.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

It's been three years since I could say: Great Job Bruins!

It's the first game and we played a good Hawaii team from a lousy conference. But, since we play powerhouse LSU next week, I'm enjoying this while I can.  UCLA football played yesterday. It was a very early game in the season, but I think UCLA wanted to play a little before LSU comes to town.

It was a win. It was a win after so many bad games. It is the beginning of the coach's fourth year and the first time he has beaten a non-conference opponent - you can see why I will enjoy this while it lasts. So, while it lasts.. Great Job Bruins!


Fun fact: Hawaii is now the Rainbow Warriors again. In 2003 the team voted to be the "Warriors" not the "Rainbow Warriors" due to the gay connotation of "Rainbow". In 2013, the team changed back to the Rainbow Warriors, as the new players didn't worry about it.

Friday, August 27, 2021

NO. NO!

 What is more scary than the Delta variant?

What is more head piercing than a baby's cry?

What is even more scary than "Cats, The Movie"?


Answer: Cats at your child's Middle or High School by the theater department. I know. I "performed" in high school plays. They are torture for parents and friends that have to buy tickets. This is pure sadism.



Making Sense and having a Good Show seem to be tough right now

Broadway and some amazing off-Broadway theaters (I'm looking at you Vineyard) are ramping up to  live plays. But not really ones I want to see.

You see, many of the early shows are one person shows.

I do not like one person shows.

Don't get me wrong, they can be great. The  CAN BE is the important part of that sentence. They can be, but they usually are not. Buyer and Cellar is excellent. Lackawna Blues is supposed to be excellent. But generally they fall into childhood trauma or female sexual awaking. Sometimes both in 1 show.

I have heard enough talk of trauma and more than enough talking vaginas for a lifetime.

Personally, I am afraid that these shows are being popped back just in case Covid comes back and they aren't allowed to be in person. One person shows probably stream better. I don't know as I refuse to stream theater anymore, except the National Theater from England and the Mint Theater here which show the stage plays filmed at the time in a fantastic manner.

So, yes Theater is slowly coming back. But not at full strength or fully committed.  And that seems like probably a good plan, cheaper production costs and risk. and there is a risk; there are opening week tickets for shows that have been sold out for years. So the tourists are coming in. It makes it easy for me to get good seats, but not good for Broadway.

Broadway 5: Great Women of Broadway

There are fewer Broadway regulars that are women. I'm not sure if it is because there are so many talented women to pick from or a dearth of leading roles for women (probably the later), But here is a group of my favorite (at least of those I have seen multiple times).


Marisa Tomei: No headshot as I rather use a picture from her Oscar Winning role in My Cousin Vinney. then, left to right:

  1. Off-Broadway Marie and Bruce. The first show I saw her in and I was prepared to be disappointed. I thought she did it  to get back to movies. I was wrong, she was excellent and fun to see in a tiny off-Broadway Theater.
  2. On-Broadway in the Realistic Joneses. It was an interesting and slightly twisted play. Here she is with Michael C Hall. Also in the show, Toni Collette and Tracy Letts.
  3. Lincoln Center in How To Transcend a Happy Marriage. A weird as hell show, but interesting,  that she and Lena Hall stole.

Stockard Channing: She plays roles across the spectrum, and wows audiences every time.

  1. Stockard in It's Only a Play. A comedy where she played Virginia Noyes, the star of the play within a play and a pill popping, alcoholic Diva.
  2. The worried mother in Other Desert Cities. (note: the name is from that traffic sign on the 10, where it splits into "Palm Springs" and "Other Desert Cities".
  3. She stole my heart in Pal Joey. Kind of a meh play except when she was on stage. And her rendition of "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" slayed me. I loved it so much I went a second time and took Ed. (I had to fix this, originally I said Bewitched, Bothered and Bemused!)

Idina Menzel: Famous, on Broadway, for being the first Elphaba in the show Wicked. Famous, for your children, for voice of Elsa in  frozen and singing the song "Let It Go" being the first Tony winning actress to have a top 10 hit on the musical chart.

  1. In her huge star making turn in Rent. This was show that Ed and I saw a million years ago on Broadway with the original cast - we went with Suzanne and Diane on our trip to New York. She plays the same role in the movie.
  2. Wicked. She was the first Elphaba and won the Best Actress Tony for the show. I have seen the show a few times (with my mom, among others). This was the only show Ed saw first and took me to see it, with Lynn and the Muffin.
  3. In Skintight. She had to play kind of the straight role of the daughter opposite her father (a Calvin Klein rip off), her son and the boy toy that her father and son fight over.


