Wednesday, September 30, 2009

still wanna be a producer?

now's your chance last chance.

the sky is not falling: the flyer

click, print, and post. at your desk, in your office, on your callboard at the theatre. print a bunch and go running through times square handing them out.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

public option: $85 billion more in savings

not only is the public at large overwhelmingly in favor of it, but enacting health care reform with a public option based on medicare rates "would save $110 billion over 10 years" – $20 billion more than earlier estimates, says the congressional budget office.

teabaggers not bagging much support

despite the downer headline, a new cbs/new york times poll has plenty of good news for president obama, and democrats. not so much for republicans. despite all the yelling, teabagging and media hooplah this summer over health care...
The poll suggests that Mr. Obama is in a decidedly more commanding position than Republicans on this issue as Congressional negotiations move into final stages. Most Americans trust Mr. Obama more than Republicans to make the right decisions on the issue; 76 percent said Republicans had not even laid out a clear health care plan.

And by a lopsided margin, respondents said that Mr. Obama and not Republicans had made an effort to cross party lines and strike a deal that has the support of both parties.
furthermore, a majority of respondents think the federal government should guarantee health care for all, and here's the whopper: when asked, "would you favor or oppose the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan – something like the medicare coverage that people 65 and older get – that would compete with private health insurance plans?"
favor 65%
oppose 26%
dk/na 9%
and the percentage in favor of a public option has increased since august.


one of my greatest fears in life is that i am going to accidentally eat a bug.

okay, it's not one off my greatest fears, like drowning or experiencing the sensation of melting flesh. or being stuck in an elevator with ann coulter (that's likely above both drowning and the melting flesh thing.) accidentally eating a bug probably falls somewhere around having to just ride in the elevator with ann coulter.

i would consider eating a bug on purpose. but to suddenly have 6 to 260 little legs paddling furiously against your tongue (or worse - the back of your throat) when you expected only a tortilla chip and a chunk of week-old salsa seems to me like it would be one of the most horrible experiences you could have.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

iowa stubborn stupid

the vast majority of folks in iowa are actually quite intelligent. seriously.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

jensen (re)joins the skylight

the good news at the skylight opera theatre continues, today's being some of the best in a long time: amy jensen is returning to the skylight, this time as managing director.

Skylight Opera Theatre Announces
New Managing Director Amy S. Jensen

MILWAUKEE, WI - It is with great pleasure that John Stollenwerk, newly elected president of the Skylight Opera Theatre Board of Directors, announces the appointment of Amy S. Jensen as the next Managing Director of the Skylight Opera Theatre.

Stollenwerk states, "We are extremely pleased that Jensen has accepted the position as Managing Director of the Skylight Opera Theatre." Adds Joan Lounsbery, former Skylight Opera Theatre Managing Director and current Interim Managing Director, "The Skylight has gained a skilled professional with 15 years of experience in leadership roles in the Milwaukee arts community. Her financial expertise and her love of the Skylight make her the perfect choice for this organization."

This is actually a return to the Skylight for Jensen; between 1995 and 2001, she served as the Skylight's Finance Director. She has also held positions at the Milwaukee Art Museum, UPAF, and, most recently, as the VP and CFO of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO). "Amy's contributions to the MSO have been enormous over the past three years. As CFO, she has played a key role in MSO financial planning, human resource management, information technology, strategic planning, UPAF relations and the work of the Finance Committee, Audit Committee, Endowment/Foundation Trustees and Milwaukee Arts Partners. The MSO family wishes Amy the best in this exciting new role at the Skylight," said MSO President and Executive Director Mark Hanson.

Jensen has long been an arts lover, arts patron and arts advocate. She has provided consulting services for several area non-profits and has been invited to speak at a variety of local and national conferences such as Theatre Wisconsin, Association of Fundraising Professionals and Americans for the Arts.

She states, "I am so proud of the Skylight for beginning its 50th Anniversary Season with such a spectacular production of The Barber of Seville. It is the shining example of everything there is to love about the Skylight and I am excited to be returning to the company in this new role at this time. I look forward to working with everyone who is a part of the Skylight family to solve the current challenges and build toward an exciting future."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

protect health insurance companies

"People are saying a lot of mean things about health insurance companies and their executives and it's gotta stop."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

maureen dowd calls out the south

in sunday's new york times:
This president is the ultimate civil rights figure — a black man whose legitimacy is constantly challenged by a loco fringe.

