Wednesday, January 31, 2007

In Honor of Microsoft's Vista

My Dad sent me this. (below) It makes a pretty good argument for switching to a Mac but I hate change. I only switched over to the "new blogger" the other day and I think they tricked me into it. Now I have problems with paragraphs--any one else experience that? I have to do my posts in Html to make it work right. I hate Html. Happy Wednesday. Enjoy!
For all of us who feel only the deepest love and affection for the way computers have enhanced our lives, read on. At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon." In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics (and I just love this part):

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash........ Twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive -- but would run on only five percent of the roads.

6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation" warning light.

7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.

8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

10. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off. Please share this with your friends who love -- but sometimes hate -- their computers!

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Death of a Champion

The story of last year's Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro, has really touched me for some reason. As I'm sure you know by now he suffered a tragic injury at the Preakness last year. Every effort was made to help him heal but in the end he was in much too much pain. His owners were forced to make the difficult decision to euthanize him on Monday. I don't follow horse racing all that much, but ever since I had a job that took me to Louisville a few times during Derby season, I always feel a bit nostalgic when I watch the coverage on TV.

My friend Dave, a Louisville native, hosted me for the Derby one year and made sure I got to all the best parties. I was struck by the welcoming and friendly community and the way the whole town, no matter who they are, celebrates the event. It was a great weekend.

Smarty Jones was the winner that year. He was a long shot as I recall even though his record that season was undefeated. He went on to win the Preakness and I thought for sure that Smarty Jones, MY very first Derby winner, would go on to be the first horse in years to win the Triple Crown. But by time the Belmont Stakes came around he had slowed down. The sports commentators said he was tired. He was washed up by the end of the season.

It struck me how like a dancer the career of a thoroughbred is so tragically short. None of us wants to think of our prime being over in the blink of an eye like that--maybe that's why Barbaro's death has received so much media coverage. It speaks to us all.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

New AIDS vaccine? Not so much...

Yesterday I received an email from my friend Tom whom I've known for nearly 20 years. Tom and I met during my first week of college and became fast friends. Much like myself, Tom has never been one to shy away from expressing an opinion, and in fact our mutual passion on issues that are important to us has been one of the many bonds of our friendship over the years.

Tom's email was to inform me that a letter he wrote in response to a NY Times article had been published (albeit edited) in yesterday's NY Times magazine. The article in question was by a Tina Rosenberg who quite outrageously and irresponsibly (in my opinion and Tom's, too) equates circumcision with an AIDS vaccine. She cites studies done in Africa that show a fifty percent reduction in HIV rates among circumcised men compared to their uncircumcised counterparts. She claims that this fifty percent "success rate" is the best we can hope for in an AIDS vaccine even though it only protects the circumcised man and not his partner. She neglects to mention the millions of circumcised men living with HIV, however.

By Rosenberg's reasoning, condoms, which are widely known to prevent HIV 70 to 100 percent of the time, should have been touted as a "vaccine" years ago. There are so many problems with her claims it's hard to know where to begin but Tom brings up one of the many issues in his response below. You can also read responses from other readers by clicking here. Tom writes:
The foreskin is a vital part of the male sexual mechanism, and it seems inappropriately easy for a woman to suggest that a man cut off part of his genitals when the opposite suggestion would be greeted with outrage. For centuries, circumcision has been said to cure everything from demonic possession to madness. This study is another in a long line of witch-doctoring. I foresee men failing to protect themselves (or their partners) during intercourse by reasoning, Don’t worry, I’m circumcised.

You can read Tom's unedited response on his blog, The Daily Rocket. Rock on, Tom!

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Notes on "Notes on a Scandal" and "The History Boys"

The other night I finally saw the movie people have been buzzing about for a couple of weeks now, Notes on a Scandal. It's beautifully acted and expertly told with an absolutely stunning Phillip Glass score by the way. But I couldn't help but be bothered by the perpetuation of the predatory evil lesbian stereotype in the the character of Barbara Covett, played by Judi Dench. Don't get me wrong, Dame Judi gives a stellar performance deserving of all the accolades she has received lately including her Oscar nomination. But I thought this kind of stereotypic role was a no-no these days. Has GLAAD had anything to say about this I wonder?