Thursday, August 26, 2021

Growth as a "Religion" and impact on Climate

In reading a number of books, both fiction and non-fiction, I begin to wonder at contemporary humans need for growth.

One definition for Religion is: a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance. "consumerism is the new religion" This is the definition I refer to. Not as the belief in a supreme being, but as a common belief that humans hold onto without evidence. We in rich and middle income countries now belief growth; economic, material and spiritual, is inherently a good thing.

  

Just as there was a time before many religions (BC for Christians, mid-1800s for Mormons, etc), there was a time, for thousands of years, where "growth" wasn't a priority. From ancient time onwards through the middle ages until the industrial revolution, the vast majority of people were born into a farming or herding life. And there they stayed, muddling through.

Money, rising incomes and leisure came out of the Industrial Revolution. And it helped mankind move into a prosperous and more comfortable era.

For the most part, growth has improved the condition of man. And now growth is good, is a basic given truth.

A company's desire to grow the business is just "the way it is". We even talk about the mom and pop shop who don't sell because they are happy with the income, as being weird or stupid. They can make so much more if only they: raised prices, opened a new location, advertised more, something. The couple might be happy but others look at them as stupid or backward (or, best case, not motivated).

But, here's the thing. Maybe we don't need as much growth now. Maybe our 60 inch TVs, 10 streaming choices and 2015 car can cut it another year. But companies can't go flat year over year, or their cost of financing goes up. So companies are locked into a cycle now of upselling. OR finding new markets. And most companies are definitely funding climate skeptics in order to stop legislation that forces change onto them.. 

However, to stop climate change, we need to slow growth. Or redirect it. We are destroying the planet to give everyone a new phone every few years. To change their wardrobe every few years. To fly and see new places every year.

So how do we move from this position. We change the meaning of growth. Let's look at the need for Climate Change policies. What works and what doesn't.

Doesn't work:

  • Telling people to use less energy
  • Telling people to move away from beef
  • Telling people to drive less
  • Basically telling people what to do, what to expect and to grow slower.

Does work:

  • Create more energy using solar, wind and water. And lowering the cost of these.
  • Creating new beef alternatives than you can, but don't have to, use
  • Realizing that more efficient cars will cost less in gasoline. AND make you cooler (think Tesla or the MustangE).
  • Recycling what you use (which may be hopeless, but it let's people contribute to a solution).
  • Having the "latest" car / house / dinner for status means going greener. Electric cars, energy saving homes etc.

I don't think that, in our current mindsets, trying to stop, or even significantly slow, growth is going to work. Modern humans assume growth is good, full stop. So we need to make climate change about growth. Where buying more efficient items, that impact the climate less, becomes cool. 

Ed did something similar to me. I love to buy things, and I hate saving. So, in order to make our lives less confrontational, he directed my spending towards buying stocks. I was still happy buying things, and he was pleased I was saving money somehow.

Braying maximalist climate shamers  - those who give up everything in the name of being a "better' person (implied "better than you") are a pain in the ass and don't accomplish moving people's mind's and helping the environment.

Similarly, people who look around and say, "nothing's wrong" , don't change minds  or help the environment.

Smart people are beginning to change how they define happy and growth. Support those changes when you can, quietly but sincerely. The stick will not work, let's all help reinforce each other with a carrot of acceptance.

Broadway Fun 4: Nathan Lane

Nathan Lane, on television, is a bit of a one note gay character. It is probably his voice, which is rubbery, and his demeanor which can easily venture into camp territory.

On Broadway, he is less locked into that "judgmental gay best friend" role. He can play funny gay, tragic gay, serious person and funny non-gay roles. His over the top acting is perfect on Broadway as he plays to the back of the house (the cheap seats so his over acting plays great.


TR: Roy Cohen in Angels in America. Roy Cohen is the consummate insider. He was a mentor to Donald Trump, so right there sums him up. He was hateful (so great) in the role.

TMU: He was in It's only a play. It was a farce that wasn't great but had an amazing cast. Those in this picture are Rupert Grint, Megan Mullally, Mathew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Stockard Channing.

TML: The Front Page, a painfully slow production (two intermissions!) with a great cast. Here Nathan is pictured with John Goodman.