For two centuries, the South has feared a takeover by blacks or the feds. In Obama, they have both.

there's safety in numbers

there's some disagreement about how many folks were teabagging washington d.c. on saturday. but heck, what's 1,430,000 here or there among friends?

from abc news:
Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, the group that organized the event, said on stage at the rally that ABC News was reporting that 1 million to 1.5 million people were in attendance.

At no time did ABC News, or its affiliates, report a number anywhere near as large. reported an approximate figure of 60,000 to 70,000 protesters, attributed to the Washington, D.C., fire department. In its reports, ABC News Radio described the crowd as "tens of thousands."
leave it to a teabagger to lie about the size of his members.

quote of the day

"Make Joe Wilson pay.

And by pay, I mean beat his sorry ass at the polls and send him to the private sector. That is the only way to change the political discourse in America today. Because as long as louts like Joe Wilson can spout off and call the president a liar and get rewarded with reelection, then louts will continue to spout off. And we will continue to claw our way to the very bottom of the political swamp."

– former bush and mccain strategist mark mckinnon
read the rest of mark mckinnon's post here. make a donation to wilson's opponent, rob miller, here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

the future of the republican party

from today's tea-bag march on washington. crowd estimates vary from 30,000 to 60,000. protest organizers accuse the obama administration of manipulating those turnout numbers, claiming the actual crowd size was more like 2 million.

what's even better than this, is the photo of the full sign this young man is holding (below the jump.) i just hope he didn't have to watch the president's address to students last tuesday.

andrew sullivan has more.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

quote of the day

"What you're seeing is folks on my side anxious to see what the president has to say tomorrow night. I think he's gonna have to express some humility based on what we've seen around the country this August, and that's not his inclination."
– senator saxby chambliss (R-GA)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

the fire next door, part five:
"what in this apartment...?"

(continued from part four)

we rounded the corner and looked back to our building. no police tape. no one blocking our door. as we charged up the stairs, the smell of smoke in the stairway was heavy, but certainly not overwhelming.

four flights up, we opened the door.

our apartment was unharmed. in back, the bedroom just as we left it. untouched. rob, behind me, gave me a squeeze. not because of the bedroom.

i crawled out onto the fire escape to survey the damage.

the ash tree was not ash. it too appeared unharmed. a bit of charring near the trunk's base, but the rest still healthy, green and beautiful. the first, second and third floor windows next door had been blown out, or busted out. someone's belongings had been pulled out a bottom floor window: a dresser, a full length mirror, clothes, papers. providing another entrance for firemen to battle the flames, perhaps.

then there was movement. as if a painting i'd been lost in suddenly came to life. the movement had been there from the start, but somehow i'd missed.


the fire was out, but the embers and mess needed to be soaked, and poked through. the sound of water and chopping. breaking, smashing. more chopping.

"firefighters love to do that," our friend ted would later tell us. "they have to smash up everything to make sure the fire is completely out and doesn't start again." seven or eight firemen were milling around in our courtyard, while others were digging through the burned out apartments like miners looking for treasure, explorers exploring. spelunkers.

i climbed down a flight on the fire escape.

there was the apartment where the fire started, as if on display. with the windows smashed wide open you could see right in. at first it was difficult to make out much, everything was black. then it came clear. moments ago this was someone's home, someone's respite from the hectic rush of new york. now it was...gone.

“i saw the woman who was screaming,” my downstairs neighbor said, leaning out her window right behind me. “the woman who was yelling 'help me, i'm going to die.' i saw her out on the street. she was walking around and smiling and saying, ‘oh i’m fine! sure, really, i’m fine.’ i thought to myself, i don’t think so.”

"you okay?" i asked. she looked in my eyes. nodded.

"you?" i nodded. and enough.

i climbed back up to my own window, crouched, and paused to look in, like an outsider seeing it for the first time. there was our bed. our warm, comfortable bed. there were books. clothes. papers. through the door i could see our kitchen, our living room in the distance.

and i remembered that moment.

the moment in the middle of it all when i turned to rob and said, “think. what in this apartment could you not live without?” i knew the answer as the question was coming out of my mouth. i knew the answer as true and as strong as anything i’ve ever known in my life.

