Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Curious Case of Forest Gump...er...Benjamin Button

I love really good ideas. I love them the first time someone does them. It's always best the first time.

Benjamin Button is a really good idea. I think ultimately we can credit Mark Twain with that (who gave the idea to F. Scott Fitzgerald, who then passed it along to Eric Roth, who subsequently kept it to himself and wrote The Curious Case of Benjamin Button instead.)

A man who is born an old man and dies a baby. Lives life in reverse.

What kills me, after nearly 3 hours, is that the most important relationship in the entire damn film finally comes in to play about 2 hours in, and then lasts all of 30 minutes. Gee, I sure hope somebody gave Eric Roth a pair of scissors for Christmas. Snip, snip.

Benjamin Button is a man who gets better with age physically, emotionally, mentally ('cept for the end.) One thing that doesn't get better with age, however, is a good idea. A good idea lasts an exceptionally short amount of time, before it gives way to a better idea.

Forest Gump was a GOOD idea! It sucks the second time around. There's a scene in the movie that I swear to god was literally copied, word for word, from Forest and Jenn-ay! A mother from the South with a big heart and a few catchy sayings, a childhood love that he is somehow destined to be with (although, that point was lost on me), even a boat that survives many a storm! Oh, and did I mention it's all told with a narration from a person living in the present about to embark on a very important journey. The only new thing was the idea of living from old age to youth. And Hurricane Katrina (which made a nice, if meaningless, cameo.)

Brad Pitt is up for a Golden Globe for best performance by an actor, though you could hardly call it a performance. The role is written so inactively, that the make-up department's special effects do most of the heavy lifting for him.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hope

I wish I could say Milk is the best film of the year.

But it isn't. Sean Penn's portrayal of Harvey Milk is nothing short of brilliant and inspiring. The script, however, is devastatingly lacking. Penn is surrounded by a very talented supporting cast that has absolutely nothing to do, and the relationships of those characters to Harvey are sadly non-existent.

But.
But.
But.

Go see this film. Just for Sean Penn and Harvey Milk. Go see this film.

'Tis the Season

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is upon us, indeed.

Deck the Halls, and Fa la la la la.

No, not christmakahwanza.

I'm talking Oscar Season.

And it begins with the announcement last thursday of this year's Golden Globes Nominees.
I'm already behind in my watching.

Some comments:

Meryl Streep with two nods, one for Doubt and the other for Mamma Mia! Now, if that isn't range, I don't know what is.

And how about 3 broadway shows on screen: Doubt, Mamma Mia!, and Frost/Nixon. All of them basically transplanted, not even adapted. Hmm.

The biggest surprise of the list: James Franco for (Milk, you ask? no...) Pineapple Express. I admit, I didn't see it. But the billboard with the beat up guys carrying sawed-off shot guns in a hazy mist of marijuana smoke touting "From the Guys who brought you Knocked Up" didn't really say Golden Globe to me.

I think The Curious Case of Benjamin Button gets the most nominated award, if my count is correct (note: I didn't actually count.) I'm excited to see it. But I honestly don't think anyone can beat Sean Penn in the best actor category. His turn as Harvey Milk is honest-to-god magic.

And what I wouldn't give to see Heath Ledger win for Dark Knight. God rest ya, Heath.

It Never Rains in Southern California...

But baby when it does, it pours.

A page out of the actor/composer's diary.

Up for a great guest-star on BONES. Did really well at the audition and the callback, down to two people, and then lost it because they had to match mother and son characters and the other guy was a better match.

Then went in for a great part on GREEK, but of course that was silly because I leave town tomorrow and what did I expect would happen? Of course they want to have me read for director and producers...on friday.

Sigh.

Story of many people's lives, I suppose.

But on this rainy, cold, Los Angeles day, before I head home to snowy, wintery Wisconsin, I can't help but feel a little blue.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

And when you can no longer speak...you sing.

I don't get it - don't straight people LOVE Jack Black??

Honestly, what does it take!?

Anyway, here's a No on Prop 8 video that speaks to the actor/composer in me.

Are you ready for it?

"Prop 8 - the Musical"

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Up, Up, and Away...

This year of my life, I made a promise to myself that I would concentrate on my writing.

I've certainly tried to do that, and I have thus far enjoyed some success.
For over a year now, my collaborator, Ryan Scott Oliver, and I have been working non-stop (read: with many, many stops) on a new musical called Darling.

This January, Darling will receive a fully-produced reading at Pace University.

We just finished casting the piece yesterday, and I am so freakin' excited. There are some talented kids at Pace, and it's going to be such a thrill to work on this piece with them. Not to mention that I'll be spending a month in New York. It's always a pleasure to be in New York when you have something to do.

This is hopefully the first stop of many on Darling's way to bigger things.
And as always, the most satisfying thing is to set a goal and then achieve it.

Now if I could only figure out how to make some money in the process....



Alex Brightman sings "Lost Boy" from DARLING.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Revolutionary Costume for Today

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa....

As I was prepping to go and demonstrate in Los Angeles for the civil rights of a discriminated minority, I took stock for a moment and thought, "Wow...I am participating in my democracy."
And then I thought, "Oh my god, what the hell am I going to wear?"

And honestly, what does one wear to a gay protest? Does one put on a chicken suit, as so many did, to comment on the failure of prop 2 against the passing of prop 8 (Chickens, 1; Gays, 0). While the commentary and the comedy might be effective, this is LA in November during fires, so it was approximately 1 million degrees. Does one, perhaps, combine stripes and polka dots to exemplify the absurdity of separate but equal? While clever, one runs the risk of seeming like just a fashion idiot - this is a gay protest after all.

Finally, I decided on jeans, a t-shirt (nothing particularly radical, as I don't really own anything radical), and to top it off, a red bandanna on my head, to elicit Rosie the Riveter. I figured that was fitting.

And then I got back to thinking about democracy, when I read this reader dissent on Andrew Sullivan's blog:

"Yesterday my girl friend and I drove to downtown San Diego to attend the wine and food festival. We encountered much difficulty because of the No on 8 Marchers.

Efforts at mob rule have always worried me. This great democracy is fragile and I think we do not fully realize how very small numbers of people can cause great disorder. We had an election and the majority of Californians voted to preserve the thousands of years old institution of marriage. Demonstrations like the one I witnessed yesterday gain no sympathy from those of use who still believe the the rule of law and democratic process.

I am afraid we are going to lose this country."

Mob rule? Disorder? Preserving institutions? Democratic process?

I can't help but wonder who the "we" is in his final statement...

Let's do a little constitutional review, shall we?
From the Bill of Rights (that's civil rights...you remember those, right?)
1st Ammendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That last section is most relevant here (although that first part always needs reminding as well, it seems.)
So "mob rule" and "disorder" seem to be a most important part of our "democratic process." At least, according to our founding fathers. But what did they know?

And as for preserving institutions, let me remind you, and let me be clear:
People in California did not vote to preserve anything. The words "preserve" were not in the proposition at all. The words "Eliminate rights" were. This was not a vote to give gay people any rights. They already had them. This was a vote to take them away.

