Friday, September 30, 2005

Busy busy

Symphony tonight, ALAP Expo tomorrow, All Wear Bowlers on Sunday, must prepare for the ALAP Expo, trying to get plans for a reading of Customary Monsters started, want to write about The New Pornographers and how good and rock geeky they were but I don't really have the time so I'll do it on Monday Promise!

Oh, and for those not in L.A., it kinda smells like camp everywhere. It's a little unnerving.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Garry's Grand Duchess

Stupid stupid stupid. The jokes in this thing are more stale than most of the food in my kitchen. He can't even make a topical political joke land well. Not that people didn't clap or boo as they were meant to. Most everybody was game for the cheap laughs. Most everybody except for the opera queen behind me who booed at the top of his lungs when Mr. Marshall took his bow with the cast. Girlfriend was NOT playing around.

I personally was more irritated and bored than furious. The music is actually quite fun, but I'm old enough to read bios and essays about the author in my program; I don't really need some actor in a dumb skullcap dancing around pretending to be Offenbach and giving us all occasional French Operettist trivia. Nor do I want tumblers, stilt-walkers, and various other hammy extras upstaging singers when they have solos and they're trying to belt the shit out! Even if they are hot soldier extras!

As for the booing queen, JW said to me when we were walking out, "It's not like Marshall defiled a great work of art or anything." This is true. JW also emailed me this morning and said, "It is difficult to cheapen what is already cheap, but Gary Marshall succeeded!" This is also true!

At least I got a solid nap in during act two. I think I was out for a good twenty minutes or so. I woke up and the sets had changed!

I feel so hip!

The NYTimes reviews the Wooster Group's new show, Poor Theater, today, and I saw this show at REDCAT last year! Or was it earlier this year.... I forget, but it was a REDCAT highlight. Here's a sample from Brantley's review:

So the first part of the show, in which the Woosterites meet the legacy of Grotowski by visiting the Laboratory Theater in Opole, Poland, becomes a comically earnest dialogue between American acolytes and a venerable European ancestor. The second part, which simulates an interview with Mr. [William] Forsythe as he dances with his company, is more like a breezy, stimulating conversation among contemporaries.

Come to think of it, I don't remember ever being terribly disappointed by anything I've seen at the REDCAT. I was a little bored by the William Wilson/Puppet thing, but just a little. Go see Poor Theater if you're in New York!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Judd Apatow on Slate

I think I've already seen this posted on another blog, but just in case you haven't seen Judd (creator of Freaks And Geeks, my favorite TV show this side of Twin Peaks) Apatow is writing an online diary on Slate.com, and it's been fun so far. It's not quite as revelatory or train-wrecky as the Courtney Love interview, but we can't all be America's Sweetheart, right?

The weirdest thing I've read all day

Also from the Courtney Love interview in Spin:

Ten years ago it was a pretty even playing field in terms of rock'n'roll. But now Weezer, Velvet Revolver, me - we're like a niche market compared to what's on the charts, and what's on the charts is all black bought by all white. It freaks me out. I've been asked to write with the Neptunes. I've been asked to write with Andre 3000. I could write with Eve right now. But what would I do? Teach them the three punk chords? I mean, I really like Eve. She kept putting out my cigarettes and making sure my bra wasn't showing at the Barbershop 2 premiere. If I was black and a rapper, I'd be Eve. I'm a bigger badass than 50 Cent - and the only gun I've ever held in my hand was the one my husband shot himself with.

The funniest thing I've read all day

My friend Brandy sent me a Livejournal link to an interview with Courtney Love to appear in October's Spin, and it contains this quote:

It pisses me off - it would piss off anyone to have their one record [that affects people] be ten years old. What about America's Sweetheart? It's not exactly whitechocolatespaceegg, fuckers.

Going to see

Offenbach's The Grand Duchess at the LA Opera tonight, directed by that most respectable of auteurs, Garry Marshall. I'm a little scared.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

American Apparel freaks me out

Although I did get this nice little black t-shirt from them once. Anyway, this is on today's LA.comfidential, a quote from AA's CEO, Dov Charney, who was apparently SHOCKED to discover that a journalist might report on him pleasuring himself during an interview with her:

I'm not some Terry Richardson guy who's there for shock value. I'm a sensitive individual, and had I had the impression you weren't enjoying yourself, it would've ended immediately. I took you seriously as a reporter. But I think the lines between personal and professional got blurry. And that's it.

I wonder if they sell Bad Idea Jeans at American Apparel!

Monday, September 26, 2005

More on Antony and the Johnsons

I got their first album at the concert on Thursday, which is not I am a Bird Now, but it's good...anyway, I'm completely obsessed with the masochistic love song "Cripple and the Starfish." Favorite sample lyrics:

mister muscle, gazing boredly
and he checking time did punch me
and i sighed and bleeded like a windfall
happy bleedy, happy bruisy
i am very happy so please hit me
i am very very happy so please hurt me

I don't know what this says about me, but I'm obsessed with this song. Maybe it's just because I have S&M on the brain, what with my new play, Customary Monsters (Victorians, Shakespeare, mutually satisfying master/slave relationships...the usual) and all. Maybe it's also because it's the best best best song on Antony's debut album. And I don't know what I love more about that passage above -- the made-up/just plain wrong "bleeded," or the phrase "happy bleedy, happy bruisy." That whole verse is just choice, I've gotta say.

LA Cowboy on Getty Developments

He's got three good posts in a row about everything from the looted art story, to the fallout from the looted art story, to the new museum director Michael Brand. He's got lots of good thoughts, including the following:

[I]t is one thing to lie to the Police, to the State, to the Federal Government and to random foreign countries - but it is another thing to lie to and create massive legal liabilities for a Board that can hire and fire you.

Now, hopefully, the LA Times Editorial Page will finally demand not just the resignations of Barry Munitz and John Biggs - but also that the entire board be restructured.

Yikes!

It's about time

I had some Getty scandal to report about! I was starting to miss all the art world controversy! The LATimes article is so long I still haven't finished it yet, but it's here. I'm looking forward to Tyler Green's promised assessment of the whole thing later today....

Attorneys for the J. Paul Getty Museum have determined that half the masterpieces in its antiquities collection were purchased from dealers now under investigation for allegedly selling artifacts looted from ruins in Italy.

Italian authorities have identified dozens of objects in the Getty collection as looted, including ancient urns, vases and a 5-foot marble statue of Apollo.

The Italians have Polaroid photographs seized from a dealer's warehouse in Switzerland that show Getty artifacts in an unrestored state, some encrusted with dirt — soon after they were dug from the ground, Italians officials say.