About six months ago I was similarly bothered by the depiction of a lonely, old, predatory gay pedophile in last year's Tony Award Winning Best Play, The History Boys. That had not one but THREE generations of pathetic homosexuals in it. Even the youngest of them, a gay teenager coming of age in the 1980s, a boy completely at home with his own sexuality and somehow accepted by all his straight school mates for it, falls into the same kind of sad, reclusive existence as his history teacher. We are led to believe that this boy's only eventual sexual contacts are unrequited affairs on the internet in which he poses as a teenage girl. Not a far cry from his history teacher, a man more than fifty years his senior, whose only sexual gratification comes from giving boys rides home on the back of his motor cycle while he takes the opportunity to fondle them. The third in the trio is another teacher, about 30 years old, who allows himself to be seduced by the most attractive of the underage boys in exchange for academic rewards.

I do not dispute that these kinds of men exist today, but when THREE gay men are represented in such a light in the same piece, one has to believe the playwright is trying to make a point--even if he himself happens to be a gay man.

Coincidentally, both Notes on a Scandal and The History Boys are British pieces. Could that, I wonder, have something to do with it? Just asking.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Don't Tell Mama--I'm for Obama

During my travels on the New York City subway system over the last week or so, I have noticed that here in Hillary country one of the most popular books being read by straphangers is Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope.

On further examination and in the informal poll being tallied in my head, it is more often than not being read by young men ages 28 to 35. If I may take my observation one step further, they all happen to be, without exception, adorably cute young men as well. Seriously--I've seen one like every day this week. You know the type--you're not quite sure if he's a bookish gay guy or just a really cool, sensitive straight guy. The tousled hair, the earnest expression, perhaps wearing glasses but certainly the type who has no idea how cute he is or that he is made all the more attractive by his idealistic liberal politics. *sigh*

Anyway, it has led me to the conclusion that The Audacity of Hope must be number one on the Adorably-Cute-Guy Best Seller List. I wonder if they have a book club.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Running to Rehab!

Now I've heard everything! After meeting with ABC execs and agreeing to "examine the issues" that lead to his homo-hating ways, Isaiah Washington, in the great tradition of Mel Gibson and taking a cue from scandal-ridden Mark Foley, has decided to enter rehab! REHAB! As in "It's not my fault I'm a hate filled bigot--blame it on the drugs?" even though he appeared perfectly sober when he uttered the F word yet again at the Golden Globe press conference last week. But on closer examination of the press releases about this story, no where does it say that it is drug or alcohol rehab. It just says a "treatment facility" to examine his issues. So what is that exacty? A psych ward?

Why is it that rehab has suddenly become the safe haven for every pathetic, loose-canon celebrity? Gimme a break! Does anyone buy this? And what a disservice it does to those men and women struggling in rehab facilities for legitimate reasons. I guess this is what Washington is paying his team of "crisis management" specialists the big bucks for. Ugh! I feel like throwing up.

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Going Postal

So I just returned from the post office where I sent off the last of my application materials for the MFA I hope to start in the Fall. Whew!

After standing in line at Planetarium Station down the street for, oh, 20 minutes or so, (There are never short lines for anything in New York) I stepped up to window number 3 with my envelopes and informed the rather large African-American woman behind the glass that I wanted to send my items priority mail. "How are you today?" she said and weighed each envelope, peeling off a Priority Mail sticker and calculating the correct postage. "Fine, thanks," I said.

Having taken note of the addresses on my envelopes, she gave me my total and asked "Who's going to school? That you? You look so young!" (Pshaw, I thought--young indeed!) I giggled in spite of my self and informed the sweet-talking postal worker that "Yes, I'm going back to school, actually," careful to emphasize the "back" to point out just how ancient I am.
"What you going to school for?" she asked.
"Really?" she said almost incredulously then changed direction saying "Well, I wish you all the success!"
"Thanks," I said. I'll take it.

Who says government workers are rude and indifferent?

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sign the Petition

From a NY Times article this week on the Isaiah Washington scandal:
The (ABC) executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because company officials were instructed not to go beyond a prepared statement, said that Mr. Washington’s behavior could be considered grounds for dismissal under Disney’s corporate antidiscrimination policy.

Does Washington deserve special treatment? If you think he should be fired sign this petition and send a message to ABC.