BR; Nathan and Bebe Neuwirth as Gomez and Morticia in The Addams Family

BMU: Nathan and Matthew Broderick in The Producers. Now this was before my time, but I did see the movie starring them. Here he plays a producer of flops, Max Bialystock. And, a friend was in the cast, so I kind of have to include it.

BMB: His breakout movie role was opposite Robin Williams in The Birdcage.

BR: He starred (and won a Tony for Best Actor) in The Nance. It was funny and heartbreaking turn. He played a man who was always the "fairy" in Vaudeville and the early movies. You could overtly say the character was gay at that time, but it was implied in every mincing step, every overly effected joke and his looks. The show took place mainly off-stage as the wight of being the butt of the joke was exhausting.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Is modular computing a good thing.

 My monitor for the bedroom mac mini - that is my main computer - has given up the ghost. So I went to buy a new monitor. I did get a very well reviewed refurbished one. But I have had to get a mouse (or meeses actually over time) and the mini itself is now 5 years old.

So for a moment I thought of getting a new system. But I have a perfectly useful Microsoft Surface that I purchased for work, so I am using that and waiting for my new monitor. 

Patiently

Okay, not patiently but I  don't know yet how to save a picture that works on this Microsoft thing.

Broadway Fun 3: Aaron Tveit

Aaron Tveit.

You know I love him since I have posted many of his songs here. He is a heavenly singing voice wrapped in a very attractive body with a killer smile. I believe I have seen him in every show he has done on Broadway since we've been here, except Wicked.

By the by Wicked's Fierro is a role that some actors travel into and out of as they need to pick up some work. Aaron has done it many times and Kyle Dean Massey (who is coming up) has down scores of times. Kyle dean has a hilarious story about it which I will include on his day.

By back to Aaron.


TL: Catch Me If You Can was his second big show. If has a preview tune up run in Seattle, two years in a row until they brought it to Broadway. It was a big beautiful 60's designed show - not the real 60s, more like a technicolor version. Aaron was famous for being on the stage and singing for the first 45 minutes without a break.

TM: His current (and Tony Winning) Role in Moulin Rouge. His Christian can act and sing 8 days a week, which is a bit amazing. (Here opposite the original Satine - Karen Olivo.)

MM: Next To Normal. I first saw this show, and Arron, off broadway at 2nd Stage. He blew me away and won a Off-Broadway award for the role as lead actor. The show then was a surprise run on Broadway as a different show fell through. There were some changes, including the original husband / father, Brian D'Arcy James, as he was staring as Young Frankenstein. Next to Normal won the Pulitzer Prize for best Drama, even though musicals rarely win.

TR: I couldn't see this show, Assassins, in London. It was at a tiny theater (which I have visited previously) called the Menier Chocolate Factory. And it starred a very famous British actress / singer, Catherine Tate. Which means you couldn't get a ticket for love or money, believe me I tried. There is no legal secondary market for tickets in London. So I missed this, even thought we were in London during part of its run visiting friends. (A version with a different cast is playing this year at a smaller theater and I cannot wait to see it!) Aaron played John Wilkes Booth.

BL: Head shot (he's pretty).

BMU: Graceland. He has been a major player on Graceland on TV.

BMB: He played Alan Ginsberg's boyfriend in Howl. Howl was very odd. It is essentially James Franco performing the poem (free form, not rhyming) to audiences, Aaron, bar crowds and activists.

BR: His performed in Rent at the Hollywood Bowl as Roger. Since it was in LA for one night, I missed it, but friends went and loved him.



Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Has anyone ever watch Outer Banks!

Okay, Outer Banks doesn't have an exclamation point at the end, but it should.

So here's the story. I love a tv show about stupid high schoolers but played by 30 year olds. They are sappy, stupid, sexy, and sometimes sweet. (Yeah, I still like an oxford comma, wanna make something of it?)


But I have tried to watch this show, like 4 or 5, times. Each time I can get a little farther in it, but at some point (still on the first episode) it is so awful I have to turn it off. Who ever decided to make this show for Netflix (now in its 2nd season) decided to throw every cliché into the pot and stir.