"what are you doing out here?!" rob said, smiling, shaking his head and coming toward me from inside. "i want you to come inside with us." he put out a hand to help me crawl in the window.

what in this apartment could you not live without?

i was looking at it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

the fire next door, part four:
"they're rescuing someone"

(continued from part three)

"oh look!" a woman behind me said. "look, they're rescuing someone!"

a fireman had shimmied up a ladder next to a fire escape on the front of the building and was reaching out to a middle-aged man standing on the rickety metal contraption.

the man looked anxious, scared, but focused. there seemed to be some intense discussion between the two, as to how this might work. the man just kept reaching out. was he...? yes. he was handing something to the fireman. something large, and brown.

something moving.

a dog.

"they got him," the woman behind me said. "oh thank goodness, they got him."

in time, the smell of wet and burnt overtook the smell of smoke. there was some comfort in that smell. the smell of dead campfire.

it smelled over.

there wasn’t as much movement from the firemen anymore. stretchers were being taken away empty. oxygen masks were being removed. even some of the gawkers were dissipating, moving on. no one had been seriously hurt. there was plenty of damage to be sure, but everyone was alive. the gawker's stories wouldn't have the intense climax some of them had been waiting for.

we headed back around the corner to our home. to our apartment. if those flames had actually made the jump across the courtyard to our building, we likely wouldn't be allowed back in.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

the fire next door, part three:
"the guy in the blue t-shirt"

(continued from part two)

once outside, we could see the entire block had been shut down. six, seven firetrucks surrounded us. men running, oxygen tanks strapped to their backs. fire hoses. pickaxes. and smoke. smoke rising up and over the top of our building. (could it now be from our building? was our bedroom on fire? no. the flames couldn't have spread that fast. they couldn't have.)

we walked around the corner to get a better view of the burning building.


gawking. pointing. shaking heads. the experts spouting off about what happened and why, the lurkers listening in – leaning in – to get the story. "apartment building on 96th burned today," they'd say at dinner, or at the bar later. "i was right there. such a mess." we became part of them. we stood. we stood with everyone else, and watched.

i saw no flames.

but i could see faces. faces of men rushing into the building with seemingly no fear. faces black with soot and red from the heat. "he looks sunburned," rob said, referring to a man who had just come out of the building. there were dozens upon dozens. and suddenly i had a newfound appreciation for them: the firemen.

“i’ve lived in that building since 1983” the man next to me said, fiddling with the police tape stretched across the width of the sidewalk, there to keep the gawkers at a safe distance. “i'm on the top floor. i’m the only one left with an actual floor-through. in the 90’s the owner divided all the other apartments in half and rented each as two separate units. that meant all the apartments in back were without a fire escape. they have no fire escape. which is illegal.”

the woman screaming was right. if she hadn't jumped, or been rescued, she could have died. she was a young woman, not quite 30. she might have survived a jump – a broken limb, maybe. an elderly person probably wouldn't have made it.

i wondered again if the man who appeared in the courtyard, urging the young woman not to jump, was in fact the building's owner. where had he come from?

"that's him right there," rob said. "the guy in the blue t-shirt, wearing the tacky gold chain. that's the guy who was in the courtyard."

it wasn't, in fact, a fireman who brought the ladder. it was this man right in front of me. he was wearing a tight blue t-shirt with the words "neighborhood construction something-or-other" written across the back in a bright white design that included what appeared to be a new york city skyline, i wasn't sure. this was the man from the courtyard, sitting a few feet away from me now, talking to two firemen. explaining what happened, i guessed. moments earlier an older asian woman had been reading him the riot act.

i looked back at rob. "is he the owner, do you think?"

“those tenants are going to own that building” another voice interrupted. “that owner is going to jail.”

"oh look!" a woman from behind me said. "look, they're rescuing someone!"


the fire next door, part two:
"what can you not live without?"