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The Question of Hillary

Hillary Clinton is my senator. I think she's great. She's on the right side of so many issues I believe in and she has the intimate knowledge of a Washington insider and the political savvy to get things done. But ever since her carefully orchestrated move to New York, I, like so many other New Yorkers, knew there would come a day when she would abandon us for her presidential aspirations. On the one hand this kind of planning and foresight is commendable and an excellent quality in a president. On the other, I feel a bit used.

Like her husband Bill, everything she does is thought out, planned and timed for the most impact and political gain. In the days leading up to her announcement that she would be tossing her hat into the presidential ring, she has appeared on all three major networks and has even scheduled video sessions on "the internets" in which she answers questions carefully chosen to highlight her already known views. She has become a virtual queen of all media. She even made an appearance at Ground Zero yesterday and has invited some of the first responders now suffering from respiratory ailments as a result of their exposure to the wreckage of the World Trade Center as her guests at this year's State of the Union address. But has the public become wise to this "slick willy" style of campaigning? And is it even relevant in today's political climate?

Since the Clintons left office the first time there has been speculation about Hillary's possible run for president. But the question of her electibility comes up again and again. I can't help but think that her high poll numbers are based solely on name recognition at this point. And the people who would most like to see her as the Democratic nominee in 2008--are the Republicans. Why? Because they know what a polarizing figure she is and they would love nothing more than to see all the liberal votes go her way and all the moderate votes go toward the Republican nominee, thus splitting the Democratic vote and defeating us in yet another election.

There is no question that she has the brains, talent and experience to be president, but can she win in Kansas?

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Only a Suggestion

Well, it seems everyone is weighing in on the Isaiah Washington/T.R. Knight controversy. Even alternative rocker John Mayer has posted a novel way to deal with the situation on his personal blog. He suggests that Washington's Grey's Anatomy character come out as gay on the show thus giving Washington an opportunity to walk in the shoes of a gay man while playing his role.

While one can't argue the originality of the idea, there's only one little problem with it. It involves Washington's continued employment on the show. So, thanks for playing, John, but this is maybe not the best way to deal with the issue. You're still cute, though.

In a related piece of news, Washington has fired his publicist in favor of "crisis management" team of experts.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Apology--at Last

Finally, Isaiah Washington has issued a formal apology for his continued insensitivity in the "F*gg*tGate" controversy. I, for one, think it sounds like a sincere and well worded apology. But he should still be fired. Sorry. Anyway, here's his statement:

"I apologize to T.R., my colleagues, the fans of the show and especially the lesbian and gay community for using a word that is unacceptable in any context or circumstance. By repeating the word Monday night, I marred what should have been a perfect night for everyone who works on "Grey's Anatomy." I can neither defend nor explain my behavior. I can also no longer deny to myself that there are issues I obviously need to examine within my own soul, and I've asked for help.

I know the power of words, especially those that demean. I realize that by using one filled with disrespect, I have hurt more than T.R. and my colleagues. With one word, I've hurt everyone who has struggled for the respect so many of us take for granted. I welcome the chance to meet with leaders of the gay and lesbian community to apologize in person and to talk about what I can do to heal the wounds I've opened. T.R.'s courage throughout this entire episode speaks to his tremendous character. I hold his talent, and T.R. as a person, in high esteem. I know a mere apology will not end this, and I intend to let my future actions prove my sincerity."

Update: On second thought, maybe I'm not so convinced of Washington's sincerity. I came across blogger Len's post in which he compares the"Greatest Hits Apologies" of the last year. The similar tone and language used in all of them really does make them sound ridiculous.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Gayer than Gay

This sounds like a punchline to one of those "HOW GAY IS HE?" jokes. How about a Desperate Housewives salute to Stephen Sondheim. Now, THAT'S gay!

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Other F Word

By now you have probably heard about the ongoing feud between Grey's Anatomy stars TR Knight and Isaiah Washington. (GA cast pictured above) Sadly the mainstream media hasn't reported much about it. I've only really seen it reported on those crappy tabloid magazine shows and in the blogosphere. So if you're not into Access Hollywood or a big blog reader, here's a quick update:

Back in October a scuffle on the set erupted between co-stars Patrick Dempsey (McDreamy) and Isaiah Washington. I think it had something to do with tardiness on the set. The altercation escalated to a point where Washington had his hands around Dempsey's throat yelling "I'm not your little f*gg*t like _____." Much speculation about who the "little f*gg*t" was ensued in the tabloid media, the most mainstream of the reports appearing in the New York Post, I believe. The use of the gay epithet was secondary in most stories. This prompted T.R. Knight, who many had named as the "little f*gg*t" in question, to give a report to People Magazine in which he came out as gay. End of story--until Monday nights Golden Globe Awards.