In response to the Italian investigation, Getty lawyers combed through the museum's files and questioned staff members over several months in 2001, trying to assess the legal exposure of the world's richest art institution.

The Times recently obtained hundreds of pages of Getty records, some of them related to the museum's internal review.

Those documents show that Getty officials had information as early as 1985 that three of their principal suppliers were selling objects that probably had been looted and that the museum continued to buy from them anyway.

In correspondence with the Getty, the dealers made frank, almost casual references to ancient sites from which artifacts had been excavated, apparently in violation of Italian law, the records show. The Getty's outside attorney considered the letters "troublesome" and advised the museum not to turn them over to Italian authorities.

Although Italy is seeking the return of 42 objects, the Getty's lawyers did their own assessment and determined that the museum had purchased 82 artworks from dealers and galleries under investigation by the Italians.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Antony and the Johnsons

His voice is crazy to me. It makes no sense. JW and I saw him at The Vista in Los Feliz last night, and while I've been in love with his CD I am a Bird Now ever since I bought it based on a gushy NPR review (all the gushing critics are right, by the way), having seen him live, I still can't get over how stunning his vocals are. It's like Aaron Neville, Nina Simone, and Billie Holiday were thrown into a blender and poured down the gullet of this awkward guy hunched over the piano and rocking arhythmically as just lets this precious noise of his escape. He seems to sing with such ease, and his sound is so bizarre, but there's an astonishing purity about it. Granted, much of it's falsetto, but as an amateur singer myself I know it's not easy to have such a consistent and rich tone as he does. And his distorted pronunciation of words could so easily come across as some kind of hokey fakery, but it works wonders. And the phrasing is completely surprising, spontaneous, and -- sorry for the alliteration, but I have to say it -- splendid.

Plus he sings about gender identity and masochism, and does not-too-obvious Velvet Underground covers. That's cool.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Leo Ash Evens in But I'm a Cheerleader!

I just now noticed this, but that's CMU alum Leo Ash Evens on the far right in the photo accompanying Rob Kendt's NYTimes review of But I'm a Cheerleader! Congrats Leo!

Like, totally

Feminary turned me on to this website. You can enter a URL and it translates the text of your webpage into Valley-speak. My posts about Iranian executions take on a strange tone when "grody to the max" is inserted into the text. Thanks Fem!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Bloc Party and The Kills

Still love them. Ears are still ringing.

I haven't been to a show like that in a while -- a mid-sized venue with a really high-energy band that's still relatively new and exciting people. I just bought the Bloc Party CD based on a recommendation and had no idea they were so huge; the place was packed, and the crowd surged and went crazy when they took the stage. They were singing along and body surfing and jumping around. It made me feel my fading youth just a little, standing up in the balcony watching all the melee on the floor down below. I was pretty happy to be up there, though. Way less hot and crowded, and you could see everything perfectly.

I have to stop forgetting my earplugs at these things, though. Not only am I turning into an old man, I'm turning into a deaf one!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

More on Iran

It's here. It's bad.

Amir is a 22-year-old gay Iranian who was arrested by Iran’s morality police as part of a massive Internet entrapment campaign targeting gays. He was beaten and tortured while in custody, threatened with death, and lashed 100 times (see photos). He escaped from Iran in August, and is now in Turkey, where he awaits the granting of asylum by a gay-friendly country.

I don't guess he'll be coming here, considering the fact that our government has nothing to say about it. Can't the U.S. just add this to our list of complaints about Iran.... Just tack it on to the end. There's plenty to fuss about. The red states won't notice. I promise!

Oh wait, President Bush doesn't care about gay people. I forget.

JW is BACK

tonight. He's been on a business trip and has been gone too too long. Of course I have tickets to a show tonight and won't even be able to see him until he's passed out from jetlag and exhaustion, but hey, I got the tickets in July, alright?

So I'm seeing The Kills and Bloc Party tonight. I like them both, although I'm a little more excited about seeing The Kills. Maybe I'll cut out before BP's encore....

Blog of note

I've been enjoying a blog called sssturtle for the past few days, and it has nothing to do with Los Angeles or theater or any of the basic stuff I post about.... Okay, well there's the gay angle, but I think that's about it.

Regardless, it makes for really good reading, as he's a New Orleans evacuee staying in Lafayette and blogging all about it. He uses the word "conniption" in today's post, which makes this self-exiled southerner smile. Check it out here.

More Rolin Jones

This article's a couple of days old, but I just got around to finding it in the NYTimes online. It's all about how he's on the fast track to super-hotshot-writerville.

It's nice to see a good writer find success. I'm still insane with jealousy, of course, but I'm also excited for him because this means I'll get to see another one of his plays!

Isherwood on The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow

Tiny tiny spoiler alert towards the bottom of the post, just so you know. It's not like the play's The Crying Game or anything, so I wouldn't worry too much.

I didn't see the NYC production, of course, but based on my experience with the play, Charles got it half right:

Bright and engaging as "Jenny Chow" often is, the emphasis on the superficial excitements of woolly yarn-spinning over the more nuanced pleasures of truth-telling is a disappointment. (The lovely score, by Matthew Suttor, is one of the few elements that whispers insistently of the humanity that is elsewhere slighted.) Mr. Jones, a newly hot young playwright whose career is now steaming along (he's on the staff of Showtime's "Weeds"), will surely soon learn that a flight of fancy, however bold, is never as rewarding as a journey through the challenging maze of real experience.

I just remember stifling sobs as I watched an agoraphobic young woman trying to communicate across continents and languages using a robot doppelganger to the mother she never had and would never truly meet. Maybe they screwed that scene up in the NYC production, but when I saw the show at SCR, it felt pretty human and real and heartbreaking to me. And it's all in Rolin Jones' script.

New Yorkers, go see this play!

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Onion on Teach For America

I've written about TFA in these pages in the past, but for those who don't remember (or never read this post), I'm a serious TFA drop-out. I even wrote a parody song to the melody of "Beauty School Drop-Out" (go on tooo grad schoo-ooo-ool). My friend Kayla sent me a link to an article in The Onion about it. It's kind of old, but I don't read it that often, so apologies if you've already seen it. Here's a sample:

Just one of the 12,000 young people TFA has burned through since 1990, [Andy] Cuellen was given five weeks of training the summer before he took over a classroom at P.S. 83 in the South Bronx last September.

"I walked into that school actually thinking I could make a difference," said Cuellen, who taught an overflowing class of disadvantaged 8-year-olds. "It was trial by fire. But after five months spent in a stuffy, dark room where the chalkboard fell off the wall every two days, corralling screaming kids into broken desks, I'm burnt to a crisp....