There is the absent mother, the sad dad, later the dead dad, the high schoolers never in school and having massive high school parties on the beach without adults (so who bought all the liquor). There are the four (growing to five) stereotypical friends:

  1. The cute but damaged boy lead - long hair, nice body 
  2. The surfer friend - blond, hothead, a bit arrogant (shirt usually off)
  3. The black friend - usually keeps his shirt on to show he is the smart one 
  4. The mixed-raced friend tomboy - she is, but doesn't believe it, pretty and smart
  5.  ......and then they win over....
  6. The rich girl whom the lead has always had a crush on but is to shy to say it, blond sassy and embarrassed by daddy's coin (and helps with the villain who is rich girl's ex, rich and bitter)


Real Ages, in the same order
  1. Plays 16 (ha!) is 26.
  2. Plays 16 - is 22
  3. Plays 16 - is 23
  4. Plays 16 - is 22
  5. Plays 16 - is 23

I just want you all to think back at how you looked at 16. Not like any of them.

Even I know this is a bad idea

Everyone that has been by, has seen the large deck across the way. I think I even posted a picture of the purple couch once. But this caught my eye today.


Okay, look below how close that trampoline is to the edge. Not super close, but I know I would fall off.



Broadway Fun 2: Patti Lupone

Before I start, a quick comment. I see a lot of plays for free off-Broadway. And on Broadway, you can get great seats for a great price if you buy a single the night before. So that is how I saw many of these shows. So I am not rich and didn't pay crazy prices for almost all these shows.

Okay, what is this list without this Diva. She is imperious, vocally stunning and commands a room. I actually saw her first when I was in college (yes really) playing pre-Broadway Evita in tryouts at the Century City Schubert Theater.

She has done lots of TV, almost always straight shows, with no singing. And, if you have ever listened to the album of Les Miz, she was the first Fontine (in London). She also created the role of Norman in the musical Sunset Blvd in London. I literally traveled to London to see that show.

She is great, but seems a little unapproachable. And she has opinions and will act on them. From Wikipedia.

Views on theatre conduct

LuPone opposes recording, photographs, and other electronic distractions in live theatre. "Where's the elegance?" she asked in a blog post on her official site. "I mean, I'm glad they show up because God knows it's a dying art form and I guess I'm glad they're all comfortable, sleeping, eating and drinking, things they should be doing at home and in a restaurant. But it's just not done in the theater or shouldn't be." LuPone has been the subject of some controversy due to the bluntness of her statements regarding this matter.

A related incident occurred at the second to last performance of Gypsy on January 10, 2009. LuPone, irritated by flash photography, stopped in the middle of "Rose's Turn" and loudly demanded that the interloper be removed from the theatre. After he was removed, LuPone restarted her number. The audience applauded her stance. The event was recorded by another audience member, who released it on YouTube. She later stated that such distractions drive "people in the audience nuts. They can't concentrate on the stage if, in their peripheral vision, they're seeing texting, they're seeing cameras, they're listening to phone calls. How can we do our job if the audience is distracted?", and also mentioned that "the interesting thing is I'm not the first one that's done it".

On July 8, 2015, during the second act of Shows for Days at the Lincoln Center Theater, LuPone grabbed an audience member's cellphone while leaving the stage as the audience member had been using their phone during the play.

I saw here in these shows in various places including New York.

TL: Headshot

2nd from left: Evita. She will always be Evita to me (people in London have their own favorite). She made the musical and song Don't Cry For Me Argentina heard around the world. Breath taking. Despite loving Madonna in the film, Patti will always be my Evita. And my disco Evita (the remake of Disco Don't Cry For Me Argentina - was perfection.

3rd from left: Women on the Verge of A Nervous Breakdown. Meh. But the costumes were great.

TR: Sweeney Todd. She played Mrs. Lovett in the revival by John Doyle. It was famous for having the cast both sing and play the instruments in the show. She played percussion and the Tuba. Ed and I loved it. Patti was great, but Michael Cerveris as Sweeney stole that show.

LL: Hollywood on netflix. She was fantastic as the wife of the studio head and the boy toy renting aficionado.  I know it isn't theater, but I loved it.

MU: She played Helena Rubinstein in War Paint on Broadway. Her outfits were stunning, her singing was spot on but her speaking with a Boris und Natasha East European accent was regrettable.

ML: Mama Rose in Gypsy. She was one of many greats in this role. She always watned this role, and she was excellent.

LU: Sunset Boulevard in London. She was so fantastic, that I could barely watch the one in the US with Glenn Close. I guess you shouldn't piss off Andrew Lloyd Weber. On great nights, I still can sit back and hear her sing With One Look. I also hear Glenn Close "sing/talk" the song. I hear it to this day in my nightmares. Late at night, when I am sad and afraid.