(continued from part one)

suddenly there was a man in the alleyway. a stranger, in the courtyard. was it the building super? no. the owner of the building on fire? “they’re coming!” he yelled up to the woman and her friend. "they're coming! don’t jump, they’re coming!”

i could hear huge, giant screams of “help me!” from somewhere else inside that building. shrieking. or was that my imagination?

the woman screamed back “i have to jump! i can’t get out! i have no fire escape! i’m going to die!”

don't cry, i told myself. strong. calm. rob now, yelling at her “no! i see them! they’re here! i see them! don’t jump!! please don’t jump!”

a ladder. a fireman. within seconds the woman and then the man were crawling out the window onto the ladder and down to safety.

the flames from ten feet away were shooting up and threatening our ash tree. i knew if that tree caught fire we were in trouble: it would surely cause the flames to jump buildings. the fire was even stronger now, harsher. reaching further up. the bottom of the tree…had it caught? was it burning…?


again, glassy eyed for a split second. someone could still be in that building, i thought. someone could be on the fourth or fifth floor, and not know what was happening. sleeping. or maybe a pet.

a dog.

suddenly i could hear it. i could hear reggie howling. reggie, our dear old airedale, dead over a year ago, howling, crying, terrified and trapped.

“think,” i said to rob, looking him dead in the eye. “what in this apartment can you not live without?” there was some panic. moments ago this was small, an annoyance, nothing threatening to us. now the heat coming in our back window was unbearable.

it was shut, and we were out the door.

in the rush to get out i had managed to grab my computer and stuff it in my backpack.

i thought of a photo of my mother that was on my computer. that’s why i took it. not for the internet, or for my writing, or for my music, or for anything else. for a picture of my mother that i knew i had on my hard drive.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

the fire next door, part one:
"is something burning?"

saturday, september 5th.

1:03 p.m.

“is something burning?” rob’s cousin laurin asked.

laurin, visiting new york from south carolina, was sitting on the living room couch in the front of our floor-through apartment, waiting for an important phone call. i was hunched over a computer in the office, working. “something is burning” i said, and rushed to the kitchen, heading immediately to the stove. i checked the burners, i moved the teapot aside, was there a potholder lying on top of…?


thick, and black. i could see it through our kitchen window. pouring from the bottom floor of the building directly behind ours.

in the summer our bedroom window is often left wide open. there’s a small, unused courtyard below our fire escape, between the buildings, and a big, beautiful tree – is it an ash? – that's grown taller than any of the former tenement housing surrounding it. on a perfect summer day like today, a gentle cross-breeze blows through our entire apartment and keeps it remarkably cool.

right now that cross breeze was rancid with smoke.

i ran to the bedroom window and looked out. the smoke had been joined by bright orange flames that were reaching up and around the lip of the neighbor's basement window. up and into the courtyard. for a split second i was glassy eyed. the orange from below contrasted with the black steel grating of our fire escape looked more like a firepit grill, i thought, than a terrible emergency.

instantly there was motion and action and movement in our apartment. i called 911. rob and laurin were gathering things up to go outside. i ran to the living room to throw on a pair of shoes. we shifted from “it’s not as bad as it looks” to “we’ve got to get out of here” as rapidly as the fire seemed to grow.

then the screaming started.

“help me! help me! please!!!”

no, that wasn’t real. someone was kidding. they just need to calm down. what were they yelling about? this is just like a movie, i thought.

“oh my god!” rob yelled from the bedroom.

a young woman was now perched on her third story window sill, just across the courtyard, with a man standing behind her, leaning far out on her left. other windows in the building had been blown out, and the strength of the heat coming up toward our own bedroom window was growing.

“i have no fire escape! i’m going to die!” she was screaming.

then i saw her face.

now it was real.

rob was leaning out onto our fire escape, and the woman was edging further out onto the sill of her window, preparing to jump.


Friday, September 4, 2009

a new york city night

wisconsin candy from a stranger

more lunacy from the milwaukee journal-sentinal:
As in the Elmbrook School District, teachers in the Wauwatosa School District will not be showing President Barack Obama's speech to America's schoolchildren live on Tuesday. Chris Preisler, communications director for the Wauwatosa School District, confirmed that his district's superintendent notified building principals Thursday the district would tape the speech so teachers could view it later and determine whether they want to use it in their classrooms or not.
and then there's this bit of history, from politifact:
President George H.W. Bush gave an address to schools nationwide in 1991, from a junior high school in Washington, D.C. News reports from the time said the White House hoped that the address would be shown at schools nationwide, and Bush began his remarks by saying he was talking to "millions" of students "in classrooms all across the country."
and the hero of the right, ronald reagan, was anything but non-political when he had the chance to talk to the nation's students:
We also found that Ronald Reagan took questions from high school students at the White House in 1986, and the question-and-answer session was broadcast nationally.

