i'm a white writer. in new york. original, no? i've been blogging since october 2002. this blog picks up in october 2008, when i moved from DC to NY...(and then I moved to Maine in 2012)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

There's a joke in there about a bartending marriage counselor, I just know it.

Ooged out by this? Me, too.

Why.

Because:

1. As best I can tell, from the police reports and from my own common sense, both parties chose to escalate the conflict by power-tripping, a la: "You don't know who I am," "No, you don't know who I am."

2. No way Gates should have been arrested.

3. No way it would've happened were he white.

4. No way Obama should have said the police "acted stupidly."

5. The woman who called 911 wasn't calling in because Gates was black, she was calling in because she saw two men bust the front door open.

6. Now everyone's trying to justify their overreactions by turning it into a "teaching moment."

7. Gates is also turning it into an opportunity to promote his
upcoming PBS special
.

It's a case of 1) indignation being triggered, 2) ego insulted at being asked for identification, and 3) a self-justifying attempt to cover a childish reaction with a transparently self-aggrandizing one. I'm sorry, but you cannot be a scholar of African American studies and be shocked that racial profiling exists (though I'm not sure this is a case of "profiling" so much as out-and-out racism at the choice to arrest him [not the choice to investigate] [See #3. Also see "disingenuous."]).

For political and philosophical reasons, it's unwise for Obama to step in as bartending marriage counselor. And I'm tired of people treating it as if, "Well, yeah, maybe it's messed up, but something good might come of it." It's too staged and self-aware for anything authentic to come out of it, though I'm sure all parties will come out BFFs afterwards, having Learned A Lot. [Cue unicorns.] Ew. Fake fake fake. How about a rigorous examination of how entrenched and internalized racism is in America? How about discussing the implications of reparations?

Looking forward to reading the reviews about Thursday's jacked-up performance art Friday morning on The Twitter. I don't know about you, but me, I'll be at the @clarencethomas tweetup tomorrow night.

File Under: Nothing Like Alcohol and Publicity to Heal All Wounds.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

THURSDAY SLICE O' PIE: "The Europeans"

Last weekend I saw Howard Barker's "The Europeans" at Potomac Theatre Project with the fearless leader of Red Bull Theater, where I am Literary Manager. I don't think I'd seen any of Barker's work before. I like going into a play knowing as little about what I'm seeing as possible.

I don't review the plays I see on my blog for two reasons: 1) it's tacky; and, 2) my taste is such that it's rare for me to really thrill at something. But sometimes I like to write down my response, my impressions from seeing a piece of theater, and I found myself scribbling notes on the long subway ride home afterwards.

I ate the script up with a spork--the theatricality and juxtaposition of so many terrible hungers and giant issues were ridiculously stimulating. It made me want to learn more about Barker's Theatre of Catastrophe, I think he calls it. I love it when difficult things are jammed together in a play and nothing is easy.

Parts of the play are in verse. I haven't seen the text, so I don't know if it's laid out that way on the page, but there were bits of iambic pentameter that are unforgettable. To wit:

"Revenge must be upon the innocent."

"We often choose to live with those we hate."


And this juicy one, from when a character learns his stepmother has died:

"Dead? But I wasn't finished with her yet."


Wait. Go back. Did you see that?! Instead of an iamb for the first foot, it's a spondee! A spondee, people! "Dead? But... ." Two syllables, both stressed, and with a pause of such clean heft splitting its belly that it gave me chills.

This one was in answer to the question "How do we escape history?":

"We re-create its mayhem in our lives."


It came somewhere near the end, around when a main character forces a hapless footman to tell him a story. The footman delivers, but the listener takes over, and eventually rejects the narrative. I found this turn a fascinating microcosm of the issues this play explores: questions of control over self, over country, and over history through the telling and framing of events.

Back to that first, spectacularly trenchant one. "Revenge must be upon the innocent." Once it's uttered, you know the horrible price that will be paid later.

Oh, and there was a beautiful moment where a hanging happened on stage, and it was handled in the simplest, most brilliant way. One of those moments that can make you insanely jealous you didn't think it up first.

Oh, and my boss is in love with Nikolai Erdman's comedy "The Suicide," which I can't wait to read.