On the red carpet before the event, Isaiah Washington made some bizarre unsolicited "pro-gay" remarks. No one is quite sure why. After Grey's Anatomy won best dramatic series, in the pressroom the subject came up again prompting Washington to take the mic away from the spokesperson, show creator Shondra Rhimes, and blurt out "I did not call T.R. Knight a f*gg*t." Again using the F word. T.R. Knight has since appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show stating that once again Washington is lying and the F word was in fact used. Other cast members have said as much in interviews, too.

To me, Washington should have been fired for the physical violence toward Dempsey, alone. (Dempsey, ever macho, did not want to press the violence issue though.) But add to that the use of the F word and you have one pretty hostile work environment. Again--grounds for immediate dismissal in my opinion. The last company I worked for had that policy, why doesn't ABC?

The great irony in this story is that this ugly epithet came from an African American man--someone who should surely know how damaging this kind of hate speech can be. Yet NO one I've seen reporting the story has gone near that issue yet, except for blogger AfterElton. In his article he compares the F word to the N word and states that if the situation were reversed the response not only from the network, but the entire mainstream media would have been quite different. Why this double standard?

In any fight for civil rights recurring issues and arguments come up. Many of the same arguments used during the black civil rights movement are now being used in the gay civil rights movement. Yet many in the black community resent the similarity. The argument is that one cannot hide skin color the way one can hide sexuality and certainly the forms of discrimination toward both groups manifest themselves in different ways. While that much is true--let's be real. Much of this resentment is based on homophobia.

But if you believe as I do, that skin pigmentation, like sexuality, is based on one's genetic make-up and that one genetic make up is no better or worse than any other and therefore should not be discriminated against, how can you NOT use the same arguments? The problem is that while there is some scientific evidence to support a genetic link to sexuality, we have yet to find that "smoking gun." And even when we do, it will be under reported. And those who just don't want to believe it won't and they will defend their constitutional right to their ignorance to the enth degree--like evolution. But I digress.

The long and the short of it is that ABC should take swift action to fire Washington as soon as possible. Every day ABC allows Washington to continue his contract they appear complicit with his remarks. Why are they okay with that?

Update: ABC is preparing to release a statement saying they are "dismayed" by Washington's behavior and that the situation is "being addressed."

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

No Surprises here

Oh, by the way, as expected our girl Jennifer Hudson took home the Award for Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture. And I thought she looked great, too.

Also, Helen Mirren, one of my favorite actresses working today, picked up Best Actress awards for playing both Queen Elizabeth I and II. Love her. Can't wait till she gets an Oscar.

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America the Beautiful

At last night's Golden Globe Awards, ABC's new series Ugly Betty took home the honor of best television series, comedy or musical. The show airs on Thursday night opposite NBC's new comedy line-up (which I love) and Survivor on CBS. Scott is a Survivor fan (don't get it) so he had been DVRing that and we both like the NBC line-up (Earl, The Office, 30 Rock--Scrubs is in there somewhere, too, but it's not about that for me so much) and since you can't have more than two channels going at the same time with this DVR thing, we couldn't watch Ugly Betty. Luckily ABC's Family Channel has been airing all the Bettys we missed. We taped them all, have been catching up and are LOVING them.

America Ferrera shines as Betty and in what is reported to be the surprise of the evening last night, took home the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a comedy series. Her speech was one of those rare, truly sincere moments that make enduring an entire awards show worthwhile. I tried to find a video clip of it but couldn't. Having been a relative unknown before this role, a clearly moved and emotional America Ferrera delivered this acceptance speech:
"It's such a beautiful message about beauty that lies deeper than what we see. And it's such an honor to play a role that I hear from young girls on a daily basis about how this show makes them feel lovable, and they have more to offer the world than they thought."

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

In My Day...