Teach For America executive director Theo Anderson called ethnic-studies departments "a prime source of fodder."

"Oh, I'd say we burn through a hundred or so ethnic-studies majors each year," said Anderson, pointing to a series of charts showing the college-major breakdown of TFA corps members. "They tend to last a little longer than women's studies majors and art-therapy students, but Cuellen got mashed to a pulp pretty quickly. It usually takes ethnic-studies majors another year to realize that they're wasting their precious youth on a Sisyphean endeavor."


Yep, I'd say that's about right! English majors like me teaching special ed in urban Houston in a chaotic elementary school with a shit administration run by women with bigger hair helmets than brains in their heads who are out to get you -- that is, when they bother to remember that you and your classroom even exist...well, we last about a year. Seven months, actually...then we start to take all our vacation and sick time and stroll in the classroom five minutes after the bell rings on the days we actually summon the strength to show up.

Geez, Wilson, that was six years ago! Aren't you over that yet??

LATimes about Theater of the New Ear

Mark Swed writes about Theater of the New Ear here, which I wrote about the other day here. Interesting that Swed speculates Kaufman might have written both plays in the evening. My friend Sallie suggested the same thing last night, and now that I think about it, there are some similarities in the comedy.

And it's appropriate that the LATimes music critic should be writing about a theater piece. Don't you think? I kid, but his review's actually not bad, and he has good insight into the musical element of the show:

This is all a wonderful experiment, though one that doesn't go far enough. For Kaufman, a one-liner is thick taffy to be stretched as far as it will go. He fears fear. A master of rabbit holes he may be, but the direction he takes is always up. And he doesn't trust music enough.

These plays are billed as music theater. Burwell is a talented composer with a knack for creating atmosphere, and he does that very well here. He also has a wit of his own, with sly parodies of Kenny G and the like. He contributes a subtle and important manipulation of mood, without which the performances would lack a crucial dimension.

But with these cute, undeniably entertaining playlets, Kaufman and Burwell have opened a truly intriguing rabbit hole they take great pains to avoid. To go there would be to use the medium for an exploration of the unknown. It would be to ask questions that matter, rather than to obsessively answer those that don't.


A strong finish, Mark! I concur! That and I think all of Kaufman's self-referential formal innovation isn't innovative at all and hasn't been for almost a century now (or more -- I always point to Pirandello and Wilder, but I'm guessing you could go back to the 18th century or further and find examples). And when the only impulse is a kind of self-absorbed cleverness, I can't really get behind it, even when it's occasionally funny. I'd rather just see a production Skin of our Teeth. Or watch Adaptation. At least he was going for something there, even if it does all fall apart in the end.

Dadgummit!

I'm about to break one of my new resolutions. I was hoping I could let Nine Parts of Desire at Geffen Playhouse pass me by, but I've just seen the LATimes review and I think I'm going to have to go....

Theater is a lens you look through: Think of going to the theater like putting on a pair of eyeglasses. If the play and performance are good, you'll be taken someplace revealing, maybe see something you haven't seen before or see it more clearly. Most of the time, you take the glasses off at the end of the play and your vision returns to normal, the fleeting but enjoyable effect of entertainment.

"Nine Parts of Desire," Heather Raffo's exquisite, passionate and penetrating one-person show about the women of Iraq, is an example of a rarer occasion. This is the type of play in which the lens likely won't evaporate; after the show is over and the metaphorical eyeglasses are removed, one's vision will almost certainly remain altered. Familiar images — say, a newspaper photo of an Iraqi woman wrapped head-to-toe in black, crying over a devastating loss — will take on added dimensions, evoke greater curiosity or simply seem far less distant than before.


So the critic's a bit hackneyed with his whole "lens" business, but he calls it exquisite! I should see an exquisite play, right? Has anyone seen this? Comments? Etc.

Good luck, L'il Kim!

Stay outa trouble, hear?

Poor thing...she starts her jail sentence today. At least she's getting a reality show outa the deal....

Lil' Kim has spent the last few weeks being trailed by cameras recording for a proposed reality series, tentatively titled "Lil' Kim Goes to the Big House."

That's from a NYTimes article, which is here.

Resolutions

My friend Kevin just turned the big three-oh this month and was telling me about his list of resolutions. I've still got a couple of months of two-nine left, but I've decided to start my list early:

1. No cocktails at Sunday night parties. Monday morning's hard enough.
2. Balance your stupid checkbook. You're almost thirty for pete's sake.
3. Having a gym membership means going on a regular basis.
4. It's an apartment, not a landfill.
5. Calling yourself a writer means writing on a regular basis.
6. You don't have to see EVERYTHING. Skip a show every so often and save the money!
7. Work more, blog less.

Just kidding about that last one!!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Theater of the New Ear

As I mentioned yesterday, I headed to this thing last night. I have a few suggestions for a lot of people involved, which I'm sure they'll welcome and apply ASAP.

UCLA Live Staff, House Managers, etc.:
1) I can excuse a late curtain...to a point. Twenty minutes is PUSHING IT.

2) TWENTY-FIVE minutes for an intermission is UNACCEPTABLE. Flash the lights, get the people back in their seats, get the thing started. How long have you folks been doing this now?

2) It's called air-conditioning. Try it. Jessye Norman ain't singing tonight, alright?

Francis Fregoli:
I don't know who you really are. After watching your play last night, I wish I were dying to find out. Sorry.

Tom Noonan:
Do you have another voice in you besides "breathy transvestite?" Give it a go. Thanks.

Charlie Kaufman:
I LOVED YOUR LAST MOVIE. LOVED IT. Please don't take steps backward and do the whole "narcissism-masked-as-paralyzing-self-consciousness" thing anymore. And I know you think you had me covered when you wrote in that cute little scene with the critic calling you on being too self-referential, but I'm not falling for it. This is child's play. You're so much better than this!

Meryl Streep:
Thank you for your onstage diva hissyfit. And your ghettofabolous bus passenger. You made the 45 effing minutes (more than that...let's not forget I'm apparently the rare Angeleno who tries to get to the theater BEFORE 8pm) I sat in the theater waiting for the lights to dim just about worth it.

Whew, feels good to get that onblog diva hissyfit out of my system. To quote Ms. Faithfull, "I feel better!"

It's a Steven Leigh Morris day

here at Frank's Wild Lunch. His review of Dead End is also in the new LA Weekly, and it's pretty smart. Here's a sample:

The difference between America of 1935 and America of 2005 is as clear as the difference between Eleanor Roosevelt and Barbara Bush — two national matrons, the former starting antipoverty programs in response to a play, the latter doing a Marie Antoinette impersonation in the wake of a hurricane. Kingsley’s characters had at least a remote prospect of social mobility, a prospect that’s been vanquished by the social policies of the past two decades.