Monday, July 27, 2009

TWEETABLES: New Video

Some of you who follow me on The Twitter have probably already seen this, but here is another video version of my presentation at Jeff Pulver's #140 Character Conference on Twitter in June. The camera was closer in, but the ambient noise is cut, so it sounds like the audience sat in stony silence; they did laugh at my few jokes.

Justin Kahn was kind enough to record this. Check it out. [10 minutes]

Sunday, July 26, 2009

TWEETABLES: Maybe If I Blog About It, It Won't Come True

Everything's going beautifully in my life. This can mean one thing, and one thing only: I'm about to fall for someone who's completely wrong for me.

Monday, July 13, 2009

CLICKWORTHY: Me Talking at #140 Conference

Martin Pratt was kind enough to forward a clip of me speaking at the #140 Conference. My talk was called "All the Web's a Stage: The arts as a shared experience on Twitter."

I start about two minutes in.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I Love NY but The Twitter Makes Me Hot

I've been going non-stop since I got to NY at the end of last year.

Friday July 3 was that most rare and delicious of days, a Federal holiday. A chance to sleep in and get some personal things done. All I had to do was email some voice-over stuff by 3:30, and get a grant application postmarked. Easy peasy.

So.

I.

[9:00am]
Read the news on Twitter, then went to Rite Aid and bought a ream of paper, chips, and bottled tea. Came home and wrote futuristic news announcements* to be recorded in DC later in the day as voice-overs for pre-show and intermission at my DC Fringe show, "MAY 39th/40th." Also cancelled drywall guy because kitchen ceiling had started leaking again. (Long story.)

[11:30am]
Started grant application (proposal, budget, tax returns, cover letter, cover form, CV). Concurrently printed 90-page sample script and 4 pages of work-in-progress on ream of new paper.

So far so good.

[12:15pm]
Take a break and drop off laundry to be done. Ready by 5pm.

[1:30pm]
Still working on grant application. Knock at door. Super and plumber. Unexpected, but great that they are now on a mission to suss out why my kitchen ceiling is gushing like a cheerleader on prom night. I let them in and then ignore them because I'm in deadline mode.

[2:20pm]
Grant application printed, assembled, enveloped. Moved on to final script edits of "MAY 39th/40th."

[2:40pm]
Plumber and super are now AWOL, so I tell IJ** not to escape and I leave my apartment unlocked.

[2:45pm]
Catch a cab (there are never cabs where I live--This day is going SO well, I think to myself) 20 blocks to a wifi cafe so I can email the script and voiceover stuff before 3:30pm deadline.

[3:00pm]
Buy a fruit cup, open netbook, and repeatedly fail to send emails.

[3:04pm]
Learn from neighbor that wifi is turned off from 11am-4pm.

"Sh*t. I'm f*cked."

[3:04:03pm]
Contemplate finding a Starbucks and figuring out how to buy wifi access there, and decide instead to beg cafe owner to turn on wifi. "I took a cab, I bought your fruit, I have a deadline, I'm happy to pay."

[3:07pm]
Email script and voice-over goodies from wifi cafe. (Never underestimate the power of "Please.")

Now that I've got a little time (post office doesn't close 'til 5pm, right?), I answer emails, listen to a woman fight with her mom over Facebook, and eavesdrop on a middle-aged couple going down in flames during what appears to be their first date. The guy is silent, mostly. She: "Well, she sounds great! Why are you here, go be with her!" and, "My cycle is 21 days, not 28, so my eggs..."

I kid you not.

I Twitter the fruits of my eavesdropping, and restrain myself from posting a surreptitious picture. (Believe me, a picture would explain a lot.)

[4:00pm]
Pack up and walk the 10 blocks to the post office so I can get my grant application postmarked.

Have I mentioned it's a Federal holiday?

Sh*t. I'm f*cked. Again.

Now, in my defense, I thought since post offices are open on Saturdays, that meant that they'd only be closed on Saturday the 4th. As in, you know, the actual holiday? A quick scroll through Safari on my iPhone tells me that most post offices closed at noon on Friday, July 3rd.

This is when The Twitter made me want to marry it.

[4:22pm]
I put a call out on The Twitter.



"Emergency: post office is closed. Must get grant application postmarked today. Am way uptown 180th Street. Anyone know other post offices?"