I have long been a fan of Dunkin Donuts' coffee--way before Starbucks was a twinkle in the eye of any Seattle hipster. What I like about Dunkin' Donuts is that it's just really good basic American coffee. You can order it the old fashioned way--with no foreign words, just like their current ad campaign claims. Now, I know from my days working behind the counter at a local Howard Johnson's (my first paying job in high school) that if someone orders a "regular" coffee, it does not refer to size or caffeination, it means with cream and sugar. Dunkin' Donuts is one of the few places left in the world where you can go in and order a medium regular coffee and they know exactly what you're talking about--usually.

Now perhaps it was a cultural difference or inexperience due to age, but the other day when I went into Dunkin' Donuts, cranky and in need of coffee (a dangerous combination), and ordered my medium regular coffee, the young Pakistani boy behind the counter had to ask me "do you mean black." I said "No, I mean REGULAR! With cream and sugar." He replied "Oh, cuz sometimes people mean black." To which I replied "If I meant black, I would say black. "

And then I said it. Those three little words that have doomed me to officially join the ranks of grumpy old men everywhere: "In my day, a regular coffee meant with cream and sugar!"

The other kid behind the counter snickered at me. I guess I deserved that.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Shocked and Appalled

Last year Scott and I attended a performance of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Hilton Theatre right here on Broadway. Even more appalling than the show onstage (It was pretty bad) was the show in the row in front of us. An entire family eating cake, complete with plastic plates and forks, during the show. "Rubes!" thought I, "obviously not a family of seasoned theatre-goers otherwise they would surely know that eating during a performance in a legitimate theatre is simply NOT done." Or, perhaps they knew better than I that their behavior is now considered perfectly acceptable by the management of most Broadway theatres these days. Yes, it's true.

The Times reported this unfortunate news in an article on January 5th.
While eating at your seat at a Broadway theater used to be universally forbidden, theaters are increasingly allowing patrons to take their drinks, candy and even crunchy munchies to their seats during a show. This let-them-eat-snacks philosophy has been embraced at the Helen Hayes, Hilton, New Amsterdam, Eugene O’Neill and Walter Kerr Theaters, as well as at all nine houses owned by the Nederlander Organization (the Brooks Atkinson, Gershwin, Lunt-Fontanne, Marquis, Minskoff, Nederlander, Neil Simon, Palace and Richard Rodgers).
Vice President of the Nederlander Organization, Jim Boese, claims "This is part of a broader attempt to enhance the audience experience." Although exactly which audience members experience will be enhanced by this move remains to be seen. Clearly priority is being placed on those theatre goers who are willing to increase the theatre owner's profits by paying $12 for a Diet Coke in a commemorative spillproof plastic cup. Might I also point out that one gets to pay upwards of 100 bucks a ticket to sit next to one of these pop-corn munching, gum cracking, soda slurping slobs at the theatre these days.

Not surprisingly, the least consideration of all is given to the live actors on stage who have to perform while seeing, hearing and smelling all manner of food stuffs being consumed by audience members who can scarcely fit in the antiquated seating at most Broadway theatres in the first place. As it is, God forbid someone in the audience has to get up to go to the bathroom during a performance, the entire row of patrons has to be disturbed because of the lack of leg room at these theatres. Imagine someone making multiple trips to the "snack bar" (heaven help us) or, God forbid, the COCKTAIL bar since most Broadway theatres already serve alcoholic beverages. When cocktails were only sold before the show and at intermission one could count on minimal instances of drunkenness in the audience. Now, what is to stop a patron from consuming 4 or 5 martinis then hauling off and hurling a corn dog at the head of some actor onstage whose performance displeases him? And where is Actors Equity in all of this anyway? Hopefully some protection will be enacted to prevent actors from having to dress up as dancing buckets of pop-corn and candy bars between acts in an effort to promote consession sales.

I was glad to see that I am not the only New Yorker who is shocked and appalled by this new "Let-em-eat-snacks" mentality. John Heilpern of the New York Obsever wrote a wonderful commentary on the subject as well. In it, among other things, he says:
(Theatre is) our refuge and respite from the clamor of the world, and the unholy place where we might better understand and enjoy the world. It's our sanctuary and home where eternal stories are told, words are heard, and music and poetry are cherished in the two-hour traffic of the stage. But our faith in theater is a secular religion, and Broadway has always been a rough-and-tumble hybrid of art and commerce.
Rough-and-tumble indeed. And such is the state of modern theatre.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Tranny Tuesday