And with that, we go back to our constitution.
14th Amendment:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

A quick side note in case you forgot, this was the amendment that came out of the civil war. A civil war fought over the notion that a minority could not be oppressed by a majority.

So yet again, we see what our "democratic process" is really about. It isn't about putting civil rights at the ballot box and allowing a mere 500,000 votes to rule.

No, I don't believe that demonstrations like this will gain much sympathy from those that have nothing to lose, that have never experienced the sensation of having to fight for your rights. But that's okay. We don't want your sympathy. And while I deeply regret your not getting to the wine and food festival with ease, I don't regret you witnessing our democratic process in action.

See the thing is, we don't want to lose our country either.

Friday, November 14, 2008

JOIN THE IMPACT

Act up.

One of the greatest powers in our democracy is civil disobedience.

If you care about YOUR human rights, act up.

This Saturday, November 15th, there is a nationwide protest against marriage discrimination.

Nation. Wide.

Every single state and Washington D.C. will be hosting protests.

This is not a religious fight. We are not protesting the practice of any religion in this country. We want you all to go to church, temple, mosque, what have you.

This is about civil rights.

Act up.

"As I've
Often stated,
It's intolerable
being tolerated."

Friday, November 7, 2008

Our Future Madame President

I'm sorry, can we please talk about how cute my niece is?

This is the future of the world, people!!

And if you ask me, the future looks pretty damn adorable!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One Nation, Under Canada

Re: Sarah Palin's apparent ignorance about the nations involved in NAFTA (that would be the ::ahem:: North American Free Trade Agreement.)

This link came off Andrew Sullivan's blog.

It seems The Weekly Standard defends Palin's obvious knowledge that Canada is apart of North America.

I don't doubt she does know that.

My guess is it's the part about Mexico also being part of North America that most likely escaped her.

As well as The Weekly Standard

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

November 5th, 2008

Today is an historic and bittersweet day for democracy.

One civil rights battle has sustained a wonderful victory.
Another civil rights battle took a stunning defeat.

Barack Hussein Obama will be our 44th President with an overwhelming electoral win.
Proposition 8 was passed, Amending the California Constitution to eliminate the civil rights of gays and lesbians.

It's an ironic day.

When 70% of the nation's LGBT voted for an African-American President.
Yet, 70% of Californian African-Americans voted in favor of discrimination against LGBT.
"African-Americans, who voted overwhelmingly against extending to gay people the civil rights once denied them."

When 88% of the nations liberals and 60% of the nation's moderates vote for an African-American President.
Yet, California, the most liberal of states in the nation, votes against equality for all.

I was moved to tears when Obama spoke about the promise of our Founding Fathers coming true - All Men Are Created Equal. To have this insight and this ideal some 200-years-ago is truly marvelous. And yet, 200-years-later, it remains just an ideal.

Though Obama has won, there is still a civil rights battle in this country. When will the minority groups learn that apart, they are minorities, but together, they are majorities?

Prop 8 is a setback, but not the end of the war. Who will pick up the torch? Where are the gay civil rights leaders, marching, and demonstrating, and boycotting? Who will step forward and show the country that gay people have a voice? Where is the gay MLK, Ghandi, Obama?

We shall overcome. Yes, we can.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Voted

Today I was a true, patriotic American.

Today I came from Real America.

It didn't have to do with paying higher taxes, or waging war, or spreading the wealth.

Today I was Joe the American.

I participated in my government, in my democracy.

Proudly.


I voted.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

And a Cup o' Jo

As if you needed another reason to vote this Tuesday...




(thanks Joe!)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

7 Days to Go

My friend Tony posted this today, and it elicited a big response from me, which I wanted to further blog about. Read his post and click on the links. :

this is why some on the right are so angry. and this is why some on the left are. and this.

in my mind, it's what is wrong with us. we spend so much time hating the other side, deciding they are so different from us, that some people resort to disgusting behavior. thus, pushing the moderate folks further away from the center.

we have common ground. there is gray area. we can come together around difficult issues. there is definitely room for disagreement, and pushing back, and discussion. but when it's taken too far, we accomplish nothing.

What surprised me about myself, is that when I clicked on the first link, I thought "Heh, amusing. Practically harmless, somebody exercising their right to disagree without causing any real pain or offense." Then on the second link, I thought, "Well...I mean...I guess fair is fair. I'm sure Obama (or anyone in the public eye) expects this kind of reaction."
But then the third link finally made me go, "Oh...wait. This isn't good. How can anyone do this and not understand the implication it carries with it?"

So, three links later, I was offended - and mostly because it was suggesting that a Black Man should Hang. White Men Hanging - apparently not as offensive to me. Perhaps this is because in our history, white men don't typically hang. Unless they're gay. So, would I ever condone anyone hanging Matthew Shepherd in effigy? Not for a moment.

So Tony, you bring up a wonderful point, and one that I have found myself guilty of. We spend too much time hating the other side. But even more than that, we think that what the other side is doing is "HATE", but what we're doing is "JUST GOOD FUN" or "PART OF DEMOCRACY" or some other justification.

Here's the rub for me.

The other day I had drinks with an old friend who had early voted for McCain. He's Asian, he's going to grad school to be a Lawyer, he's a year younger than me, and he lives in Southern California - a rare McCain demographic I'm sure.

I was angry and frustrated and wanted to get at the root of WHY....WHY would he vote for McCain??

Now why couldn't I say "Well...it's your right to choose who you want"? Why couldn't I just agree to disagree without being disagreeable?

If someone likes chocolate ice cream, when I prefer vanilla. Who cares? If you want to go to temple and you want to go to church - c'est la vie!

But the leader of our country isn't ice cream or architecture. If McCain is elected, I believe my life will be affected negatively. I have a VESTED interest in Obama's success. I have something to lose.

So where is the middle ground? And when the middle ground is reached, through compromise and give and take, and discussion - at what point have you also compromised your values? If there's too much "Well, I guess you have a point", ultimately doesn't one person concede and the other win? Is there really a pure truth? A correct answer?

And if...IF there is. Then isn't it our politicians' fault for dividing us, for fooling us into believing there are multiple ways? Mutually exclusive ways? If there IS common ground, if there IS gray area, then why do we vote between two opposing candidates with two opposing parties?

With 7 days to go...I wonder why I feel so angry...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Superstar

I'm very excited about this...

I have to be honest, this makes me feel a little like a superstar.

I haven't yet blogged about this, but I'm currently filming a webseries called The Resistance, a spin-off of the acclaimed series Lonelygirl15.

And they asked us to participate in the Get Out the Vote campaign and encourage our viewers to register to vote. The deadline in California is October 20th. So check out the video (and the show) and do, please, VOTE!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Actor/Composer/Politician?

Back in July I revamped my effort to write more and stay on top of this blog. In doing that, I've unconsciously begun to shift my focus from Actor/Composer to Political Commentator. Watch out, Anderson Cooper!