Read it here.

A theater consortium?

This sounds encouraging.

From Steven Leigh Morris in the LA Weekly:

Sylvie Drake of the Denver Theater Center stressed the need to take time refining the administration of the consortium, while many expressed excitement about the idea of mixing styles, getting musicians and poets, dramatists and ensembles all working together....

The idea was floated that the consortium should consist of four to six performing-arts organizations, and that each year, one or two new groups should be added, and one or two of the senior groups graduated out, so that any single organization can have a tenure of three or four years within the consortium. Enthusiasm also was expressed for an annual or biannual festival with public activities ranging from technically sophisticated workshops to preliminary readings or concerts.


Morris goes on to mention this --

On Sunday, October 16, from 2 to 4 p.m., Edge of the World Theater Festival is hosting a town-hall, “Developing Our Play,” free and open to the public, at Los Angeles Theater Center, 514 S. Spring St., downtown.

-- and I think we should all try to go!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

More from Doug Ireland on Iranian Executions

Doug Ireland wrote more about the Iranian executions on September 8; I should've been keeping a closer eye on his blog. He's pretty tough on just about everybody on this front:

The silence on Iran here underscores a deeper problem -- the death of gay activism. There was a time in this town [New York] when something like Ahmadinejad’s visit would have occasioned a massive outpouring of protest and outrage. But the complacent and self-satisfied embourgeoisement of our gay institutions in the last couple of decades, and the replacement of an in-your-face gay consciousness with passive checkbook-and-credit-card “activism” (a label it barely merits) -- coupled with an insularity that refuses to fully embrace the plight of oppressed gays in countries other than our own and internalize an internationalist gay perspective that knows no borders -- are problems which we and our community need to be discussing and debating. There desperately needs to be a revival of the movement spirit which created the larger, freer cultural space that privileged gays now enjoy. The ahistoricity of so many younger gays, who ignore much of the heritage of the movement years, needs to be combated. And we need to remember that there are times -- like Ahmadinejad’s September 14 visit to our town -- when it’s dishonorable for gay people not to be takin’ it to the streets.

He goes on to talk about an Iranian exile demonstration that occurred today, urging gay people to join in and make their own signs. I wonder how that went....

If you want to start fighting the embourgeoisement ASAP then DO THIS RIGHT NOW!!

I think I've decided that

Death Cab for Cutie is annoying. I still like that Postal Service CD, but I can't take that whiny "Soul Meets Body" single.

I was just doing some

surfing from one blog to another, starting at a page I like to check and clicking on some links, then clicking on those links, and somewhere around three-degrees-of-separation I ran across the blog of a guy I went out with a couple of times not long after I moved to L.A. Yikes. It's a small world on this here internet, folks....

This all makes me wonder who the heck is stumbling across my blog, especially now that I have that pic in my profile. Even though I eventually had no problem plastering my name all over the thing, something about having the picture up makes me feel less anonymous. I wonder what they all must be thinking. If I haven't been in touch with them for more than four years it's probably something like, "Oh, thank Mary she finally came out!"

I want to post something

but nothing's grabbing me.

Let's see...hmm.... I'm off to Theater of the New Ear tonight...BY MYSELF. I'm still excited, though. Meryl Streep and Charlie Kaufman! Love them!

What else? I'm going to Palm Springs this weekend...BY MYSELF. And I'm staying at a perfectly boring, straight, clothing-required hotel, thank you very much. Just hoping to get some much-needed reading and writing done for the half-finished 3rd draft of Customary Monsters. I've always kinda liked taking solo sojourns, actually, and I've been dying to get away, so this should be quite nice. I'm looking forward to kicking back poolside with a nice, relaxing, dry British biography. Nothing like it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

LAist+Ellen Degeneres+Pat Roberston

So many of you have read my post regarding that fake Degeneres/Robertson news item, but what some of you might not know is that it's provided a bit of a boost to my stats of late.

The reason for this is, LAist wrote a little item about it and linked to me! I'm still all googly-eyed about it. Anyway, I emailed to thank the editor and apologize to the editor, who sent a friendly response, saying he pulled it after a half-hour but the archive gets picked up on Google News searches. I'm still getting hits from that pulled post.

Thanks again, LAist! Sorry again, LAist!

Sonnet inspired by David Cronenberg's CRASH

Yes, I'm still going through old writing.... I'll finish reading that other play later. I'm searching for this funny little one-act I wrote based on my ex-roommates Kayla and Allie; in the play I astutely concealed their identities by naming them "Layla" and "Sallie."

Anyway, I'm having no luck finding that, but I've discovered this fun little nugget, begun because I had the closing couplet from some of that refrigerator magnet poetry and thought I'd try to build a little sonnet around it. Apologies in advance, but it still tickles me a little....

Sonnet Inspired by Crash, a film by David Cronenberg

Between two lanes I sit, a parting flood
Of speeding cars avoiding my disgrace.
Her breast exposed, she wipes away the blood
Which weeps from gashes on her swelling face.

She’s in a different car; she hit head on
My SUV, then veered across my lane,
Then hit a wall, began to swoon and fawn,
Then cried a moan of loud, ecstatic pain.

She leaves the car behind, her Spanish fly
A crumpled heap of metal on the wall.
We touch between the blacktop and the sky--
The yellow line our marriage bed, we fall.

I whisper worship, yet I cool no less
To quench the engine fire beneath her dress.

An old play

I found an old play of mine on a diskette that I thought was flawed -- the diskette, not the play...okay, maybe the play too, but I'll get to that. I started this thing when I was in undergrad (I should be looking for roots, huh?) and continued to work on it up into grad school. I even had a certain major playwright give me handwritten notes about the thing. It won a little award from my undergrad, and got a nice staged reading there. Since all this happened I abandoned it a little, thinking much of it to be a bit obvious and frankly, I've even been a little embarrassed about it. One of the profs at my undergrad insists it's one of her favorite plays, though, even after I shrug off her compliment as just kind words to make me feel better....

So re-reading this thing is a little strange. It's certainly ambitious -- a southern play about race, among other things -- and for the first thirty pages I cringed a lot, both at the awkwardness of some of the dialogue and the familiarity of the subject matter. It's also been kind of fun, though. At times I've even thought about revising it. It just feels YOUNG, though. And I know I'm no fogey, but the Wilder-esque experimentation with form, the lack of subtlety in the handling of theme...I just wonder if any amount of cutting and revision will address these issues. I suppose those could be considered attributes, but I don't want my undergrad roots to show, y'know? I'd hate for all those trips to the beauty parlour to be for nuthin, y'all!

Note to Charles Isherwood

Sometimes clarity is more important than clever journalistic cliche. In your review of Sarah Ruhl's Passion Play, a cycle in today's NYTimes, it is certainly informative and interesting to learn of Ruhl's pedigree in the opening paragraph:

The first two-thirds of her new play, a quirky, expansive gloss on the subject, were begun when she was an undergraduate at Brown University a decade ago, studying with Paula Vogel.

Then you sort of close the review with the following, and I have no idea what it even means:

But while Ms. Ruhl has amply stocked her play with eccentric imagery, quirky characters and potentially provocative ideas, she fails to develop any of these elements in depth. The play begins to seem like a long series of wacky or politically pointed cartoons with little connecting tissue: in other words, those undergrad roots begin to show.

What does all that have to do with undergrad roots? Does Paula Vogel teach such techniques in her program at Brown? Is this a symptom of all who have studied playwriting in undergrad? All who have gone to undergrad? I don't get it.

Regardless, it seems there mainly to serve the purpose of bookending your review, which you can't even pull off, since you go on for another snotty paragraph:

In a cogent program note that is more illuminating than the play, Ms. Ruhl writes, "At an historical moment when it sometimes seems as if we are in the middle of a contemporary holy war, I hope this play is taken in the spirit it was written - in the spirit of conversation." But her play, despite its venturesome spirit, doesn't transmit enough fresh perceptions about the knotty issues under examination. And too often she seems to be having that conversation with herself.

C'mon Charles! Less cute, more coherence!

Monday, September 12, 2005

I was working

on a big post about James C. Taylor's review of Dead End in the LATimes when the power went out, and I don't have the energy to try to recreate it. Let's just say that I kind of agree with most of what he says, although I did finally shed my cynicism about the show just enough to decide I wasn't going to sit there and stew for the whole 2+ hours, and as a result I did find myself enjoying some of it.

I'm just glad he singled out the scene between Jeremy Sisto as Babyface Martin and Pamela Gray as his ex-sweetheart Francey as a highlight. It is!

Psalms of a Questionable Nature

I saw this play by Marisa Wegrzyn at Lucid By Proxy on Saturday night. It's an interesting script, complete with vials of smallpox and dead mice and buckets of industrial disinfectant, and the production was solid, as well; it just closed or I'd demand that you all run out and see it.

Anyway, Wegrzyn is a Chicago playwright, and she has a website and blog! Another female playwright blogger, Sheila! Check it out!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I was just talking

to my friends Matt and Trista about how it's almost comical that whenever something big and bad happens, some fundy talking head blames us gays for it. You can always count on it; I've even grown to find it rather comical. But now I realize it isn't just us gays. It's ELLEN DEGENRES!

"This is the second time in a row that God has invoked a disaster shortly before lesbian Ellen Degeneres hosted the Emmy Awards," Robertson explained to his approximately one million viewers. "America is waiting for her to apologize for the death and destruction that her sexual deviance has brought onto this great nation."

Robertson added that other tragedies of the past several years can be linked to Degeneres’ growing national prominence. September, 2003, for example, is both the month that her talk show debuted and when insurgents first gained a foothold in Iraq following the successful March invasion. "Now we know why things took a turn for the worse," he explained.


Phew! Thank God I'm off the hook! And apparently the Tonys get a free pass, too:

"God already allows one awards show to promote the homosexual agenda," Robertson declared. "But clearly He will not tolerate such sinful behavior to spread beyond the Tonys."

I guess even God knows nobody watches the Tonys. Oh well, thanks for cutting us show queens some slack, Yaweh!

UPDATE: This is fake news, folks. I was suspicious of it from the get-go, but you've gotta admit, Robertson is crazy enough to say something like this. Crazy and HOT! Is it wrong for a reasonably well-adjusted gay man in his late-late twenties to be attracted to Pat Robertson? I say NOOOOO.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Last night

I ended up going to the pro-marriage rally in WeHo last night. It was nice to hear Mayor Villaraigosa supports us.

Happy weekend, kids. I'm envisioning this as a minimal posting day.

If you're in NYC, Pennsyltucky opens this weekend. Here's more low-down on the play.

Going home is never easy, especially when you're from PENNSYLTUCKY - where hunting isn't just sport, it's religion. Respect is earned by the shot of a rifle and Shane's homecoming is his last chance to earn that respect from his dying grandfather. Inspired by Cain and Abel, this is the story of a brother desperate for success and eager to prove his manhood. Come home with us to PENNSYLTUCKY.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Protest the Gov and his promised veto....

And do it tonight in good ol' WeHo!

Like my bad attempt at iambic pentameter?

Anyway, this from the HRC:

Speak Out Against Gov. Schwarzenegger's Decision to Veto Equal Marriage Rights Legislation for Same-Sex Couples!

On Tuesday the California legislature passed historic legislation that would finally offer same-sex couples equal marriage protections, rights and responsibilities.

Less than 24 hours later, Gov. Schwarzenegger's press secretary said he would TERMINATE this legislation through a veto.

And now, anti-gay extremists are circulating two petitions to amend the constitution and strip ALL domestic partnership rights for same-sex couples in California.

Enough is enough! Demand that the governor sign the legislature's equal marriage rights legislation.

Join us for a Speak-Out tonight:

WHEN: Thursday, September 8, 7 p.m.

WHERE: San Vicente/Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood
(Santa Monica Blvd. will be blocked, so enter from Melrose and park
in the Pacific Design Center or south of Melrose Ave.)


Maybe next they'll get it together and assemble a protest against the killing of Iranian gay teenagers.

Mark your calendars!

At the Museum of Television and Radio:

Forty Years of Days of Our Lives
Thursday, November 3, 2005
7:00 to 8:30 p.m.; reception to follow

Panel:
Ken Corday, Executive Producer
Kristian Alfonso, "Hope Williams Brady"
Deidre Hall, "Marlena Evans Black"
Bill & Susan Hayes, "Doug and Julie Williams"
Drake Hogestyn, "John Black"
Peter Reckell, "Bo Brady"
James Reynolds, "Abe Carver"

Moderator:
Joe Adalian, Television Editor, Daily Variety


"Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives." For forty years viewers of the classic soap opera Days of Our Lives have heard these words intoned by the late Macdonald Carey, one of the show's original stars. More than 10,000 episodes of Days have been produced, making it the longest running scripted program in NBC's history, with only Today and The Tonight Show surpassing its longevity. Members of the cast and creative team will reminisce about the melodramatic events that have occurred in the fictitious town of Salem and will share their favorite memories from Days of Our Lives, which premiered on November 8, 1965.


Okay, Doug and Julie are pretty good, but the only way they could get me there is if they trotted out Celeste. Is she still on that thing? I hope so. I haven't watched it in years. No, seriously. I swear!

New Lonergan!

I've been catching up on some of my blog reading today, and I noticed an item on Terry Teachout's page from Monday that pleases me at least as much as it pleases him.

Good news from Playbill:

A new film written and directed by playwright/screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan will likely begin filming in September.

Variety reports that Lonergan's "Margaret" will be filmed in New York with Scott Rudin, Gary Gilbert and Sydney Pollack serving as producers. Anna Paquin has signed on to the project, and negotiations are currently underway with Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, J. Smith-Cameron and Jeannie Berlin.

"Margaret," according to the industry paper, concerns "a Gotham teen, her actress mother and the girl who tries to make amends for her complicity in a terrible traffic accident."

Lonergan's stage plays include The Waverly Gallery, Lobby Hero and This Is Our Youth. He also wrote the screenplays for "Analyze This," "You Can Count On Me," "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle" and "Gangs of New York."

I can't wait.


Neither can I!! For those who don't know me too well, You Can Count on Me is pretty much my all-time favorite movie, E.T. being a close second. A sentimentalist? Who me?? NO....

I know it seems strange to call a modest, intimate, simple character movie my favorite, but its impact on me was huge; I remember seeing it by myself in a Houston theater and beginning to weep somewhere around the 5-minute mark. I didn't stop until I charged to my car in the parking garage after, fearful of making a spectacle of myself. Once I got there I proceeded to become a blubbering mess for about 5 or 10 minutes. On the drive home I continued with my sobbing while I dialed everyone I knew to tell them how great the movie is.

I like the guy's plays, too; I just want him to write one that is at least as good as that movie. It won't be an easy task!

I don't know about Matt Damon, though. I'll just have to trust you, Kenneth....

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Do this right now!

So I wrote emails to lots of people today regarding the Iranian government's execution of gay men. I think you all should do the same. Emails are easy and don't even require postage. I think it's especially important to contact gay and lesbian advocacy groups, as it's astounding to me they aren't doing more about all this. Anyway, sorry to get all moveon.org on you, but this is what I did, and what you can do.

I tended to one message to the governmental offices, demanding that they call for an end to the execution of gay people (or a variation on it), and another to our nation's gay and lesbian advocacy groups (basically demanding that they do something). If you don't live in California, find out how to email your senator and do so. Odds are they have a simple email template you can use on their website. Anyway, I sent to the folks listed below:

The White House (comments@whitehouse.gov)
Barbara Boxer (she has an email template, which is here)
Dianne Feinstein (website template -- it's here)
The UN Commissioner for Human Rights (Louise Arbour -- tb-petitions@ohchr.org)
GLAAD (website template -- here)
The Gay and Lesbian Task Force (thetaskforce@thetaskforce.org)
HRC (hrc@hrc.org)

My letter is below. Copy and paste it if you want, or make it even better and tougher and tell these people we won't put up with this mess.

I have been following with great distress the executions of gay men in Iran, beginning with the hangings of two teens on July 19 in the city of Mashad. Doug Ireland, writing on this matter in the current issue of LA WEEKLY, states the following:

"The hanged teens — who were imprisoned for 14 months and tortured before their execution, after they received a sentence of 228 lashes — were both 16 or younger at the time of their alleged crime. Iran is a signatory to two international treaties prohibiting the execution of minors (those under 18), so the teens’ hangings violated international law."

Law or no law, it is unconscionable for a nation to call for the slaughter of gay people for any reason, and it’s equally unconscionable for other nations to tolerate it. I implore you to call for the suspension of all further executions of Iranian people convicted for engaging in homosexual acts, and call on the United Nations to begin investigation of these brutal acts of persecution.

Sincerely,

Kyle T. Wilson


When I was emailing the HRC, GLAAD, and The Gay and Lesbian Task Force, I substituted my last paragraph for the following:

The final paragraph in Ireland's article is the most troubling:

"President Ahmadinejad is scheduled to be in New York on September 14 to address the U.N. General Assembly — but no protests against executions of homosexuals and minors have been scheduled. Compared to the wave of protests in other Western countries, the silence here is deafening — and shameful."

I urge you to stop this silence and call for and organize protests of President Ahmadinejad in New York and elsewhere. If our gay rights organizations aren't outspoken about this matter, who will be?


Just in case you're looking for quick access to more detail, here's a link to Doug Ireland's story about all this.

Rocky Horror at the Bowl

I never got around to posting about this yesterday, but it was great fun. I'm still getting the rice out of my hair, and I swear someone dumped a box of breadcrumbs on me when Frankfurter proposes his toast. JW and I got up and did the Time Warp; it may have been the first time I've ever seen him dance! He always threatens to and I get a little scared.

My favorite shout-out from a nearby audience-member occurred during the climax, right about the time the movie becomes completely untethered to whatever tattered thread of coherence it manages to maintain, and Little Nell is floating face-down in the swimming pool. Said audience member shouted, "Look everybody, it's Natalie Wood!"

LAist writes about the evening here.

Oh, Rolando!

Look who's on the cover of Opera News this month!

I discovered this last night because the rector of my parish leaves her copies in the rehearsal room for us choir members to check out. It was all I could do not to steal it! So I left after rehearsal ended and stopped at a nearby Borders in search of it. No luck. Come on Borders, it's Opera News! If it's not an essential periodical, what is?

He is so dreamy! And I like his shoes!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

IMing about 2046

My friend Kevin in NYC and I have been IMing about 2046; he loved it and was surprised at my less than enthusiastic post about it.

kyletwilson: did you see my blog post about 2046?
Kevin: NO!
Kevin: Let me read that.
kyletwilson: k
Kevin: OH NO!
kyletwilson: yeah...sorry
Kevin: I can't belive the same guy that loved Muholland Drive can't find this, more comprehensible picture, less than irresistable!
kyletwilson: hah, I didn't find it incomprehensible, I just thought it was boring. It was pretty, but it felt repetitive, and he's more of an observer, so I'm less invested...even the scenes with the Bai Ling charcter didn't have the same edge or pop that some of the scenes in In The Mood had....
Kevin: Well, I don't have the earlier films to compare it to. And I can't wait to have them; but I was drawn in with the romance with the past thing totally engaging (perhaps a personal neurosis?); and I really did not see the Sci-fi aspect served to illustrate how life influences a writer as much as it was a lovely way of casting the story in new lights.
kyletwilson: yeah, I guess it did have that point/counterpoint element, and the use of fiction, the creation of fictitious worlds, attempting to escape by creating escapism and being unable to, etc....
kyletwilson: Maybe the newness has just worn off for me. I think you had the reaction to this movie I had to In the Mood for Love. I was stunned at how gorgeous it was. But even in looking at it again on DVD I tired a bit of some of the choices he repeats over and over. Slow-motion, music selections, the ways he photographs women.
Kevin: I think the effect beautifully illustrates the power of memory and the strange/sad/beautiful inner life people lead.
Kevin: I am tired of everything in the future looking like Blade Runner, though.
Kevin: And not to be so psycho-analytic (but I cant help it); but the feeling I was left with that his guy perhaps is not even certain of what is haunting him anymore.
Kevin: I'm gagging as I type; but the wound is obscured by the attempts to heal it.
Kevin: And in the journey from the past, which is a journey forward, one forgets what one is looking for; and well, starts to try to nail droids.
kyletwilson: and can you blame one?
Kevin: I could not blame ME!
kyletwilson: Me neither!

Night Vision at the MOCA

After Dead End JW and I wandered down to MOCA, where a hip crowd was hanging out and guzzling all the booze they were offering. It was one of their Night Vision events, and DJs were spinning from 6pm-midnight. One of them was even Thurston Moore, but we missed him, sadly. He was spinning while the Dead End kids were splashing....

We tried to take part in the 11pm exhibition tour of the Basquiat show, but the docent's commentary seemed better suited to adolescents, so JW and I bailed. I liked some of Basquiat's paintings, but overall, I wanted to like his stuff a lot more than I actually did. His intelligence screams at you from just about every painting; the ones he was doing at 21 are astonishing, if only for the fact that he was pulling this shit off when he was 21. But the extreme use of color, the jerky lines, all the text, the frenetic quality of a lot of them...it was all a little overwhelming for me. I found myself lingering on the simplest ones the longest, and after several rooms of all this bombastic (can visual art be bombastic?) stuff I was a little exhausted. I suppose some might find such a response exhilarating, or would suggest that the art succeeded for exactly those reasons. They're probably right; I just found myself wondering what kind of great things he might have done had he given himself the chance to mature.

After Basquiat JW and I fled to the MOCA's display of the Blake Byrne collection. It contains a lot of elegant and fun stuff, and was quite the comfort after all that anarchy. But art is supposed to be anarchic! It's supposed to be unsettling! It's not supposed to be comfortable!

Whatever. I just loved the giant foil ball.

Dead End

It's not bad. But it's ALL ABOUT the 2nd act. Okay, it's mainly about Babyface (J. Sisto) in the 2nd act. And his mom and his ex-sweetheart-turned-VD-ridden-tramp. And his gun.

That said, I feel pretty confident it has to be the most decadent production of a play about the evils of poverty I've ever seen. And granted, it may be unfortunate that this play doesn't get revived like O'Neill, Williams, Miller, Wilder, etc., but after seeing the play I wasn't all that convinced it deserves to be...at least not to the tune of 3.1 million bucks. If you want to do social-issues theater, give me budget Brecht over this stuff any day. And just imagine what you could do with the surplus!

Last Katrina Post

Only because I'm overwhelmed by it and I feel relatively certain I won't add anything new; plenty of others are doing just fine without my help. Brian Holmes at Center Square seems to be doing a good job, and he's kicking around the Rehnquist/John Roberts business as well. He's also started a new blog, which is here.

Just in case, here's a link to my earlier post about giving for relief efforts.

Another busy weekend

My apartment is still a mess, but I did do laundry, and I finished two new short plays, "The Whores of West Hollywood," and "Leaving Little Rock," and I finished the 3rd draft rewrite of the 1st act of Customary Monsters. The 2nd act will probably be harder, but so far so good.

On the social front, I saw Dead End, the Basquiat show and the Blake Byrne collection at the MOCA, and I went to Rocky Horror at the Bowl. All were great fun; more later....

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Brunch in Hollywood

There was a cafe full of empty tables; there were lots of places to sit on this lovely Saturday morning. And wouldn't you know, JW and I pick the table next to the two industry types who were having their usual exclamatory, self-satisfied cock-talk convo about their careers. This particular exchange contained the following story:

So I was talking to my friend, right, I told you about him, he just got a job writing on Everybody Hates Chris, and he was saying, "Dude, you're writing on a hit show, I'm writing on what's about to become a hit show, we're both fucking rich, why aren't we getting laid?" And I'm like, "I know!!"

Uhm, I don't know either, guys. Maybe it's because you're both assholes?

Stephen Spinella Directs!

Stephen Spinella is directing the new show at the Open Fist, and the LATimes writes about it here .

I always try to go to the OFT's Sunday pay-what-you-can, but things always get in the way! I'll be there for this one Stephen, promise! Who wants to go with me??

I finally saw

2046. Review: It's pretty, if you don't mind the boring. Though JW just told me he decided it's cool as an allegory of Hong Kong and China. I personally prefer my allegories to be somehow not boring.

UPDATE: So JW and I were talking about the movie over brunch and I got to thinking I might've given it a hard time on these webpages. There is a lot of gorgeous stuff in it, of course, and I did love Bai Ling and her costumes, and the letter-exchange sequence. Wong-Kar Wai just set a pretty high standard with In the Mood for Love, and I think the claustrophobia of that film, along with the intensity of the two-character/forbidden love storyline just drew me in more. Plus, I think he was a little too inside his own head in this one; frankly, investigating how real life influences a writer's fiction isn't all that revelatory an idea to me. And then there's the whole accepting the past/escaping from it thing -- again, not mind-blowing. In the context of the allegorical content, I'm intrigued, but I'm also not up on my China/Hong Kong history/politics to get it. So I guess it's a combination of wanting more out of WKW and my just being a little ignorant that made it less than satisfying for me. Oh well, I guess the ignorant part's no surprise!!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hendrix College and Katrina

Nice to hear that my alma mater has some good stuff going on in response.

Hendrix College
Hurricane Efforts Media Briefing
September 1, 2005

Today Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., announced the following relief efforts by the college in response to the Hurricane Katrina devastation:

Hendrix has received inquiries from displaced students concerning enrollment at our college. The Office of Admission is currently answering these inquiries and has already accepted a fourth-year biology student from the United Kingdom who was studying at Loyola University in New Orleans. The college will enroll as many students as possible who are in good standing with their institutions as visiting students this fall and help provide assistance to them on an individual basis. Students needing to enroll should contact the Office of Admission, 501-450-1362, immediately.

The college’s primary concern is for the 57 students currently enrolled whose families and friends are from affected areas. Hendrix is providing counseling to them and has offered to help find temporary housing for their families.

The college is working with the city of Conway and the Faulkner County Office of Emergency Management to provide assistance for displaced families that have come to Conway. Beginning tonight, Hendrix will be providing meals to refugees who are processed through the city’s newly established Family Intake Center.

The Chaplain’s Office and Volunteer Action Center at Hendrix are organizing all volunteer efforts, which include calling for current students, faculty and staff to volunteer with the city of Conway to help staff the newly established Family Intake Center and the Don Owens Complex that are receiving hurricane victims coming to Conway. The Chaplain’s Office is assembling health kits for distribution through the United Methodist Committee on Relief, is accepting donations to purchase items for the kits and is organizing a mission trip to help with relief efforts during fall break in October.

More on New Orleans

Wonkette posts this, which is certainly encouraging....

But still, Mayor Ray Nagin is not playing around. I may be late to the party on this, but Wonkette posts a transcript of an interview he gave yesterday. Here are some samples:

I told him we had an incredible crisis here and that his flying over in Air Force One does not do it justice. And that I have been all around this city, and I am very frustrated because we are not able to marshal resources and we're out-manned in just about every respect....

And they don't have a clue what's going on down here. They flew down here one time two days after the doggone event was over with TV cameras, AP reporters, all kind of goddamn -- excuse my French everybody in America, but I am pissed....

I have no idea what they're doing. But I will tell you this: You know, God is looking down on all this and if they are not doing everything in their power to save people they are going to pay the price. Because every day that we delay, people are dying and they're dying by the hundreds, I'm willing to bet you....

I flew over that thing yesterday and it's in the same shape that it was after the storm hit. There is nothing happening. And they're feeding the public a line of bull and they're spinning, and people are dying down here....

You have drug addicts that are now walking around this city looking for a fix, and that's that reason why they were breaking in hospitals and drug stores. They're looking for something to take the edge off of their jones, if you will.

And right now, they don't have anything to take the edge off. And they've probably found guns. So what you're seeing is drug- starving crazy addicts, drug addicts, that are wrecking havoc. And we don't have the manpower to adequately deal with it. We can only target certain sections of the city and form a perimeter around them and hope to God that we're not overrun....

But we authorized $8 billion to go to Iraq lickety-quick. After 9/11, we gave the president unprecedented powers lickety-quick to take care of New York and other places.

Now, you mean to tell me that a place where most of your oil is coming through, a place that is so unique when you mention New Orleans anywhere around the world, everybody's eyes light up -- you mean to tell me that a place where you probably have thousands of people that have died and thousands more that are dying every day, that we can't figure out a way to authorize the resources that we need? Come on, man.

You know, I'm not one of those drug addicts. I am thinking very clearly.

And I don't know whose problem it is. I don't know whether it's the governor's problem. I don't know whether it's the president's problem, but somebody need to get their ass on a plane and sit down, the two of them, and figure this out right now....

I don't want to see anybody do anymore goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don't do another press conference until the resources are in this city. And then come down to this city and stand with us when there are military trucks and troops that we can't even count.

Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here. It's too doggone late.

Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

More on Iranian Executions

New York Reader Alert! Details below:

Doug Ireland writes in today's LA Weekly about the executions of gay men in Iran for consensual sex. I noted this a couple of weeks ago and linked to his blog.

“Under Islamic law, which has been adopted by Iran’s legal system, it takes four witnesses to prove an act of homosexuality, which is a capital crime. That’s why it’s much easier for the Islamic government to invent other criminal charges against gay people to get rid of them,” [Afdhere Jama, editor of Huriyah (an Internet zine for gay Muslims)] told me. The Iranian gay zine’s editors e-mailed me an identical view, affirming that “the government invent all kind of charges on gay people that are not true, and are not to [be] believed,” and urging the West to be “very careful” before accepting such criminal charges at face value.

The hanged teens — who were imprisoned for 14 months and tortured before their execution, after they received a sentence of 228 lashes — were both 16 or younger at the time of their alleged crime. Iran is a signatory to two international treaties prohibiting the execution of minors (those under 18), so the teens’ hangings violated international law....


Okay, here's the New York Reader Alert Part. Ireland closes the article with the following:

President Ahmadinejad is scheduled to be in New York on September 14 to address the U.N. General Assembly — but no protests against executions of homosexuals and minors have been scheduled. Compared to the wave of protests in other Western countries, the silence here is deafening — and shameful.

Alright, kids! Get to work! Maybe L.A. should make a big fuss too....

Sunset Junction in LA Weekly

The review is in, and it's funny. Critic Arlie Carstens says New York Dolls' David Johanson looked "like a cross between Tawny Kitaen and Iron Maiden's Eddy." I can't remember what Eddy looks like -- my older brother listened to them when I was about nine...vague memories of big papier mache costumes, but it's all a blur -- but the Tawny Kitaen reference is unexpected and appropriate!

There's also an interesting article by Christine Pelisek about the LAPD's monitoring of admission fees; apparently some were charging mandatory $10 bucks and they aren't supposed to do that. The article's most illuminating for giving a little history about the festival's origins:

The fair began in 1980 as a way to ease tension between gangs and the gay community. Despite a mid-’80s riot, the peace effort was deemed a success, and the fair became an institution, with people paying whatever they could afford to get in. In 1997 McKinley fenced in the fair and began charging an entry fee. Since then, questions have arisen about where the fair proceeds are going and if it is “reducing community frictions and problems” in the community or just causing more. City streets are blocked off for the fund-raising event, and every year the city waives the $28,000 in fees. It is estimated that the fair draws more than 100,000 people.

Blog For Relief Day

Terry Teachout has been the Katrina superblogger, and he turned me on to this happening.

Today is Blog for Relief Day, "a day of blogging focused on raising awareness of and funds for relief efforts to aid those affected by Hurricane Katrina." Our Girl and I recommend the McCormick Tribune Foundation in Chicago, which is matching donations to its Hurricane Katrina Relief Campaign, $1 for every $2 given.

I registered my blog to participate and am recommending Episcopal Relief and Development. When I registered for this I was asked to link to Instapundit, which has all kinds of relief info. I was also asked to add the Technorati and tags to the post. I'm kinda flying blind on this, so just click away and see what you learn and what you can do. I'll do the same. Teachout has lots more info on his site, including how to register for the whole thing yourself if you're a fellow blogger.

Elaine Stritch at the Carlyle

This was in today's NYTimes, and has some fun pictures. I'm still convinced she's a complete loon, but that's part of the charm, ain't it??