TO DO: Post-Thanksgiving Gluttony Edition

LEAD EMPOWER DELIVER: Stop AIDS, Keep The Promise

World AIDS Day Awareness Party: An Artistic Potluck Salon of Performances, Art & Video Installation | Raise Fun(ds) + Awareness

Monday, December 1, 2008 | 7-10pm

RSVP: aidsawarenessrsvp@gmail.com

(click on image to enlarge details…)

stop_aids_now

Cold Turkey

So, I’m posting this video cuz it was like the best dance I saw all weekend. Here’s Mira Sorvino, Lisa Kudrow and Alan Cumming serving up some sweet interpretive dance to “Time After Time” in the final moments of the great Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion.

Say Anything

C.C. would like to thank Joe’s Pub and the Public Theater for reaching out and offering us tix to a “blogger friendly performance” of Mike Daisey’s “If You See Something Say Something.” This is great news for bloggers and another example of a trend of performance venues offering press tickets to bloggers. The deal is that bloggers get to see the performance gratis, and then are expected to “say something” about it. (Cute, no?) So here we go, saying something like we always do: By writing an awesome review! Let’s get started:

Theater Review: Mikey Daisey’s “If You See Something Say Something”

daiseySelf-described “monologuist” and “schmuck” Mike Daisey has an obsession with the nuclear bomb and an axe to grind with our government. It’s a wonder that he hasn’t been picked up in some kind of Department of Homeland Security sweep.

But the only weapon Daisey is interested in using is the spoken word, a force he wields with precise and winding endurance in “If You See Something Say Something,” his latest monologue now running at Joe’s Pub. The work takes up the subject of The Patriot Act and other outrageous actions our federal government took in the year following the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, a year Daisey incredulously points out was probably the most efficient year of governance in our nation’s history, while also delving into the life story of Sam Cohen, one of the fathers of tactical nuclear warfare.

Armed with little more than an interrogation-style table, a glass of water, a microphone, a mysterious black box, and a hefty arsenal of f-bombs, Daisey takes us on a journey to White Sands, New Mexico, the site of the first nuclear bomb test, where he made a pilgrimage on the one day a year the government opens the grounds to the public, making pit stops in Rome, the South Pacific, his childhood bedroom, and Los Alamos, the epicenter of US weapons research, and what Daisey calls “inch for inch the deadliest place on earth.” Continue reading

Clive Barnes (1927-2008)

This just in from the New York Times.

Here is the only review of Clive Barnes that C.C. covered, mainly because we pretty much ignore the NYP.

Proposition 8 Remainders: All this backlash is giving me whiplash

So…

First, Proposition 8 passed and there was a wave of gay-friendly outrage, most of which was aimed at the Mormon church, and some of which was, apparently, leveled at the African American community. Now there’s a backlash at the gays who have appeared–to some–as a pack of wild, fornicating racist assholes. The back and forth is a somewhat unprecedented, and due mostly to the fact that other than Will & Grace and the handful of TV shows and movies that have featured gay characters (or gay themes, like Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model), America has not yet had the BIG GAY CONVERSATION. Even after AIDS, our country has a lot of growing up to do in terms of our discussion of queer politics. Although, it may actually be happening, like right now.

If feel obligated to revisit the issue of gays and race since part of the inspirational email I blasted out to my friends (and posted here) addressed the supposed “Obama factor,” which was a theory that the high turnout of African American voters who would turn out to support Barack Obama would generally, and to a larger degree than the general population, oppose gay marriage, which would have spelled disaster for Proposition 8.

Here’s what I wrote in my missive:

Ironically, it looks like the big African American turnout in California hurt gay rights. We cannot ignore the fact that the community overwhelmingly voted for the measure. But this should be looked at as an opportunity to really ramp up outreach within the black community, not as some kind of inevitable factor that can never be overcome. It only points out how much work there is to do to solidify equality for gays in all American communities.

I can’t see anything factually wrong with what I wrote. There was a big African American turnout in CA, and many of them did vote for the proposition, and at a rate higher than the total average. Although, I suppose my wording, “the African American turnout…hurt gay rights” [ital new], suggests blame, or at least may have led one to believe that I was trying to say that Prop 8 wouldn’t have passed without the black vote. In no way did I intend this as a scapegoat. I included this as a note of interest that reaffirmed what I already thought I knew about queer politics and race, which is that minority communities are said to be less tolerant of gay individuals within those communities (we’ll get back to this). I’m also pretty sure my conclusion was that our response to the perceived statistics should be one of responsible outreach, not divisive blame, and that we should not succumb to a belief that change within the black community is not possible.