Now look - I think it's the job of every American to be as up-to-date as possible when it comes to Politics. Politics shouldn't be the understanding of a few, but of all. It's OUR country...right? So I don't feel bad about commenting about Politics, but I do feel as though it has shifted my focus from things more important to my daily life.

Also in July I finally got a MacBook, which was great. But I haven't yet gotten the web programming software to continually update my personal website.

So I've decided to momentarily kill two birds with one stone. Except I don't condone killing animals for sport, so let's just say I plan to stun two birds with one stone. I'm going to report on my artistic, professional endeavors on my blog here and leave the political commentating to the experts - namely my good friend, Tony, who once wrote for his high school newspaper.

This all came about when my good friend Tim - who's getting married!...gee, getting married, I wonder what that would be like. Won't ever know unless you vote no on prop 8....

No! no...no political talk. Er...

So, I'm working on a show where I play a Canadian, and I often joke around about the accent, which sounds an awfully lot like Sarah Palin's....

Oops. There I go again.

Well, look I'll do my best to turnaround, get on the money, and keep it gay.

Hopefully it'll be a change we can all believe in.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Gospel According to Bill


Last night I went to see Religulous. I was surprised to find that it received a 63% "fresh" rating from rottentomatoes.

In the film, political comedian Bill Maher makes commentary on the absurdity of different religions through various interviews with believers (and one or two non-believers, as well.)

In my opinion, this was a terrible film, and an even worse "documentary" - though to use that term, as Maher does, is to use it loosely.

I agree with Maher's position on religion. But what I expected to be a discussion about religion, it's creeds, as well as it's uses in society, turned out to be "Bill Maher's Right and You're Wrong." In essence, I felt that Maher did to the converted what Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly do to the liberals. There's no room for other opinions, but mine.

Again I say, I agree with Maher. I think religion is a detriment to society, and I think it's a very dangerous thing. Being able to say with utter certainty that "God is on my side" is to be drunk with unquestionable power and the utmost authority to do whatever you want.

But it exists. And so what does that mean? This movie was far less about opening a conversation and much more about convincing people - in essence apostatizing. And I always question when one person uses the tactics of another person to show that their tactics are wrong.

Do I think people should see this movie? Sadly, no. I feel very strongly that religion is something that needs to fade away, but the answer, I feel, is information and education. I don't think this movie provides much of that at all, and so I think that in attempting to help it, Maher has actually hurt his cause.

The Future of McCain

Last Wednesday, the night before the VP debate, Stephen Colbert did a segment about how John McCain was not the candidate of tomorrow, but rather the candidate FROM tomorrow!

The piece was about John McCain's uncanny ability to report the facts before they actually exist, and how his VP pick, Gov. Palin, is able to see Russia AND the future.

Take a look:


Though it sounded funny, I wasn't quite sure what Stephen meant until the day AFTER the VP debate, Friday. In my mail box I received a letter from John McCain, along with this:





If you can't make out what the writing says on the bottom it reads thus:
"Dear Mr. Ryback, Thank you for your support and commitment to our Party and candidates," and then it has McCain's and Palin's autographs!

And look! John McCain is waving right at me!! Gov. Palin, of course, is waving to somebody above and behind me, perhaps it's Joe Six-Pack or some Hockey Mom from Main street.

In the letter it tells me: "I know that friends like you have been among our Party's most loyal and dedicated supporters throughout this unpredictable campaign. We owe you a great deal of thanks."

Now, I was immediately confused. I have never once in my life supported McCain, his campaign, or his party. And yet here it was: "Thank you for your support and commitment to our Party and candidates!" Then I looked at the date of the letter.

Just below John McCain's personal (and frankly uncreative) letterhead was the date he wrote this letter: Friday Morning. (That's actually what it said, Friday Morning. Even when he writes the DATE he avoids specifics.) I had recieved this letter Friday afternoon. I don't understand the mail all that well, but I know it takes at LEAST a day (sometimes a year, in Los Angeles) for a piece of mail to go around the block, let alone from Washington D.C. Which can only mean one thing...

JOHN MCCAIN WAS WRITING TO ME FROM THE FUTURE!


He dated it Friday morning, because it was Friday Morning when he wrote it, but in reality it was really only Thursday morning! Suddenly this changed everything. Maybe John McCain was thanking me for the support that I will give him in the future. Maybe he knew something I didn't know! (That I would, for example, actually desire an autographed picture of those two.)

It seems to me that this type of desperate pandering to people who have never committed to his campaign does show a bit of sight into the future. I have a very good feeling that John McCain knows exactly how this whole election is going to turn out.

And boy is he nervous.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Don't Vote!

More reasons from the huffingtonpost.com
as to why you shouldn't vote....

November 4th, 2008

Be sure to register to vote.

And while you're there...be careful!

Take a look at this eerie clip from the fuuuuture!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Right to Choose

Look.

The greatest gift democracy has to give us is the freedom of choice.

We choose who governs, we choose the laws, we choose the consequences. We choose where to go to church, we choose where to get a job, we choose where to go to school, what to learn, what music to listen to, what to wear everyday, what to throw away and what to recycle.

We the people have a right to choose, and that right is inalienable and it must be protected.

I will fight to the death for my neighbor's right to choose, even if his choice is different than mine and here's why: the minute I allow somebody else's right to choose to be taken away, I open the door for my OWN right to choose to be taken away.

Again:
When one person's right to choose is taken away, it automatically paves the way for other's right to choose to be taken away.

I don't care what you choose, so long as it doesn't impede MY right to choose.

You can go to church, and you can believe what you want to believe, but when you make a decision about a law in this land that inhibits another's right to choose, you are doing yourself, this country, and democracy as a principle an utter and complete disservice.

The first amendment states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, etc. are all welcome, but they are all equal in that they are meaningless when it comes to the law.

When it comes to civil rights, history shows that the tide moves in one direction and one direction only - forward. So vote how you will, but understand that a step backward for one, is a step backward for all.

The Politics of "Someone Else"

I was taken aback by a conversation I had yesterday with someone close to me who mentioned that he thought Sarah Palin was exactly what this country needed.

It really opened my eyes about something that I should have already known, but never really took the time to understand. I thought it was obvious that she was so incredibly unversed and unsophisticated enough about the important issues in this election - namely the economy (and alll that entails) and foreign policy (and subsequently homeland security, which makes me cringe to use that terminology.) To her credit, I do think she is a champion of conservative social issues and therefore, if you subscribe to them, she could be your gal.

But here it was before me: "I think Sarah Pain is exactly what this country needs." She's unconnected to the system, she's a small-town person, she's as corny as Kansas in August, she's as normal as blueberry pie.

This person was concerned with politicians. Said he doesn't trust them, never did. They make everything complicated and they're more concerned with getting elected than the well-being of the country.

Now, I must remind him and everyone else that, new to the game as she is, Sarah Palin's job depends on whether or not she is holding public office. It is in her greatest personal interest that she get elected.