LM: This is one of the many talk shows she was on where she told the story of the phone in Gypsy. She actually stopped the show to yell at someone who's phone rang. Literally, broke out of character ad harangued them.

LR: Company. She starred in London and will star on Broadway late this year in Company. It is arvival that changes the lead from a man to a woman.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Watch the Trump team tear into each other

You knew the Trumpers would slowly turn on each other, then quickly finish the job. Remember when Anthony Scaramucci was Director of Communications for ten days. TEN.

And then, once he was put out to pasture, the Trump administration piled on in attacking him.

Now Trump-pardon holder Roger Stone (who honestly has a tattoo of Nixon on his back*). He has come out against one of Trump first defenders.


Now, while I dislike Roger, AND think judging someone on their looks is bad. You gotta admit, here he is correct.


Also PS, I don't think you'd believe me until you see it, therefore:




My Review of Pass Over

Full review link here.

But it starts:

Pass Over: Paradise Delayed or Delivered?

Pass Over is a relatively young play, returning to Broadway just a few years after the original ran in 2018. For those of you that saw that version, or the Spike Lee filmed version, the ending is very different. I didn’t see either of these (although I confess to watching the end of the Spike Lee version afterwards), so I came to it with fresh eyes.

Huge credit must be given to the playwright, Antionette Chinonye Nwandu, for crafting a play that is both funny and profane, both tragic and comedic, influenced by the defeated and hopeful.

Jon Michael Hall and Nair Smallwood in Pass Over

The profanity, the banter and the pathos are delivered by the characters Moses and Kitch, portrayed by the wonderful and heartbreaking performances of Jon Michael Hill and Nair Smallwood, respectively. These two men are stuck in place and time where the value of the black men matter less than the comfort and lives of the Police.  Police that act like violet overlords that pass though their lives, bringing pain and humiliation, only to pass back out again.

Broadway Fun 1: Christian Borle

During the Covid break I printed out a page from all my reviews and I found that some entertainers I love come up a lot. A lot!

So I thought I would share with you. Up first Christian Borle. Unlike many of the other actors I will talk about, he doesn't do much TV or movie work so you might not recognize him. He was in all 32 episodes of Smash, but I stopped watching early. 

Most of these shows are comedy and his timing is unbelievable.  He sings on the soundtracks of many of these shows.

He has been in some amazing shows, these are the ones I seen in New York (on and off Broadway).

Left -> Right | Top ->Bottom

TL: Something Rotten. He plays William Shakespeare as a rock n roll idol. He is hilarious as the heartthrob with a big codpiece. Tony Award, Best Actor Featured in a Musical

TR: Headshot

ML: Lot's of parts in Little Shop of Horrors. Drama Desk: Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical

MM: Falsettos No really my cup of tea. It seemed dated look at gay life, but he was very good.

MR: Pryor in Angels in America (off Broadway). I cannot judge because I love that show. He was excellent as Pryor - if a little too buff.

LL: Legally Blonde - the Musical.This was my first time watching him. He was the nice guy and sings beautifully

LR: Black Stash in Peter And the Star Catcher. He played a pirate that turns into Black Stash during the show. It is a prequel to Peter Pan and he is a precursor to Captain Hook. Tony Award, Best Actor Featured in a Musical | Lortel Award,  Outstanding Lead Actor

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Maybe I lived with my father too long, but all I can think is wives don't have to testify against husbands.


Maybe I lived with my father too long, but all I can think is wives don't have to testify against husbands. My dad did this at least once (actually, probably twice, just fyi).

This Matt Gaetz, he is the Congressman being investigated for Sex Trafficking, soliciting a prostitute and taking women across the border for purposes of prostitution. And yes, his paid companion now wife was also implicated. 

And just before you say Democrats and Republicans are the same, New Yorkers kicked Elliot Spritzer's ass out of the Governor's Office for doing the last one of Matt's crimes (allegedly).



Why can't we fix poverty and homelessness?

First, I am NOT bringing this up to trash anyone. All voting Americans let this happen. Below the sad figures are not something to be proud of.

Americans have always had a problem with homelessness and poverty (at least since I was born). These problems are exacerbated in urban areas and increased exponentially under Ronald Reagan (whatever you think of him) when his administration closed national and state mental hospitals. This process was first tested when he was governor or California and lead to huge problems for working people.