Since I wrote this, one friend sent me this link to a response from Kathryn Kolbert, President of People for the American Way, who warns “white gay activists” against “blaming” African Americans for the passage of Prop 8. Then statistical superhero Nate Silver posted this. And now everyone’s like, gays are just pissed off and looking for people to blame. Continue reading

One Word: LAME

Some of you may wonder why I haven’t written a damn word about last week’s news that the New York City Opera and Gerard Mortier canceled their wedding.

Basically, I find it depressing. I don’t even want to write about this. The New York City Opera is said to be “the people’s” opera. And the people just got screwed.

Mr. Mortier will go find his next gig. Fine. But with him go his two commissions: Charles Wuorinen’s Brokeback Mountain and Philip Glass’s Walt Disney bio opera. Whether you thought these would actually be great opera’s or not is beside the point. For a city that brags about being the cultural center of the world, these kinds of losses are a serious rebuttal.

What’s more disturbing is that no one knows WTF is going to happen to the company; not even La Cieca. It could just implode, leaving a very serious hole in New York City’s cultural landscape.

And I just think it’s lame that neither party saw the need for resolution here; or didn’t see it enough to compromise and avoid what could be a situation that leads NYCO into a self-immolation, Isolde style. Is that really what The Board wanted? Is that really what Mr. Mortier wanted?

I also find it disappointing that the City Opera couldn’t capitalize on The Met’s fairytale success and drum up enough support to turn the company into a rival house. It just sounds like both parties adopted a “my way or the highway” attitude, which simply amounts to two lonely people walking in two opposite directions. Oh, and the kids are left alone sitting on the side of the road; cold; shivering; and without a gay cowboy opera premiere in sight.

A Measure of Change: Or, What “Sleeping With The Enemy” and Goat Island’s “Lastmaker” have in common with the election of Barack Obama

sleeping-with-the-enemy-posterIf this election cycle has had any single theme that has dominated all possible themes, it was without a doubt: CHANGE. Not only did Barack Obama’s campaign coin it and stick to it, but John McCain’s campaign co-opted it in an effort to portray the McCain/Palin ticket as the real agents of change. It is clear, now, who the majority of Americans believed could actually effect change. Now, what exactly “change” will be, specifically, in Barack Obama’s presidency, remains to be seen as his administration unfolds. But already there is a powerful sense of change, for many of us, that has already taken hold, and shapes our view of the world with each passing day. What is this “change”, and how can it be measured?

Wednesday, I was watching Spike Lee give an interview on one of the cable networks, and at one point, he proclaimed that from now on, America’s history will be measured as “BB” (or “Before Barack”), and “AB” (“After Barack”). (The obvious pitfall of using “Obama” in this scenario is that “Before Obama” comes up as “BO”…) At first, I was skeptical of the idea. It borders on the verge of hubris, and is too analogous to how the world’s history is divided between before and after the birth of Jesus Christ: the last thing we need is more unfortunate Obama=Jesus parallels.

But then, last night, as I was walking to meet C.C. BFF Claudia La Rocco at PS 122 to see Goat Island’s final production, “Lastmaker” (a really excellent piece that I enjoyed but didn’t really understand), it occurred to me that it was the first time I had seen Claudia since Barack Obama won the election. I also realized that “Lastmaker” would be the first performance I’d seen since then.

When we met, Claudia mentioned this feeling as well. It is strange. Neither of us was really a crazed Obama supporter (if anything, my own support for Barack Obama stemmed from a strong reaction against Republican leadership in general, although I am optimistic–with a healthy dose of skepticism–that Obama’s presidency will have a largely positive impact on our nation), and yet Claudia and I were both moved by this inexplicable knowledge that something had changed and we had not yet shared an experience with each other since that change had happened. This seemed to be a clear measure of change.

As we discussed this before the show began, I mentioned to Claudia that there is one other moment that changed my life in this way: Coming out as a gay man. Interestingly enough, this sense of change manifests itself through cinema.

Here’s what happens: Continue reading

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