But to move on from that, the point he brought up was more than valid. Politicians make everything complicated and they're more concerned with getting elected than the well-being of the country. How can that not be true? We ask so much of our elected officials, and the minute it became a job, and not a volunteer position, we gave up most all hope of someone acting for an interest beyond their own well-being.

But that's the point - WE did it. And there's a reason. It's the same reason we take our car to the mechanic, or the same reason we have maids clean our homes. It's the idea of "Let Someone Else Do It." I will make a smaller sacrifice (carpooling to work for a week, allowing a stranger into my home while I'm gone) in order for me to forego a bigger sacrifice (having to fix my own car, clean my own house).

So we elect people to do the dirty work for us. But then, on top of that, we expect that the dirty work we didn't want to do will ultimately be something we could have done ourselves.

When I go to the mechanic and he points out all the bells and whistles that are wrong with my car, I get angry. I get angry because I think he's trying to confuse me in order to rip me off. It can't be THAT complicated I think! It was just a "whrrring" noise. Just fix the "whrrring" noise!

And when the cleaning lady puts things in the wrong places and I think she stole them, but really they were just misplaced, I get angry. I get angry because if I'd done it, I'd know exactly where they were. Not that I have the time to do it.

And the same with our politicians.

But the thing is this: our world is increasingly complicated.

It bears repeating.

Our World Is Increasingly Complicated.

And if you want Someone Else to make it easy to swallow, someone who takes the complication, the gray, and turns it into straight-talking black-or-white, I understand. And I understand why that person would think Sarah Palin is exactly what this country needs.

But you also should understand that it isn't that simple, and in making it seem that way, she's leaving a lot of important things out.

And it's tough, but YOU are going to have to sit down and look at the facts and bone up on basic economics and figure out how Russia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are all related if you want things to be done right.

Because you can't just leave it to Someone Else. Because like you said - someone else doesn't care about you as much as you do.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Palin-tology

You knew it the minute she walked up and stood next to McCain the Friday after the DNC. She was a smart ass with a sexy business skirt, a flirty hair bun, and...those glasses.
You knew it was going to be everything you wanted it to be.

You knew this because...she looked just like Tina Fey.

And then...it came....


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Those Sexy Feminists

As I listen to NPR and watch CNN, I often think about the well-balanced nature of my media. Of course, I believe that both of those outlets are giving me many sides of the issues and that the anchors are never bullying their own opinions on me.

But lately, especially in the wake of Sarah-"I don't come from no monkey"-Palin, I can't help but feel that ALL the media is liberally-bent. But then I wonder if we don't just have logic on our side.

Another very liberal source of information is of course the LA Times. On Sept. 4th, it posted an opinion article by everyone's favorite feminist Gloria Steinem. The article, chock full of logic, is just too damn good to not post in its entirety, so here's the link, and here's the article:

Palin: Wrong Woman, Wrong Message
Sarah Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

By Gloria Steinem
September 4, 2008
(Links and italics added by BT)

Here's the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that even the anti-feminist right wing -- the folks with a headlock on the Republican Party -- are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice president. We owe this to women -- and to many men too -- who have picketed, gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the "white-male-only" sign off the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hung in there through ridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.

But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie.

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience.

Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When asked last month about the vice presidency, she said, "I still can't answer that question until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every day?" When asked about Iraq, she said, "I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq."

She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and she's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain's campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that he doesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God, guns and gays" ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.

So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.

Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

I don't doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National Rifle Assn., she doesn't just support killing animals from helicopters, she does it herself. She doesn't just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuels but puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn't just echo McCain's pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade, she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, she should bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a human right but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it also protects the right to have a child.

So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, "women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership," so he may be voting for Palin's husband.

Being a hope-a-holic, however, I can see two long-term bipartisan gains from this contest.
Republicans may learn they can't appeal to right-wing patriarchs and most women at the same time. A loss in November could cause the centrist majority of Republicans to take back their party, which was the first to support the Equal Rights Amendment and should be the last to want to invite government into the wombs of women.

And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs than from any other single injustice, finally have support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their children.

This could be huge.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

America's Funny!

I grew up buying the tapes (yes, cassette tapes) of stand-up comedians. Robin Williams, Jerry Seinfeld, later on Mitch Hedburg, Dane Cook (those were CDs, thank god.) I would memorize their routines. Funny stuff!

But the one, two, knock-em outs that Comedy Headliner Sarah Palin is laying on the American people truly can't be beat. Just watch her routine on Community Organizers! How DOES she come up with this stuff? Actual responsibilities! Haha...who needs a detailed explanation of what those responsibilities are with a punchline like that! ::wiping tear from eye::

I must have been laughing too hard, because I missed one of her best jabs at - get this - the American Constitution!

"Al-Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America and [Obama's] worried that someone won't read them their rights."

Hahahahaha! Their RIGHTS? LOSERS!

Of course that truly un-funny Obama had to go and squelch all the fun:

"If the government grabs you, then you have the right to at least ask, 'Why was I grabbed?' And say, 'Maybe you've got the wrong person.' We don't always catch the right person. We may think it's Mohammed the terrorist, but it might be Mohammed the cab driver. You might think it's Barack the bomb-thrower, but it might be Barack the guy running for president."

Is that last line supposed to be some kind of joke?? Keep trying! You've got ways to go before you're laying em in the aisles like Punchy-Palin!

And really...where does Obama get off talking about Constitutional law?? His only experience is as a community organizer. It's not like he taught Constitutional Law for over a decade at The University of Chicago!

Ahh....I'm laughing so hard it hurts.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Faster, Stronger, Federer

Today will decide who wins the US Open Men's Final when Tennis superstar, and once GQ man-of-the-year, Roger Federer,




















plays prop-comedy's stand-up king, Carrot Top.


















Er...

I mean, young, Scotsman Andy Murray.

I'm new to the game of Tennis, which, to me, has too many numbers (40 points, per each game, 6 games per set, winning by two, deuces, 3 out of 5 sets to win the match...).
But watching Federer play tennis is like watching ballet - the strength, the grace, the seeming unpredictability and yet the obvious craft and skill.

Whereas watching Murray play is often like watching ME dance ballet - sometimes I get it right, but you'd never know how I pulled it off.
That isn't to say that Murray doesn't have clear skills, they just appear a bit erratic.

And I must admit I was hoping for a Rafa v. Roger match so that Federer could take revenge for Wimbledon. And also so that I could once again see those massive guns.

But with the hint of huge upset in the air, it's bound to be an exciting match. Almost as exciting as last night's when Serena became the #1 player in the world...again.

Lipstick

Apparently lipstick covers a lot of things these days.

It's the witty, sarcastic answer to the question: "What's the difference between a Hockey Mom and a Pit Bull?", but also the answer to "What's the difference between Sarah Palin and George Bush?"

Lipstick is also a sneaky way to mask the supposed transparency of one of the allegedly most transparent governors in our nation. The Huffington Post reports that according to "Nicole Wallace of the McCain campaign, the American people don't care whether Sarah Palin can answer specific questions about foreign and domestic policy."