Under his terms as President, he took this program nationally, leading to a class of homeless people with mental problems that should, rightfully, be in an institution or group home. People that are almost impossible to integrate into our society as it is and was.

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At the same time, his (and subsequent) administrations began to cut programs for poverty. He was the first to talk of "Welfare Queens" that ride their Cadillacs to buy steaks with OUR money. Regardless of the truth of this (surprise, it wasn't true), American cut support (both money and food) to the poor - while simultaneously turning mentally impaired people onto the street. 

Remember, Israel's number include Palestinians.

Most Americans didn't care because Reagan also lowered taxes. Those most effected, the poor, the homeless and children in poverty, can't vote. Once politicians found this was a winning recipe, it was repeated by Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2 and Trump (Obama did NOT follow this plan). Americans were told this was an unfixable problem because the poor wouldn't work.

NOTE: This was created for a British Magazine, the United Staes is there at the bottom.

Ad so, by 2000 we became inured to the homeless. 

By 2019, cuts t hospitals and mental facilities meant we also had almost highest rate of children in poverty in first world countries. We have the highest rate of black women dying in child birth of many countries, even more than Mexico and Uzbekistan.



And then came Covid. And America passed 4 covid support bills totaling $2.5 trillion. Much of this was sucked up by business, graft and Trump's friends. But a significant made it to regular Americans. This is about the same that we spent in Afghanistan. With that money:

  • Child poverty was massively reduced
  • Poverty in America was reduced.
  • Homelessness was blunted
So it is possible to fix our problems if we had the political will to do it.

But it costs money, and legislatures won't pass that because if you pass higher taxes then you get voted out. So America and Americans remain committed to wealth for the rich and cuts for the least able to afford it. And a willingness to ignore the problems of the poor and homeless.



Saturday, August 21, 2021

Look, is it a hoax, or are you stupid?

Those people claiming that Covid is a hoax are buying animal dewormer to prevent getting it. 

So which is it? A hoax that you don't have to worry about, or a real sickness that you should take the vaccine for. There is no "It's NOT real but animal dewormer fixes it" choice.



Why do other border walls work when ours does not?

Greece just built a wall on the border with Turkey, ostensibly to keep our Afghans, but will also work to keep out Syrian refugees and other refugees as well. Why does it work, when the US border wall with Mexico does not work?



There are a couple of reasons that these two walls (and a third wall in Hungary) diverge in acceptance.

  • Shear length of the walls makes construction more difficult. This is magnified by the topography of the land (the US / Mexico border is very very rugged, the others are not. 
    • The Greek wall is approximately 25 kilometers (or about 15 miles) long. And runs the length of the Greek / Turkish border.  It is 1.3% as long as the US Wall.
    • The Hungarian wall is approximately 523 kilometers (or about 325 miles) long. And runs the length of the Hungary / Serbia border. It is 16% as long as the US wall.
    • The USA wall is approximately 1044 Kilometers (or about 649 miles) long. The Rio Grande, not much of a barrier but one none the less, is 1997 Kilometers (about 1,241 miles). There was less than 25 miles of wall in 2005.
    • This makes the US border harder to hide being a wall, and MUCH more expensive
  • Other walls discourage movement from only a portion of the entire border and only on the border of non-allied neighbors.
    • The Greek Border wall faces only Turkey, less than 10% of it's foreign borders The Greek borders with Bulgaria (another EU member) is not fenced. The borders with Albania and North Macedonia, poor neighbors trying to get in the EU - so not migrating, are not fenced.
    • The Hungarian Border wall faces only Serbia, about 25% of it's borders. The rest of Hungary borders EU partners (and a small slice of Ukraine).
    • The US Border wall covers our entire southern border. And the other side is an both an ally and massive economic partner of the United States, Mexico. So that border MUST be porous at some level to allow massive trade.
  • The US is NOT a single race, so it is harder to define who is or is not an American.
    • Other countries that allow in foreign workers, do not grant citizenship to other nationalities. Even to foreigner born in the country - for example even 3rd generation Turks in Germany cannot be German citizens (same is true for many countries, like Japan).
    • Almost everyone who is a Hungarian citizen is a Hungarian by ancestry. And Roma or refugees cannot be citizens.
    • Almost everyone who is a Greek citizen is Greek by ancestry. And Turks or Syrians definitely cannot be citizens.
    • Americans, except native Americans on reservations, is a mix of ancestries. Therefore it is much easier to build a wall and play to nationalism and xenophobia in single race countries.  In America it is much harder to define "non-Americans", because it is possible for everyone to be an American. So once past the wall or immigration control at our airports, it is very hard to discern who is legal and who is. here illegally.
  • Finally, the border wall has become political.
    • Before President Trump, the border wall was controversial, but not by political party. It wasn't until the 2000s and the advent of Fox News and President Trump that Republicans politicized the wall. Before that, both Republicans and Democrats were in favor of building the wall AND providing a path to citizenship. But once you blame Democrats for the problem, it is suddenly a mark of political affiliation, not a solution.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Image for the Week-end

Next week I will do a countdown of very cool artists I have seen on broadway. But first, a picture of love.