Left with an unexpected night to myself, I ventured out to check the movie times at Lowe's 84th Street. Having missed the time for the only film I was interested in seeing, I wandered across the street to the Barnes and Noble. I stumbled upon a book signing, reading and talk in progress upstairs. An author named Cris Beam has written a wonderfully touching and funny memoir called Transparent about teaching and mentoring a group of transgendered teenagers. She was a delight. Her audience was mostly neighborhood folk, the type who turn out for almost every discussion and book signing they have there. A Lesbian writer discussing transgendered teens to a bunch of very well-read Jewish senior citizens. Only in New York.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Dreamgirls at the Ziegfeld

Saturday night I finally saw the movie of Dreamgirls. I saw it at the Ziegfeld Theatre here in New York where it premiered in December. The Ziegfeld is an old-time movie house encased in a monstrosity of a mid-1970s facade. But still, the lobby walls feature costume pieces and photographs from the Ziegfeld Follies, playbills of stars like Marilyn Miller and photographs of Flo Ziegfeld himself as well as original promotional artwork for movies like My Fair Lady. The auditorium is the size of a football field and a screen that size hasn't been seen since they closed the last drive-in movie theatre. Heavy velvet drapes adorn the walls and the whole place has that musty old theatre smell. It feels historic--and so does Dreamgirls.

The movie going experience at the Ziegfeld that night was unique not only for the history, but also for the crowd who was there which can only be described as GAY, GAY, GAY, GAY, GAY! And of course, Jennifer Hudson is our girl!

I expected that she would get an ovation after "And I'm Telling You, I'm Not Going" but she also got entrance applause, the way you applaud for a big star in a Broadway show during her first entrance of the show. The lines leading up Ms. Hudson's screen entrance are something like "Where's Effie, anyway." The camera swings around and lands on Jennifer who says something like "I'm right here." --THUNDEROUS applause from the audience. She not only got a hand after "And I'm Telling You..." which, to me, is truly one of the most powerful moments in the history of movie musicals, but she got applause after every one of her big solos. During the end credits of the film they name the cast members along with a little film montage of each. This audience could not wait for Hudson, who was last, to be named. The music slows down to a dramatic tempo and the words "and introducing" appear across the screen. Already the audience was hooting and hollering. But when the words "Ms. Jennifer Hudson" appeared an eruption of cheering and applause took over the theatre. The queens went wild! Except for Scott who refuses to applaud at movies.

Anyway, the movie is truly spectacular. There was not a single missed opportunity in the film. It's one of those movies that if you have to go to the bathroom, you will be hard pressed to try to find a lull in the action so you can go pee. Don't order the super-size soda and make sure you go before the movie starts. It's that good.

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Don't Panic

This morning I awoke to news reports of a gaseous odor permeating New York City from the Battery to Midtown and as far west as downtown Jersey City. The source of the leak, as yet still unknown, seems to be centered around Bleecker Street at 6th Avenue.

According to the Mayor's office, air samples around the city are completely safe and Con Edison shows no drop in pressure in their gas lines or tanks. The odor is said not to be that of natural gas, as it is odorless, but rather the gas added to natural gas so that people can smell it in an emergency. As far north as Scott's apartment at 123 St we smelled nothing, and as I made my way down to the West 80s where I live, I still smelled nothing.

For more on the story, click here.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007


Today is the Feast of the Epiphany. It is traditionally known as the day the Magi, or Three Wise Men arrived in Bethlehem bearing gifts for the Christ child. But in fact "Epiphany" itself refers to the "shining forth" or revelation of God in human form. Epiphay is the last day of the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas and growing up, was the last day it was acceptable to have our Christmas decorations up. So start undecking those halls.

I snapped this photo along Riverside Drive yesterday. Trees are hauled here for New York's Christmas tree recycling program which turns the trees into mulch for city parks. For the recycling schedule, click here.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Lovely Weather We're Having

At one time polite society dictated that the safest topic of conversation in a mixed social setting was the weather. After all, it is one of the things almost everyone agrees on--whether its cloudy or fair, warm or cool, etc. No one really takes offense at any of this. If one is daring one could even offer an opinion on the weather and be so bold as to express a preference for one type of weather over another. Still, weather is a topic in which almost all opinions expressed don't seem to offend anyone's religion, class, background or upbringing and so are easily tolerated.