What do you think, American People?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Stewart Says

I was pleased to see that Jon Stewart agrees with my on the issue of Palin's Baby Blues.

Watch:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Baby Blues

Much has been made over Bristol Palin's soon-to-be-born baby.

Having just had a birth in my family, I know the feeling.

Some people are suggesting that this type of issue is not a public concern. Even opposing candidate Barack Obama says "that's off-limits." "How a family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn't be the topic of our politics."

But what about when your policies include things that are promoted as being designed to curb things like teenage pregnancies? What about when your party's platform includes (Judeo-Christian) Family Values? This suggests something very crucial about the follow-through not only of Palin's policies, but also of Palin's leadership abilities.

The Palins, for their part, are "proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents." And about her decision to have an unwanted pregnancy? How do they feel about that?

My parents are both teachers. When delinquency happens in children, they are often apt to ask, "Where are the parents??" The (proud) parent, in this case, also happens to be a Vice Presidential nominee. What happens the next time we find ourselves asking, "Where was the Vice Presidential nominee?"

Much has also been made about Bristol's "decision" to keep the baby.
"The McCain aide emphasized that Bristol decided to keep the baby, a decision 'supported by her parents.'"

This fascinates me.
She decided to keep the baby.
So...there was a choice?
Like....
Pro-choice?

Monday, September 1, 2008

It All Adds Up

Adamantly opposing pre-marital sex
+
Supporting abstinence-only education
+
Opposing sexual education in schools
=
Pregnant, unmarried 17 year-old daughter?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Black or White

Social Issues are very complicated issues. They have a lot of nuance and subtlety built into their nature because you are dealing with very personal concerns. Most everyone (except the highest leaders in the land) can agree that the economy ain't so great at the moment. Most everyone can agree that health care should be easier to get. But we can't all seem to so easily agree on things like gun control, abortion, education, civil rights, etc. This is because these issues differ hugely from personal experience to personal experience, and subsequently any regulation on these issues will affect people greatly in a very personal way.

The Republican Machine understands something about the vast, majority American public - something crucially important. We enjoy remaining uneducated. It's too much talking head stuff, and we don't really have the time to discern the finer points. We live in an age where we want things boiled down to a status on Facebook. Afterall, we're too busy losing our jobs, trying to get healthcare, and worrying about where the next paycheck will come from to really listen and understand these issues. This the Republican Machine knows and knows well.

And so they help us. They give it to us in very basic, black-or-white, this-or-that ways.

Abortion:
Pro-Life or Baby-Killer

Gun Control:
Get to have guns or Don't get to have guns

Civil Rights:
Unsanctified marriage or Sanctified marriage.

and so on and so forth.

This way, we get to choose more easily. It's like being back in the middle school cafeteria where the options were PIZZA or MYSTERY MEAT. Who wasn't going to choose PIZZA!??

The truth is, though, that these issues are not that simple. At all. They never will be. They are very, very, complicated issues. And distilling them down to such ridiculous empirical either/or's is not only bullshit, but it's incredibly unfair to the American people.

I think John McCain, and the social conservatives in this country, are betting a lot on the American people's fear of all choices Black-or-White.

Time to Start Palin'

Who is Sarah Palin?
And what the hell is she doing running for VP?

And why in God's name does John McCain think this was a good move? Does he not realize that is reeks of political strategy? There's not one ounce of genuine good intention behind this pick.
If John McCain were to die in the office, we would be left with a year and a half of gubernatorial experience running the most powerful nation in the world. Is this really putting country first?

According to Obama's sources, McCain met Sarah Palin once in a meeting, two years ago. He then phoned her up A WEEK AGO to discuss being Vice President before finally offering her the job. That puts them in the same room a total of once before she joined his ticket.

Does this suggest weeks, months of painstaking agonizing over one of the biggest decisions of his campaign? Carefully weighing options, pros, and cons, over and over in his mind? Or did he look at all the female republican senators and governors (all 7 of em!) and close his eyes and point?

America as a whole should be insulted that this lack of thought and preparation has gone into choosing a second in command.

And what sort of arsenal do they think they're stockpiling in Sarah Palin? Everytime I hear about her I hear the same things:

Five Children.
Fiercely Pro-Life.
One Son Going to Afghanistan.
One child with Downs Syndrome.
Hockey Mom.

Does this make her impervious to scrutiny? It's the same P.O.W. argument they use for McCain, assuming that nobody can touch a war hero. No one can touch a hockey mom who's willing to give up one of her five children to the country? Is that that idea?

Please Joe Biden, Please Barack Obama, Please Hillary Clinton - CALL THIS CANDIDATE OUT!

Bring on the Debates!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Let The Good Times Go

I don't know about you, but I find comfort in hearing our president reassure his people with phrases like "Mission Accomplished" and "Weapons of Mass Destruction." In recent times, I've taken stock in knowing that "there is no recession" and "the economy is doing fine."

But then, just when you're not looking, it hits ya.
And it hits ya where it counts.

I'm not in financing. I don't own a home. I'm the epitome of "the little guy." And yet even an actor/composer's dream can be diminished by the shitty economy.

Case in point: There Is No 'GODSPELL'

I'm not sure what I'm going to do day by day.
When will god save the people??
We beseech thee! Hear us!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

True Colors

This crisis in Georgia has been called a Turning Point for Russia's relationship with the West. In my opinion, it is also a turning point for the West. How we react to this (given the tensions already built up by the lack of diplomacy in this current administration) will either lead us down a path of peaceful intervention, or could most certainly take us into "other" wars, namely WWIII.



Saturday, August 9, 2008

When You're a Jet...


Look, Brett.

I support your move to New York. I think it's probably going to allow you to revitalize your career and your excitement about the game. And I think that's great.

But Broadway?? BROADWAY??

I don't come on your turf and start throwing the football around, do I?

Let's leave 'Broadway Brett' to someone else, k?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Behind Enemy Lies

Recently, I got something in my email box from a cousin back in Milwaukee. Let me say, I love Milwaukee, and I'm proud to be from there. But it is as "middle-America" as you might hope to get, and in the up-coming campaign, these are the people we must rely on to make a well-informed choice when it comes to voting. And sadly, there's a large portion of middle-America that isn't well-informed, nor looks to be well-informed.

Case in point: an email I received speculating that Senator Obama may not legally be able to run for president because he is not a legal citizen of the US. Now, it occurs to me that the reason we're questioning Obama's birthright has a little something to do with the fact that he don't look like the "rest" of us Americans. In fact, few Americans know that John McCain was not actually born on U.S. soil (which makes his own elligibility for Presidency more complicated than Obama's, although equally as valid.)
The truth of the Obama matter lies here. And for the especially doubting Thomas, a picture of his birth certificate lies here.

In the email, the article questioning Obama's elligibility was supposedly written by Thomas Sowell who, among his other credentials, is a black writer for Townhall.com - a conservative website/periodical. I contacted Mr. Sowell to bring his attention to the email, and he confirmed that he did NOT write it (it has also been attributed to Pat Shannon, asst. editor of "The American Free Press", though this is probably also false.)