Reagan urged the students to stay in school and say no to drugs, but he also discussed overtly political matters, such as national defense funding, nuclear disarmament and -- in surprising policy detail -- taxes. (Read Reagan's complete remarks.)

Later in the session, a student asked Reagan what he considered his greatest achievement as president. Reagan said it was that the House and Senate had separately passed legislation cutting taxes, and he was looking forward to seeing the legislation finalized and become law.
people need to start asking this question: how did my school district handle george bush's speech to american students in '91? how did they handle ronald reagan's in '86? and why are they treating this president any differently?

don't take candy from strangers, ctd.

"we haven't received one positive phone call or email," a colorado school administrator said earlier this week, referring to president barack obama's upcoming address to students. (the school system did report 40 to 50 calls against airing the speech, however.)

imagine that dinner table conversation: "honey, i guess i'd better get on the horn to billy's school tomorrow morning to let them know i want billy to hear the president's speech."

why would there be a positive call? most folks just assume (and agree) that hey, the president is giving a speech to young people, they'll play it at school. this is good. he's the president. even when there was grumbling from democrats about bush 41's speech to kids and reagan's too, it didn't rise to this level of silliness.

well, david baron and cory goodrich of pleasant hill, illinois have taken that positive step. they have each sent letters to the local school district, asking that obama's speech be heard:
SUBJECT: Please air Obama's speech to the children

Dear District 200 School Board,

I am a father of a Pleasant Hill student and a tax payer for Wheaton District 200 and I am writing to express outrage at District 200's decision to ban President Obama's planned message to school children. I believe that the President should be heard regardless of the message. We must come together as a community and as a nation to help this country flourish.

The speech will be made available before the airing. Please review it then, prepare a response if necessary, and air the speech for the children. This is an educational opportunity for the children, not a means of political censorship.

Remember last fall during the election? You helped our children get involved in the political process. You allowed them to make their own choice, to vote. Those who voted in Pleasant Hill were excited to be involved and to exercise their freedoms in school as they will one day as an adult.

Please just air it and denounce those who would like to use this opportunity for political gain.


David Barron


A Letter To The School District

As the mother to a Pleasant Hill child, I am writing to express my concern and disappointment at District 200's decision to ban President Obama's planned educational message to school children, under the thinly veiled guise of concerns for not being able to preview the contents of the speech.

In these times of political turmoil, it is more important than ever to come to a place of peace between the parties. Education, the eradication of ignorance, the important message of staying in school and participating in our government to create a future we can ALL be proud of, should be common ground and a place to come together.

Unfortunately, some political factions have chosen have chosen to use this as a platform for spreading lies and derisiveness and disrespect for the leaders of our country. I am saddened that District 200 has decided to participate in this fiasco and has become a political pawn.

I am also saddened that my daughter and her peers will be denied an educational opportunity that could encourage them to be excited about learning, and is a direct bipartisan message to THEM from the President of the United States.

Consequently, I will be taking her home to watch the speech.

We had a unique opportunity this last election, to witness our children's excitement about the election process. I have never witnessed so many children so curious and involved in politics and I think this participation in government is an important and empowering lesson for them. Unfortunately, the door is being slammed in their faces once again and it dismays me that an educational institution would participate in the silencing of a generation.

While I applaud your decision to make several DVD copies of the speech available (to a district that contains 20 schools), I am disappointed in your choice to unilaterally ban the speech from its intended audience.

Education banishes ignorance. Censorship fosters it.


Cory Goodrich

quote of the day

"The most important thing is the public option. I don't know for sure if I would support it with out a public option but it would be hard to get there.... We're not going through this to write some namby pamby bill so we can check a box and say we did health care reform."
– Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

the la crosse wisconsin death panels

who would have thought what's turned into "pulling the plug on granny" and "obama death panels" all started in a hospital in lacrosse, wisconsin?

gundersen lutheran, the largest hospital in lacrosse, began discussing end-of-life issues with patients and their families in the mid-1980s:
"We'd turn to the family and say, 'We need your input. If your mother or father could speak now, what would they tell you?' And the family would say, 'If we only knew,' " said [hospital official Bud] Hammes, 59. "I could see the distress. They were going to have to live with themselves, with the worry about making a mistake.