The serious discussion of Afghanistan on Fox leads to ...commercials?


This is Sean Hannity (the White one). He has always been a radio / TV headline grabber, from college talk radio in the 1980s, through Atlanta Conservative Radio to Fox News "Opinion" broadcaster -meaning his attacks on gays, his "advice" that AIDS can be transferred through sneezing, his "birther truth" about Barrack Obama, his attacks and disinformation on Climate Change, even his appearance at Trump Rallies cannot be touched by libel, since they are only "opinions", not news.

Lets us now see how he has reported on the Afghan withdrawal. H supported it under Trump, but he is now totally against following Trump's agreement if it is Biden.

But the beauty is how he works his sponsors into the conversation (link).

“There is a stampede, not only out of Afghanistan, but a stampede away from high prices, overpriced service from the big carriers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile. The average family making the switch to PureTalk.” — Sean Hannity on his radio show, Aug. 16, 2021

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Well THIS isn't good.

 Remember a few days ago I wrote about the Atlantic Current and how an increase in Greenland runoff would screw with it. Well, this is distressing. For only the 3rd time in history has it been above freezing here (that is 2 days!) ( and history that we've been watching - so only about 80 years) at the top of Greenland (about 10,000 feet), it rained.

It never rains in Greenland on a mountain top glacier about 10,000 feet. But now it rains and makes rivers. that is not good. As in HAS NEVER RAINED since we have been around to watch it.


story

See, heres' the thing. We don't know the effects of Covid later in life

I don't have children, so I am not one to make a decision for my child. But I also think people need all the information we have. 

Despite being focused on "deaths" we should, at least in children, be focused on longer term effects. Some we don't know yet. For example, in the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918 - 1920, most of the people that died where in the prime of youth. Men and women between 18 - 22 years old, millions of them.

Only with the benefit of hindsight can we see that those same children recovered from a previous pandemic flu in 1900, when they themselves were toddlers. 

I am not saying the same thing will happen with Covid, but why expose your kids to possible future side effects we don't even know. We know Covid attacks brains, lungs and the heart. Even if you child doesn't suffer symptoms (or recovers), we don't know the long term effects.

I think these politicians are playing with future generations, and their parents are okay with that. It might be okay, but that is a hell of a gamble.


Full article.

I am ambivalent

The Music Man is playing on Broadway starting early next year. I am ambivalent about it.

On the one hand, it will start Sutton Foster and Hugh Jackman 2 famous actors and musical theater stars.


On the other hand, it's The Music Man. ("He's a who? He's a what?"). I did this musical in High School - that isn't high praise. And the musical movie (with Shirley Jones and Robert Preston) is an interesting slice of white bread Americana from the 1950s - its relevance today (as either a commentary or a musical) is questionable. Dated is an understatement.

And so, I won't be paying high priced tickets for it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Gay Pride in Reykjavik

Reykjavik does not have a lot of "parade" days. USA has Columbus Day and July 4th parades in most parts of America. And New York in addition to these two, we have the Gay Pride parade, the Irish (Saint Patrick's) Day parade, the Dominican Pride parade, the Puerto Rican Pride parade, a German Pride parade and any ticker tape parade that rears up.

Reykjavik then does the Gay Pride Parade over the top. IN doing so almost 2/3s of their city (so a little over half the country) turns out to dance, celebrate, march and/or watch. And the decorations go all out in the city. Multiple streets painted rainbow colors. A pride store downtown. It is a thang.

Leif Erickson and the Cathedral

Pull back and you see the Pride Flag flying in front of the Lutheran Cathedral
 
This picture above was actually taken from our hotel room.

Ed standing on one of the many painted streets. In front of the auditorium where the parade opened, the night before we left.

Another painted street. The parade was Saturday (we left Wednesday).


About sums it up