It comes as no surprise to me that some anonymous person, from the right-side of things, circulates a speculative lie, without any question to its validity. It also, sadly, comes as no surprise that my cousin continues to circulate the email without any fact checking. This is how rumors become truth.

Because of my getting in contact with Mr. Sowell, I had to sign in to the Townhall website, and subsequently recieved a magazine from them in the mail. What hit me the most about the material was how sarcastic and belittling this conservative rag was toward democratic (or liberal) ideology. Now, don't get me wrong - the liberals do it JUST as much, though more generally in private. The republican, conservative machine seems to do it outright, and with no apology, indeed with righteousness. Clean campaigning my foot.

So I thought, "As important as it is for me to be educated about what I support, it's probably even MORE important that I be educated about what I DON'T support." And thus I signed on to Mr. McCain's website to see what I could see. (Browser Beware! You'll be bombarred by a barrage of fake smiling everywhere you turn!)

And now to the point of this posting. I leave this entirely up to discussion and debate, but I would like to point out one of my findings on McCain's website interested me, and hopefully will interest the average middle-american voter.

The McCain camp recently released an onslaught of anti-Obama ads, including this one aptly titled "Painful." I encourage you to go here and sift through the "fact-checking" and see what conclusions you can come to on your own (it seems that there is a debate about taxable income equalling $41,500 or the more probable $32,550, but it was a bit above my basic economic education.)

What DID catch my eye was the report that: "Barack Obama Has Called For Higher Income Taxes, Social Security Taxes, Capital Gains And Dividend Taxes, And Corporate Taxes, As Well As 'Massive New Domestic Spending.'"

A wide sweeping statement for sure. But examining the details you find:
"Obama's proposal ... would impose social security taxes on income above $250,000 per year. He would continue to exempt income between $102,000 and $250,000 from social security taxes."

To be even clearer, let's hear from the man himself:
Barack Obama Would Raise Income Taxes. Obama: "[I] would roll back the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000." (Sen. Barack Obama, CNN Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Manchester, NH, 6/3/07)

Now, if someone told me that there were going to be "HIGHER INCOME TAXES!" and "SOCIAL SECURITY TAXES!" and I was an independent artist, barely raking in under $35,000 a year, I'd be pretty damn nervous. Oh wait. I am

What they didn't tell me is that it applies only to those lucky individuals making over $250,000 a year. In other words, my taxes, my parents' taxes, the Mexican lady who works at Coffee Bean's taxes are not going to be affected. What it DOES mean, is that John McCain's taxes, President Bush's taxes, and yes, Senator Barack Obama's taxes WILL be affected. And though one's personal expenses are an entirely private affair, I can't imagine they wouldn't be able to afford it. Or that they might even have, god forbid, a responsibility to afford it.

Personally, I dream of being in the $250,000 a year tax bracket. My god, who wouldn't?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

7 lbs. 4 oz.

Kaiya means a type of Spear in Australian,
and in Japanese it means forgiveness.
To me, it means niece.

Kaiya Jo Kraner, welcome to the world.

I already love you so much.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Tomorrow is a big day.

My niece is due to arrive tomorrow. Tomorrow is "scheduled", as it were, to be her birth day.

My grandma, diagnosed a week ago with cancer, is scheduled to go into surgery tomorrow as well.

My job will end tomorrow, leaving me unemployed with currently no prospects of another job in sight - the first time in many years.

It goes without saying, I think, that my grandma concerns me the most right now.

Tomorrow is a big day.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I Feel The Earth Move...

On Tuesday, just before noon, I experienced something that I had been wanting to experience since I first set foot in southern California. Not a celebrity encounter, not face lift.

I experienced an earthquake. My very first one. Either that or I fell madly in love. But I'm pretty sure it was an earthquake.

I seriously used to wonder if it would ever happen, if perhaps the last one had happened without me and now the ground beneath Los Angeles would be forever motionless. People would sit next to me on benches and I'd think "Earthquake!" only to be disappointed. But then it happened. A 5.4.

To be sure, the name says it all. The earth quakes. It's really nothing more than that. But it is a completely eerie feeling to have the terra firma become terra squishy on its own.

I'm proud to say I did not freak out. I merely looked around, confused, wondering how all 50 of the people I was around were going to fit under the 7 or so door frames. No one else seemed to move. I always thought southern californians prepared for these things, the way I used to have tornado drills in grade school. I was at the piano at the time, and I thought for a brief instance I might crawl under there. It seemed safe enough. After about 6 or 7 seconds the earthquake stopped and we all moved outside, so I didn't have time to find out.

The thing that freaked me out the most, was that, when I got outside, I tried to text my loved ones to let them know I was okay - and to check on them. Of course, so was everyone within a 70 mile radius. And I suddenly remembered "Live Free or Die Hard" - anyone see that? - I felt like we were warned that this would happen - the minute we actually needed our technology in a life or death situation was the one minute it would fail us completely. I couldn't make a call or text anyone for about an hour or so after the quake.

And that's when I started to freak. What if it had been serious? What if I was indeed stuck beneath my piano? What if, after being trapped under the piano for over an hour before I could reach somebody, I developed a severe phobia of pianos and suddenly brought to an end my very livlihood!?

It's moments like these I fear my life doesn't really exist. It exsists only in microwaves or in a virtual world - like this blog for example - and when that crashes (and it will) I will remain a mere shadow of a person. And where will Bruce Willis be to save me? Yippie-kay-ay.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Leavin' it to the Pros

To continue the lament of Broadway put forth by my friend Tony, I offer this:

Joining the ranks of broadway superstars such as Max Crumm, Laura Osnes of Grease (were they the ones that you wanted?), Bailey Hanks of Legally Blonde, and who could forget Clay Aiken of Spamalot (me, for one) is that old stage veteran Katie Holmes.

Katie will be playing Ann Deever in the revival of Arthur Miller's 1947 Tony-Award winning drama All My Sons, alongside John Lithgow (practically a newbie next to Holmes). Look out, John!

The expertise she garnered in her last theatre role (playing Lola in her All-Girls Catholic High School production of Dang Yankees) will doubtless sparkle among the ranks of Mario Lopez of A Chorus Line and Fantasia Barrino of The Color Purple. It is rumored that her performance as Lola is where she earned the nickname Katie "Barrymore" Holmes. Named, of course, after Drew.

Lois Wheeler originally played Ann in the 1947 production with only a mere 3 broadway shows under her belt. Pssh. Get on it, Lois!

Well, Katie, we wish you the best. I'm sure Tom'll be able to take care of Suri on his own for a few what...months? weeks? days? (who's up for betting?)

I just hope it goes better for you than it did for that other stage veteran Claire Danes of the hit revival of Pygmalion.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Quarterback Again

Brett Favre, what the hell is going on?