This morning when I went outside, I felt as if I had stepped into the Twilight Zone. The weather has been so unseasonably warm lately and temperatures are expected to approach 70 degrees this weekend. Now, I love warm weather. I really do. I much prefer summer to winter. I love going to the beach, dining al fresco and not being weighed down by the confines of a heavy coat. Normally I welcome a few days of a warm spell in the middle of the winter but this is ridiculous. It feels creepy. It's been like this since Thanksgiving practically. When I go outside into this warm weather I don't think "isn't this lovely--feels like srpingtime!" instead I think "isn't this scary--feels like global warming."

Coincidentally, when I turned on NPR this morning Brian Lehrer was taking calls from people discussing what kind of plans they had for the warm weather this weekend. The Meteorologist who writes the weather page for the New York Times was on hand to shed some light on the current weather pattern. Brian asked if any of these warm temperatures are was the result of global warming. The meteorologist then talked a lot about the jet stream but barely touched the topic of global warming saying it "may or may not" have something to do with it. This of course offers no information. I could have come up with that conclusion.

So why, I thought, is this meteorologist afraid to discuss the impact of global warming on weather patterns? Oh, I know, because if you do discuss that you have to first believe it exists. If you believe, as modern science does, that global warming exists you end up aligning yourself with certain political beliefs which go against the current administration's belief that there is still inconclusive evidence on the subject. Discussing global warming might make the meteorologist come off as some crazy wild-eye liberal (as if his affiliation with the NY Times wasn't enough). So even the weather is politicized in this country these days. By the end of the program, in true New York form, a listener who is a climatologist called in and set the record straight about global warming's impact. The meteorologist then listed a half-hearted counter argument.

The other topic of conversation that was always considered safe was everyone's health. But these days that could lead to conversations about diseases and cures which might bring up the subject of stem-cell research. And who wants to open that can or worms at a dinner party?

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Thursday, January 04, 2007


You might remember in my post entitled The Old Neighborhood my lamenting the closing of the famous Stonewall Bar, home of the 1969 Stonewall riots which were the catalyst for the modern gay rights movement. In those days the bar was called the Stonewall Inn. A couple of weeks ago while walking down Christopher Street I noticed that the For Rent signs in the old bar's windows had been changed to "Closed for Renovations" signs. Hmmm, I thought, could this mean the Stonewall is re-opening?

Well, it was reported this week that in fact the Stonewall Bar located at 53 Christopher Street, IS being reopened by the owners of the Duplex just a few doors down. After extensive renovations the new Stonewall is expected to be for open business by mid-February. Also, I am glad to report after doing some research that I discovered the Stonewall Inn was added to the National Register of Historic Places by the US National Park Service in 1999.

See you at happy hour in February!

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot

About a month ago I remember seeing within the span of two days about five people around the city that I "used to know." A guy I used to chat and flirt with at the gym, the best friend of an old boyfriend, a guy I had a crush on from a therapy group I was in (yes, group therapy). Five people in two days that I hadn't seen in years. In a city like New York what are the odds of that? It's weird. I passed them on a subway platform or on the street and recognized them. You can never be sure in situations like that if they recognize you, too, and stopping them on the street and having to explain the connection if they don't might be awkward and time consuming. None of them were close friends but yet I knew intimate details of their lives, their relationships, their fears and troubles and in some cases I had even been in their home at one time or another. But the opportunity to reconnect was lost simply because I was in a hurry and it's easier and safer to pretend not to see or to recognize. And so with the change of a traffic light or the closing of a subway door they slipped back into the city of strangers--our paths perhaps never to cross again.

So, five people in two days. You have to wonder what the universe is trying to tell you when something like that happens. I tried to piece together what any of these people had in common--if anything. And the only conclusion I could come to is that they all represent a two or three year period of my life when my theatre career started to take off. I was getting work and feeling good about what I was doing. But as often happens with actors, I "left the business" for more secure endeavors or ones that wouldn't keep taking me away from home and the people I love for months at a time. These chance encounters happened at just about the time I started taking steps to get my graduate school applications in order. I'm going back for my MFA in Acting. I'm going back to theatre. While there was no dramatic moment of epiphany, I drew this conclusion as a gentle sign from the universe that yes, I'm moving in the right direction. I was there and I can be again.

Whew! That feels good.

Happy New Year, everybody.

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