This was unacceptable."
so the docs at gundersen then began counseling families about health care directives, living wills, and appointing a health care agent. they wanted folks to discuss these issues with their families when they were healthy.

it worked well. friends talked to friends and the idea spread. soon, folks in their 60's were drawing up directives to spare their children from making agonizing decisions when the time came. the community embraced the concept and does to this day.

gunderson brought this idea to some senators and congressmen, and they all agreed: this type of counseling should be available to everyone who wants it.

then came sarah palin's facebook page:
The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care.

Such a system is downright evil.
call your cousin in la crosse and ask her how evil a living will is.

or better yet, let me tell you.

without a living will, a health care directive, and a physician who was willing to sit down and discuss these things at length, the end of my partner steve's life could have been much, much different.

along the way there were plenty of major decisions that needed to be made, most at the drop of a hat: at 4:00 in the morning, in a tiny madison, wisconsin hospital room suddenly packed with nurses, doctors and orderlies in what resembled the marx brother's stateroom scene from a night at the opera; late on a breezy friday night, sitting in our milwaukee apartment, the windows wide open, laughing until our stomachs ached, having just finished off two pints of kopp's frozen custard; in the middle of a long holiday weekend, when that same physician was not as easily accessible and a doctor who was a total stranger to both of us was actually turning to me for guidance.

if you were a bystander, you would have thought i made those decisions, in the moment. i most certainly did not. these were things steve and i had discussed in great detail, many with his doctor. even if i wasn't prepared for every situation, i knew the answers to the questions.

shortly after steve's death, my dad suggested he and i have a long talk. he wanted to be sure father and son "were on the same page" about certain things. dad and i revisit the subject every so often, and it's clear to me what he wants. it isn't scary, it isn't morose, it isn't sad. it's empowering, and if anything – life affirming.

how many people will get to that crucial moment with a parent, a spouse, a grandparent, and simply have to guess.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

and don't take candy from strangers

the whack jobs in our country have decided to basically teach their children that the president himself is not to be trusted. and some of 'em live in wisconsin.
Some parents are talking about keeping their kids from school on Tuesday to avoid the president's remarks. The White House says it will release a copy of the text of the president's address on Monday so parents and educators can see that the message is entirely about learning, staying in school and taking personal responsibility.

In the Douglas County School District in central Colorado, the phones have been ringing off the hook with upset parents.

"We've probably had about 40 to 50 calls today and probably about 10 or 12 emails today from parents," said Susan Meek of the Douglas County school system.

Some school districts in Texas, Illinois, Virginia, Wisconsin, Missouri and Minnesota are even refusing to show the president's address.
even the wall street journal thinks this reaction is "overwrought, to say the least":
Mr. Obama "will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning"—hardly the stuff of the Communist Manifesto or even the Democratic Party platform.

America's children are not so vulnerable that we need to slap an NC-17 rating on Presidential speeches. Given how many minority children struggle in school, a pep talk from the first African-American President could even do some good.
what exactly do you tell your kid when you keep him home from school because you don't want him to hear what the president has to say?
i don't want you to hear what the president has to say.

i don't want you to hear what the president hast to say because we don't agree with him.

if you wanna listen to a black man talk gibberish for an hour you have two choices: "song of the south" or "snow dogs."

we're going to the mall.

l'amour est un oiseau rebella

on taxi horns, no less. from the skylight opera theatre's 50th anniversary celebration: the inimitable mike lorenz, aka "ding." (but does it hold up next to callas?)

there's a new kid in town

well, sorta. damien jaques' first weekly column for includes an o'neill review, a chat with the milwaukee rep's new boss, and a brief wrap-up of the big tuesday night skylight shindig:
After surviving its summer from hell, the Skylight Opera Theatre launched its 50th season Tuesday night with a mini-Woodstock –- five solid hours of non-stop performances. Some of them were quite spectacular...
read jaques' whole column here.

more life: the great work begins

angels returning to new york.

you're gonna want the october vanity fair

and here's why: his name is levi johnston. and he's talking about you-know-who:
Sarah told me she had a great idea: we would keep it a secret—nobody would know that Bristol was pregnant.