I feel like we're getting some mixed signals.
Is it us? Are we the problem? Do you not like Green Bay? I'd get that. There's not much going on up there.
But last year you wanted to leave. Then you didn't.
Then you did.
And now you're back. Only it's awkward.
Because when you went away, we all said really nice things about you, and moved on with our lives. But you want back in, except not with Green Bay.

So it is us.

We don't want to let you go. Don't you get it? Number 4 - we want it retired. We want your legacy to live entirely with us. We don't want you to go to the Vikings, or the Jets, or the Buccaneers and do something really big and important over there, we want you here. Except we don't. Cuz you retired.

John Clayton as ESPN.com said it best:
"In 2007, he's the king of Wisconsin again, coming off one of his best seasons. Now, he's like that unpopular relative who always threatened to show up at your house for the summer and then plops himself on the couch."

From one Brett to another...stay home and watch the game.

Back from the Dead

Whoa!! What happened? Where am I? er...where was I?

No, I did not die. Instead, I turned 24.

Let me tell you something, which will annoy the heck out of people who are older than me...
23 was rough.
Not the year I spent being 23. That was fine. Lots of great things. In fact, 24 is already off to bad a start compared to 23.
For some reason, I could NOT remember the number 23. People would ask how old I was and I would go blank. And not on purpose! I wondered if it was because it was an odd number and somehow odd numbers are harder to remember than even ones...I'm sure I made that up.

But anyway, now that I'm 24, I can easily recall many things.
Like, for example, the fact that I once had a blog called The Actor/Composer's Notebook.

And so, memory refreshed, I've decided to get back into some swing of things. Especially since there's soo much to write about. And also, I've decided to make 24 a year for my writing. Hopefully the 'actor' part of me won't go belly up as I focus my concentration slightly elsewhere.

We'll see. Hope you (whomever you are..) will stick around for the ride.

Friday, May 2, 2008

NYC

I'm just back from a trip to the big apple.
I like the city, I enjoy the people, I love me some broadway.

What I don't understand, however, is the need for New Yorkers to abbreviate words.
Now, I'm all for regionalisms. Boston has "wicked", Northern California has "hella", my homestate, Wisconsin, has "donchaknow!"

But this trip to New York I was introduced to "Totes!"
Totes.
Short for Totally.
Totes, which is 5 letters.
Down from the 7 lettered great-wall-of-china that is "Totally."

I believe that language is a living, breathing entity and should be changed and updated and used to benefit of the speaker or the writer, but this is ridiculous.
If you asked me it sounds unintelligent.
Certainly unintelligible.
When I first heard I thought the person said "Toast!" as in "Cheers!"
I like that much better. More affirming. Less "I don't have time to say an entire 7-letter word."

Don't you agree?
Totes.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Oh, Grow-up and Laugh!


I sometimes wish I could be as cool as my friend Tony, who watches many different news programs ("cool?" you ask) including the ones that FOX calls news programs, but are really people yelling about how much they hate liberals.


Alas, I don't watch those shows. I get most of my news from antiquated sources: the LA Times, NPR, sometimes CNN.com. (I'm aware of the liberal nature of all these news sources, and no I don't have a problem with that.)


The news is often hard to bear. There's a lot of scary stuff out there. We're in a quagmire of a war in Iraq, we're in a quagmire of an economy, we're in a quagmire of a democratic primary. So often to get my news with a dose of laughter, I turn to Jon Stewart.


I've been made fun of for this, I know. I get why. It's a comedy show. I understand. But in the midst of being funny it is also extremely informative and, especially given recent interviews and events surrounding the show (Jon on Crossfire, Jon interviewing McCain in 2006, etc.) its easy to see how Stewart is not afraid to push hard questions, talk about interesting and important topics, and also be frank about his own feelings. And then, when that gets too uncomfortable, tell a joke. Cracking jokes when the news gets uncomfortable - that's what I want Jon Stewart to do.

Not our president.


Thank god for people in the media who will talk to us like adults.



A Life Examined

Hello Blogosphere friends. Yes, that's right, I'm talking to all 3 of you.

Life has been crazy lately.
I finished a job out of town.
During which time I had to look for a new place to live.
During which time I also had to drive all over L.A. going to a myriad of auditions.
During which time I actually booked a job.
During which time I actually went to the wrong location and had to forfeit a job I very easily could have booked.

It can't be said I lead an uneventful life.
It's scary, it's insane, and then on the flip side it's incredibly rewarding and challenging and educational.

Someone recently said to me, "I could never be an actor. I really admire you guys."
And then the apparition disappeared.

No seriously, someone told me that. I looked at her like she was crazy. But then I thought about it a bit. As hard as my life gets (and anyone else's is just as hard if not harder) when everything works out and I get to be doing what I love to be doing, it's a very magical, lucky, and sweet event - I'm describing the situation here, not my acting ability...which is also magical and sweet, but anyway -

So I guess there is something admirable in that.
Unless I end up homeless in two weeks.
Then it's just crappy.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Haiku 1

After calling friends
who never answer their phones,
I drive home lonely.

Passing it On...

I've been behind on my own blogging.
But my friend Tony hasn't.

check this out.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

From One Brett to Another

When I was 9 years old, I was in a play production of WINNIE THE POOH, in which I played Christopher Robin. My colleague Bill Tyson played Winnie in a big Pooh suit, and I owned a picutre of the two of us on stage in costume.

My dad, who is a football coach at Pewaukee High School, had a friend who worked with the Green Bay Packers at the time. I don't even remember what he did. But it was 1993, and just the year before, the Pack had secured a young quarterback, with whom I shared a first name.

I was never a true follower of football, but my dad knew that this kid was going to be a star (something, he always thought and still thinks about me). So, he asked his friend for a favor. He asked for an autographed picture of Favre for his son. In exchange, he gave him a picture of me with a man in a big Bear suit, on which, in third-grader handwriting, was scribbled, "From one Brett to another - all the way to the superbowl."

I don't know if this is true or not...but my dad's friend swore that Favre kept that picture on his locker for the entirety of that season.


We'll miss ya, Brett.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Big Meal for Thought

One of my New Year's resolutions was to become more politically conscious, and I'm proud to say I feel as though I have.

I came across some SNL-related back and forth about Hillary and Obama which got me thinking about a bunch of things.

Obama preaches a message of hope and change. The 'change' element reminds me of a children's piece I co-wrote in which a political party campaigns for a non-specific "change". I wonder if there isn't a democratic nation in the world in which a new candidate obliquely promoting change wouldn't be able to gather plenty of support. "Change", it seems, always has the conotation of "embetterment," and that's something that most people want. Obviously any of the candidates, if elected, would bring some degree of change.

But what Obama wants to change is not just what is being done, but also how it is being done. The system is flawed and though Sen. Clinton (and maybe even McCain) would doubtless do good for this country, she would do it within and by means of a flawed system of politics, one that I agree must change.

Obama's professional history reminds me a bit of my dad's personal history.