[4:26pm]
Email Grant Lady, asking if it were possible for me to mail my application on Monday, saying I understand if not.

[4:32pm]
I have received no less than 20 replies, and I now know that the 34th street post office is open until 7pm. Score!

[4:45pm]
I show up at the laundromat 15 minutes early. My laundry is right there, I see it, waiting to be folded. I say I'll take it unfolded, I'm in a hurry. They do not understand English. They insist on folding it. I mean, insist. Like I ask four times, smiling and saying, no need to fold, in a hurry. (Even though I have 'til 7pm to get to 34th Street, I live a good 50 minutes away by subway, and I'm not thinking now is a good time to push my luck timing-wise.)

[4:50pm]
I give up and leave the laundromat.

[4:55pm]
I return to the laundromat when I realize they have all my cute jeans.

[4:57pm]
I am given my laundry. I tip $3 to dissuade them from thinking I'm a typical impatient gringa.

[5:10pm]
Cat still there. So is the ladder and mess in my kitchen. Try to find super so he can get his ladder, then give up. Shower. Dress. There is nothing like putting makeup on your face when you are sweating your balls off. Nothing like it. While putting on sneakers that will later give me blisters, realize the only thing I ate were chips and fruit.

[5:25pm]
Leave house, taking touch-up paint with me because you never know when you might meet one of those mythical single guys in New York City. On the way to the subway, notice silver shoes some huge guy on the street is wearing.

[5:35pm]
Guy holds elevator to train platform for me. Train comes right away. Get on, then nearly get off in the naughty sense because this is the first time I've been in air conditioning all day. Realize iPhone is out of juice.

[6:25pm]
Enter post office.

[6:35pm]
Mission accomplished!

[6:36pm]
Read email from Grant Lady saying no problem, I can mail the application on Monday.


[6:37pm]
Try to Twitter my good news and thank everyone, but 3G blows, so I buy a hot dog and give a homeless guy a dollar. Get on subway.

[7:00pm]
Arrive at fancy restaurant.

New York is great. I'm only this nuts because I'm trying to do so many things. Working 3 jobs, writing plays, and other things, so everything gets left to the last minute, and there's no room for surprises. But now all my deadlines are met, and it's just the 3 jobs for a bit. I certainly don't want to complain, because right now I know many people don't even have jobs, so I'm super lucky, having just moved to NYC, to have all the work I do.

That said, I really did feel I should have at least gotten some at the end of a day like that.

Thank you to all my Twitter friends who came to my rescue. I honestly don't know what I would have done, because I couldn't get any useful info about USPS offices on my iPhone, and I didn't even know about the 34th Street post office that has extended hours all the time. So if I get this grant, I'll take everyone who helped me out for drinks!


*E.g., "In other news, North American President Jane Hansel will travel to Japandia this week in a bid to strengthen diplomatic ties between North America and the emerging super-colony. Japandia’s newly elected Prime Minister, Matsuda Haiko, known by her colonists as 'The Iron Cherry Blossom,' said that she hopes the visit will 'repair the wounds of the past.'”

**Cat.

TWEETABLES: This is getting embarrassing.

More advance press for MAY 39th/40th:

Washington Post's "Going Out Gurus" came up with their Top 10 most promising shows from last Wednesday's Fringe Preview. Guess what made the cut.

The Washington Times did their roundup of shows to catch at Fringe, and we made that, too.

Get your tickets, my sweet yatches!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

TWEETABLES: More Advance Press and a Preview for MAY 39th/40th


We are totes lucking out with advance press.

MAY 39th/40th got a nice mention in the Washington Post today, complete with the above picture of James Finley and Lindsay Haynes. Jane Horwitz includes a mention of our most recent development, that of switching the characters' genders in MAY 40th at rehearsal on Saturday!

Also, tonight, if you're in DC, check out the kickoff Fringe party. It'll be the official opening press conference, and many shows will give snippets of their performances, including MAY 39th/40th. I can't go because I'm up here in NYC, but it's always a ton of fun!

We are already selling some tix, so if you know you wanna check it out, you can buy yours here.

And I'll keep updating this page with all sorts of good news about MAY 39th/40th.

We've also got some ink coming out in the Washington Times on Friday.

Other Advance Press: