Monday, October 28, 2013

Fairfield Porter, Portrait of Larry Rivers, c. 1951

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

wear-some-flowers: Lou Reed in Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory, 1966.

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Poet Vladimir Mayakovsky in editorial office, Moscow 1927

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Montgomery Clift

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

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I like this

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Eartha Kitt

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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Fun article #2 from my Facebook feed

Since I became a playwright/producer this year, I took a special interestin this article from Howlround by Adara Meyers, "On Becoming a Playwright/Producer." I can't remember how I found it; maybe the American Theatre Magazine feed, or another playwright/producer I'm connected to on FB. Anyway, she says countless smart and resonant things (such that I'm finding it hard to get a good pull-quote), but here's something I particularly liked--
When I talk shop with my peers—particularly with other women artists—the conversation invariably ends up at that halting, quiet, ferociously self-doubting question: “Am I doing enough right now?” And no wonder. From the time we enter the workforce, let alone the artistic sector, we’re immersed in the transactional language of currency, product, and profit. And as with the broader culture, the theater experiences its own growing pains and troubling setbacks with institutional and individual forms of subtle and blatant discrimination that prize privilege and hierarchical value systems over others.
 Forging my identity as a playwright and a producer for Sleeping Weazel (her multimedia theater company) has sharpened my perspective of my artistic life without stalling my personal creative impulses and obsessions. It’s led me to invest more energy in the long-term evolution of my craft and avoid focusing on a vague sense that rapid ascension through traditional acknowledgment and prestige is the path of the individual artist. By shifting my focus, I am better able to trust the unknown in my development while facing the fact that I, too, will keep aging and will confront our sector’s entrenched insistence on categorizing and measuring the intangible nature of creativity.
Okay, I can't stop. Here's one more quote--
When you position yourself within a lateral ethos of playwriting and production instead of within a vertical chain of command that presides over the bulk of our daily interactions, you truly become accountable for whether or not you meet your artistic goals. As countless blog posts and larger dialogues reveal, there are as many roadblocks to catching the attention of a theater as there are playwrights. However, I’m working to diminish the allure that the scarcity angle of this oft-told story holds, and to remember that all playwrights can create just as many avenues for generating new work, collaborating with others on it, and drawing an audience to see it.
One thing I love most about this article is the deep, critical and thoughtful approach she clearly has about being a producer; she clearly sees this role through an ethical and artistic lens, which is something I admire. I mainly did it because I was tired of waiting on other people to do it for me (and learned along the way that I'm not bad at it and don't even mind it all that much). It's inspiring to read about someone who views it so philosophically. And socio-politically...although I guess I view it that way, too. I just don't know that I could articulate it as well.

Although I may try in another blog post. We'll see.

Anyway, read the whole thing.

Fun article #1 from my Facebook feed

I think Brad over at Criticlasm posted this one the other day. It's an article about great writers' habits, routines and rituals, in the form of a review of a book called Daily Rituals, by Mason Currey. Articles like this either console me, encourage me, or depress me. I think this one did all three. The author makes a good point though, before pointing out how much better all the successful writers are at writing than I am--
For every Joyce Carol Oates, industriously plugging away from 8am to 1pm and again from 4pm to 7pm, or Anthony Trollope, timing himself typing 250 words per quarter-hour, there's Sylvia Plath, unable to stick to a schedule. (Or Friedrich Schiller, who could only write in the presence of the smell of rotting apples.)
I'd consider reading the book, but I don't have a daily reading ritual so I don't know when I'd get to it. Or a daily anything ritual, minus coffee/breakfast/shower/commute/work. Everything else gets squeezed in somehow but it's a miracle that it does.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Speaking of

reviews of The Glass Menagerie, Hilton Als has a compelling take in the latest New Yorker. His beginning and ending are what I like the best. 
The "I" of personal narrative -- the egotism it takes to display one's point of view in a novel, a poem, or a play -- tends not to reveal itself at the first stroke of the pen; even the most soul-baring authors usually have to work themselves up to the trauma of ruthless self-revelation, especially if the story involves other people, and it almost always does. Then comes what Joan Didion calls "the mortal humiliation of seeing one's own words in print."
When Tom, unable to deal with his mother's disappointment, tries to close the door on the past, Amanda says "Go to the moon -- you selfish dreamer!" Instead of screaming or hissing the words, [Cherry] Jones dredges them up out of Amanda's aggrieved bewilderment, like something solid. Hearing them, I realized for the first time that the line was actually Williams's self-condemnation, an expression of the guilt that comes with the impulse to say "I" while trying to describe the world.
It's behind a paywall, but here's the link anyway.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

About this Ole Miss Laramie Project thing

Part of me would like to find this exciting. Regardless of the shameful behavior of the audience or the disrespect towards the performers, it's heartening to me to hear that theater still has the power to disrupt in that way. It seems even more powerful to me that it was a production of a celebrated, timeworn, mainstream gay play (that my jaded self probably doesn't give enough credit to) that clearly still has the potential to provoke.

But then, if you read about it, it doesn't really sound so much like disgust, shock, or the behavior of young people who were truly challenged by the material. It sounds more like basic juvenile, sexist and anti-gay behavior was on display.

But if you want to talk about "anti-" behavior, read the comments of a lot of the writing about it; you'll get no shortage of negative generalizations about athletes and southerners ("Jocks are bigots, idiots and/or repressed gays"; "The south is burning with hatred" etc.).  Whatever, this is Ole Miss. It's not some backwoods shithole.

If anything it sounds to me like young people with some homophobia and discomfort around gay subject matter, and young people who don't have experience with how to behave appropriately in a play. Not cool in the slightest. In fact, if I'd been involved in the production or the theater department all hell would've shook loose. Probably before the show ended. But it's not exactly shocking to me.

I had a less offensive (but still irritating) experience while subbing for box office in a well-regarded 99-seat house in town. A student group came piling into a theater and, while they didn't start shouting names at the performers, some of them were waving cell phones at each other, trying to change seats or find their friends. It was pretty much chaotic, from their behavior in their cars before they entered the space, to their interacting with the box office, to ushers having to settle them down, to all the rest of it. The kids in SoCal need to learn how to act too. But that's what they were there for. It was kind of a mess, but hell, let's be thankful they showed up.

So yeah, the Ole Miss guys were uncivilized, they were homophobic, they made people outraged on the internets. But come on, it's an Intro to Theater class. They have to learn this stuff somewhere.

Hopefully they did.

Trying to jump start things

here so slapped up some Tumblr images for a start. Been neglecting that page too and I was having a lot of fun with it at the onset. I'd initially wanted to share and crosspost and do it fairly casually and smoothly, but things look strange if you don't edit after you do it (I'm using IFTTT, which a friend at work turned me on to), which means I can't do things from my phone all that easily or without some fussing on the back end. Plus, initially I thought a mix of queer Tumblrs, art, rock-n-roll and various other types of pages would make for a good mix, but, hound that I guess I am on the internet, now my Tumblr feed is pretty full of cute boys, beards and bears. I do enjoy them, but don't know that they rise to the level of FWL blogging. But we'll see what I'm reduced to as time goes on.

Otherwise, here are some things that have been on my mind this week.

Sometimes a review is so positive it makes me not want to see the show anymore. Settle down, Brantley. It's getting a little embarrassing.

Ernessa T. Carter's new book, The Awesome Girl's Guide to Dating Extraordinary Men, is on my Kindle (app) and my bookshelf. I look forward to the holiday travel I have coming up so I can focus and finish it. Meanwhile it's a few pages here and there but I'm enjoying it.

Any Democrats thrown their hat in the race for Arkansas 2nd District in 2014? Because I want to donate to whoever faces off with Tim Griffin.

Speaking of Arkansas, Little Rock had its first Pride Parade yesterday. Wish I could've been there.

Elsewhere in one of those links is a mention of the Ole Miss Laramie Project controversy. I was going to type a comment or two about that but it's getting long so I think I'll give that its own post. See, this was worth it (he tells himself). More later.

Patti to Robert, Paris, 1969

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Sunset Boulevard

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