Growing up, whenever I did something bad or disrespectful, my dad would say "I never did that when I was a kid." After a while, I began doubting that he ever could have been such a golden child. So I asked my grandma, who confirmed his stories. "No," she told me, "your dad was pretty much a good kid." Well, I was stuck. I was held to the same impeccable standard at which my father lived his life, which was impossible, yes, but overall encouraging. Had my father been more slack as a child, I too would probably have not felt guilty about doing worse things. And the fact is, my father is still the honorable, respectful "golden child" he was in his youth. Generally, good people remain good people. Generally.

This is why I buy into Obama's rhetoric about the war in Iraq, about the way he runs a clean campaign, and why I don't buy those who say, "Sure, but once he gets into office, it'll just be politics as usual." It has never been politics as usual with him, so why should it ever be?

Finally, I hate to make this analogy (recovering Catholic as I am) but it occured to me today that religious conservatives might get something out of this argument (assuming, quite generously, of course, that religious conservatives are logical and intelligent people...) -- either that or they'll think this blasphemy:

There was another prominent, young figure who sought to change the system - who preached a message of hope, peace, and prosperity for the poorest among us. He was an outsider, a hippy, but also a popular "rockstar" of his day. And the system he fought against crucified him because of it. The same type of system that is now being run by his supposed "followers."

Anyway. Food for thought.

[Title of Post]

My good friend Alex Brightman is a self-proclaimed “title snob” (actual title paraphrased). Being in the world of Theatre – often of the Musical persuasion - he encounters things like programs and original Broadway cast recordings. In these instances, it is the job of the title to give the listener an expectation. Often a song-title will be clever or witty…but usually only if those songs are called “Clever” or “Witty.”
A title wants to give some information, but leave enough mystery so that an audience member wants to hear more.

The same goes for any title-bearing works: books, movies, plays, businessmen. If I hear “Guy Who Organizes All the Companies Assets in Places Other Than the United States and Canada,” that’s neither clever nor witty, and you’ve given me too much information. But if I heard “Global Operations Director”, I want to know more. Okay, so the analogy doesn’t really work.

Here’s why I care.
There’s a movie coming out based on a book about Anne Boleyn and her sister.
“But wait,” you think to yourself, “I watch The Tudors on Showtime…I don’t remember Anne Boleyn having a sister!”
But she did. In fact, you could think of it this way: Anne was one Boleyn girl, and her sister was “The Other Boleyn Girl.” But you would be unimaginative. You would also be the author of the book “The Other Boleyn Girl”, upon which the movie, “The Other Boleyn Girl,” is based.

It makes the main character sound like the way most people probably think of Mary Boleyn, as that historical figure that no one really cares to remember, cuz she’s not really that important anyway. But this is your TITLE figure! Maybe if it was The REAL Boleyn Girl, or The FIRST Boleyn girl, then I’m intrigued. I want to know more.

But no. She’s just…you know…the other one.

Apparently the critics agree.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

My apologies....

I just sat down and overheard a businesswoman on her cell phone telling someone on the other end that "I'm going to do whatever I can to get local, regional, and international coverage and if that offends you I'M SORRY!"

I knew she was a businesswoman because of her terse tone of voice and because of such business keywords as "coverage" and "whatever."

What struck me was the "I'm Sorry." I thought to myself, "She's not really sorry at all."

Apologizing is very hard. I'm not the best at it myself. But many times I have recognized the importance of putting my own pride on the line to say full out "I'm sorry. I was wrong."

So often we want to say "I'm sorry, but!" or the accusatory "I'm sorry that you feel this way." Those are false apologies. Ellen DeGeneres does a bit about that in one of her stand-up routines. The eye-rolling "SO-rry" that people pull out when someone was offended cuz they can't take a stupid joke.

Looking at the way our "politic news" people in this country offend different groups on a daily basis, maybe we should take stock and really consider the humbling effects of taking the time to truly apologies to those we hurt.

And if you disagree....SO-rry!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Plug-time


What else is this blog other than a cheap plug, right?


Here's some reviews that will probably persuade none of you to come see the show. But in case they might....


The LA TIMES lists us as Recommended! saying, "it's difficult to bemoan such a criminally satisfying escapist treat," and calls the cast "expert; fine-tuned; priceless; appealing; hilarious; and scene-stealing." (gee they must write for the oscars.)


VARIETY writes that "[DeeDee] Rescher and [Tom] Shelton handle the broadest comedy assignments with variety and panache, while young lovers Ryback and [Traci] Crouch transcend cliche to achieve some poignancy as their dilemmas deepen."


And then the OC WEEKLY said, "...not to imply the play doesn't work—just not as effectively as it wants to...But don't blame this production...The six-person cast is uniformly excellent"


So there you are.

Time to unplug.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hello Gorgeous!


There's no denying it. I love the Oscars. It doesn't matter how lame the host is or how many akward moments there are. I will always love them.

I especially love the Oscars when they get it right.

And of course by "right" I mean what I consider to be right. Which is sometimes wrong.

But I think overall it was a fair night.


After this writer's strike though...why were the intros still so poorly written? And on top of that poorly spoken? These people look like they're going to crap their pants. Why does every award introduction have to begin with "Since the beginning of time..." or just one-word sentences like "Courage. Dedication. Commitment. Botox. These are the makings of this year's Best Actress Nominees...." Come on people. Let's get up there and say something normal.


Poor John Stewart. I don't think he's going to get asked back again. I love him. He's funny and in my book he can do no wrong. But all things considered, he was lame this year.


The Cohen brothers aside it was quite a year for the Europeans, particularly the French. The oscars seem more and more dominated by the Europeans. I can't quite tell if this is a good or bad thing. Or why.


Anyway. Until next year....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Fruits of Boredom

Clearly I'm bored.
I have just "Revamped" the look of this blog.
To be honest, I'm not sure it was ever "vamped" in the first place.

But instead of preparing for what it is I'm really supposed to be doing today, I've decided to procrastinate and change my blog.
The other version was too dark, don't you think?
This one might be too bright.
Oh, Goldilocks where are you when I need you??

Having blogged about not being good about taking pictures, I've attempted to make a change about that and take more pictures in my life. (Wow...something good HAS come of this blog!)

So here are some "backstage" "behind the scenes" "in the dressing room" shots from the show.






!!SPOILER ALERT!!






(not really, I just thought it'd be cool to write that.)





(l-r) Tom Shelton, Brendan "What Show Are We Doing Tonight?" Ford
















BT's "I'm Ready for Atonement 2!" Look
















DeeDee Rescher shows me some loving.
















The Cast on Opening Night, post-Hello Dolly descent down Spiral Staircase
(l-r) Kirsten Potter, Brendan Ford, Tom Shelton, DeeDee Rescher, BT, Traci Crouch

Monday, February 18, 2008

My New Buddy

I haven't met him yet. But he's cute, cuddly, and finally no longer looks like a small fuzzy pile of poop.

He's the newest addition to the Family (which contains 2 children and 6...count 'em 6! labrador retrievers. 5 chocolates, 1 yellow.). The sole survivor of a litter of 3 (sad, right? Nature sucks!)

And his name is Buddy.
Look at him vogue!