She told me that once Bristol had the baby she and Todd would adopt him. That way, she said, Bristol and I didn’t have to worry about anything. Sarah kept mentioning this plan. She was nagging—she wouldn’t give up. She would say, “So, are you gonna let me adopt him?” We both kept telling her we were definitely not going to let her adopt the baby.
an interesting plan for palin to hatch, especially considering all the early speculation about her youngest son trig, at the start of the campaign. the new york times has a preview, while the paper's gail collins actually comes to – gulp – palin's defense.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

that funky black chick in shibuya

suddenly, tokyo is the place to be. and i'm not kidding.

this is my friend tiff barbour. with steve halpern she has created an album that never fails to make me smile, or think, or just lay back and groove. and yes, dorky white guys from wisconsin do groove.

listen to this:

like it? buy tiff's record here.

oh yeah, if you're in japan, she's got tour dates for you in osaka and tokyo. she is not to be missed. or messed with.

skylight open house draws huge crowds

by all accounts, the skylight opera theatre's open house and concert in the park was an unbridled success. proceeds from the event are estimated to be in the range of $10,000.

this from
ray jivoff:
"At 4:00 in the afternoon, [interim Artistic Director] Colin Cabot was up on a ladder outside the building cleaning the marquee. Cleaning the marquee!

The open house was not at all what I expected... tons and tons of people coming for the open house. 30 people at a time standing around [technical director] Rob Wagner in the scene shop, people in the props and costume shops... people everywhere.

The bar was packed, there was entertainment up there before the concert. There were over 500 people at the concert in the park, and then there were over 300 in the theatre afterwords to watch Norman Moses get sawed in half.

It was an amazing night."
late this afternoon i spoke with interim managing director joan lounsbury, who was basically gushing:
"Last night's event was positively brilliant in its execution, and it has the whole Milwaukee arts community talking about the power and the magic of The Skylight.

The depth of talent, both on and off the stage, the artist's and staff's ability to pull this off in the midst of building a show which opens in a few weeks, and the care taken to see that everything happened in the classiest and most 'Skylight-y' way possible, inspired and thrilled me.

I am in deep awe.

The press was there and stayed for the whole thing, right through the Cabot Theatre piece. Damien Jaques from, Tom Strini from, and David Schuyler from The Business Journal.

Christine [McGee], Sara Marie [von Hemert-Dachelet] and Heidi [Boyd] have just spent the whole morning counting cash. The sixth floor conference room looks like the back room in a casino.

I am so proud to be a part of this organization right now. There was a staggering amount of contributed talent, and hats off to THE SKYLIGHT STAFF, the best staff in the arts universe, in my view.
third coast digest's tom strini was there too, and counted over 800 in the park.

strini's assessment of the evening, however, swings from certain singers who "were not so good" (a bold statement to make about a benefit concert, especially considering the fact that we've all now heard strini himself warble a youtube tune) to suggesting eric dillner's notion that the skylight can afford to brush aside locals like leslie fitzwater, kathy pyeatt and diane lane is ridiculous, to ending with a note of anxiety about needing someone new to run the skylight "and soon."

here is lighting designer jason fassl's time-lapse of the set-up for the concert in catalano square:

here is new york: lincoln center

"Although New York often imparts a feeling of great forlornness or forsakenness, it seldom seems dead or unresourceful; and you always feel that either by shifting your location ten blocks or by reducing your fortune by five dollars you can experience rejuvenation.

Many people who have no real independence of spirit depend on the city's tremendous variety and sources of excitement for spiritual sustenance and maintenance of morale. In the country there are a few chances of sudden rejuvenation – a shift in weather, perhaps, or something arriving in the mail. But in New York, the chances are endless. "

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"why are you going back to japan?" has the answer.

moonlight in vermont

i took a moment away from watching internet porn, singing songs from broadway musicals, redecorating my apartment and checking my point balance on to celebrate the fact that these two gals got legally married in vermont last night at the stroke of midnight. and yes, i said stroke. congratulations to claire and cori. and congratulations to vermont.

but does he have a dick cheney lunchbox?

you may have missed this, like i did, on andrew sullivan's daily dish...since i seem to have trouble finding andrew sullivan on the daily dish anymore. but here he is at his best, slamming fox's chris wallace for his interview with dick cheney:
Now look: there are softball interviews; and then there are interviews like this. It cannot be described as journalism in any fashion. Even as propaganda, which is its point, it doesn't work - because it's far too cloying and supportive of Cheney to be convincing to anyone outside the true-believers. When it comes to Cheney, one of the most incompetent vice-presidents in the country's history, with a record of two grotesquely botched wars, war crimes and a crippling debt, Chris Wallace sounds like a teenage girl interviewing the Jonas Brothers.