Archive | February 2016

February 25, while it lasts

There are banshees fighting yeti outside my bedroom window, as the winds whip around the corners of the 111 year old apartment building I call home, and the driving rains lash against the windows.
 
On the one hand, I am glad the banshees are winning, as this would be one serious mountain of snow, should the temperature drop below freezing.
 
But it is actually 56F on the western tip of Long Island at Midnight – IN FEBRUARY.
 
This is the second time in less than a month that we had such a storm. The last one came less than a week after a blizzard.
 
So I am a bit concerned for the planet that, you know, is our only home in the vast emptiness of what could possibly be a lifeless universe.
 
And even if it isn’t lifeless, it does not do you and me a bit of good. We cannot exactly travel to anywhere else.
 
We cannot even send one human being to the nearest desert planet bombarded by radiation that would fry Earthborn life in hours, and has no breathable air.
 
We certainly cannot send them TRILLIONS of miles, across the generations of human-life-years it would take to get anyone to where it, maybe in a very, very, very, very slight chance, might support human life, with technology we have not developed yet because the wealthiest societies on the planet throw away almost all of their Gross National Product on barbaric machinery of War, when it could have been used to reach out for the stars, or at least figure out how to keep Miami, London, Hong Kong, and New York City from becoming the under-the-sea relics they will almost certainly be before this year’s college graduates enter their retirement homes. That is, unless some things seriously change.
 
But so long as people consider vapid morons like Donald Trump as potential leaders of the Free World, well, we are doomed.
 
It really is that simple.
 
So you might as well stock up on your favorite fatty foods and delicious dainties and dig in. Because the unprecedented change in the planet’s climate is real, regardless of what wishful thinkers and blind deniers say.
 
And no, the fact that what we now take for granted as the global civilization may end up in a heap in no way means some weirdly-Caucasian Jesus is “coming back” from somewhere to save you believers from the pain of death before your natural time runs out. That is not a spot to put all your chips. Centuries of deluded folk have been there and done that, each of them sure that the end is nigh.
 
This in no way means there is no God or that Jesus isn’t all some folks say he was or is. It just means the tidy package trotted out every generation or so to rail against the changes that just cannot possibly mean anything but the impending end of the world, but don’t, is complete hooey.
 
Humans will adapt, and keep adapting long after you and I are not even remembered by name by any breathing entity.
 
But that does not mean humans will make it all that far.
 
Lizards and other things that suck in their food with their tongues while remaining low to the ground with four limbs dedicated to locomotion have a much better chance than we do.
 
And that is why I am going to make sure there aren’t any lights on in the apartment that do not need to be on, and that all the water taps aren’t leaking any drops of precious fluid.
 
And then I will have another drink, since it is my birthday.
 
And someday, no living thing on this planet will know that simple fleeting fact, let alone know the fact that this oddly truncated list of days once called February by less than a majority of the humans who lived on the itsy bitsy thin crust of a molten planet that happened to be in just the right orbit around its mid-size star to allow the stability necessary for advanced life forms like the paramecium to evolve, not to mention the big sex-obsessed apes with guns we call human beings, just by coincidence housed the 24-hour period of time wherein one of the Beatles was born.
 
And that it happened on the same day (a considerable number of years later) as the birth of the composer of this address.
 
And as that cold, unfeeling universe shrugs with a collective, “So what? Big deal,” I bow to those who have read this far and thank you. I know that I was alive when some great stuff happened, and some pretty great people made it happen. And I am happy that you are alive this very moment and may, in some small way, wish me happy birthday. You might as well, what the hell difference will it make in the long run?
 
Not much, really. But it will help another clump of animated carbohydrates, water, and empty space feel a bit less like, well, a clump of carbohydrates, water, and empty space – all of which are becoming endangered commodities, if you haven’t noticed.

Review: Tennessee Williams 1982 – two-one acts premiere

Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company premiere two one-acts as Tennessee Williams 1982

Kate Skinner is riveting as the female lead in the world premiere of A Recluse and His Guest, and in the New York premiere of The Remarkable Rooming-House of Mme. Le Monde

Now through March 13, official opening night is February 21

Walker Space, at 46 Walker Street, is a walker’s a five minute stroll from the Canal St. R and Q stop.

Tennessee Williams 1982 Kate Skinner Patrick Darwin Williams                                            photos: Antonis Achilleos 

The cautionary and relatively gentle folktale of “The Recluse and His Guest” is paired with “The Remarkable Rooming-House of Mme. Le Monde,” an absurdist piece that is as kinetic as it is brutally funny, profane, and bordering on the obscene. It is hard to imagine two pieces being more different, coming from the same mind in the same year.

Read the Full Review

Tennessee Williams One Acts Ready for Premiere

Tennesee Williams one acts

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS 1982: The World Premiere of A Recluse and His Guest and The New York Premiere of The Remarkable Rooming-House of Mme. Le Monde.

It’s time to get your tickets. Don’t let it pass you by.

Previews are discounted, Feb. 14, 15, 16, & 18, 19, 20.

Opening night is sold out.

The show runs Wed. through Sun. at 7:30, Saturdays at 3:00 through March 13th.

Go to: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2474773

“These are two one-act plays written in 1982, the year before Williams died. He was not writing for the critics or for Broadway at that point, he was writing for an experimental theater that frequently saw him as establishment. While you will recognize his poetry, his vision was reaching much farther into the future.” – Thomas Keith, Williams scholar, editor, author.

About the Artists

“Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company is dedicated to strengthening the legacy of the American Theatre with dynamic, affordable, programming that examines the influences of the past on the present and future of our art form.”

Cosmin Chivu (director) is a Romanian-born theater artist, currently based in New York City, with an international career of award-winning productions. He has directed over 50 professional and university productions in America, Austria, England, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania and Thailand, most recently Beautiful Province by Clarence Coo (LCT3), winner of the 2012 Yale New Drama Series, Something Cloudy Something Clear by Tennessee Williams at The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, a staged reading of Our Class by Tadeusz Slobodzianek at The Temple Emanu-El, Skirball Center, and the Off Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams‘ The Mutilated starring Mink Stole and Penny Arcade, which was nominated for a Drama League Award for Best Revival in 2013. Chivu is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio, a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, an alumnus of the Old Globe’s Jack O’Brien fellowship and the founder of InterArt Theatre Group. Chivu is currently the Head of B.A. Acting/Directing Program, International Performance Ensemble at Pace University Performing Arts in New York City. He holds a Masters in Directing from the Actors Studio Drama School, New School University, NYC and a B.A. in Acting from the G. Enescu Art Academy, Romania. Visit cosminchivu.com to learn more.

“The vital truths Williams’ reveals in these two one-acts are still present in raw and essential ways.”  “In fact, more that 30 years later, the plays feel more potent than ever-the compassion, the poetic fire, and the heartbreaking vision of American’s greatest playwright speak loudly in these compact works.”

Kate Skinner (Mme. Le Monde / Nevrika) has starred on Broadway in The Graduate and Uncle Vanya (with Tom Courtenay). Off-Broadway credits include Honey Brown Eyes, The Mapmaker’s Sorrow, Ashes to Ashes, and Marvin’s Room. National Tours include Lend Me A Tenor and The Graduate. Most recent regional credits include All My Sons (Swine Palace), Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 with Stacy Keach (Shakespeare Theatre), Other Dessert Cities (Pioneer Theatre), Boeing Boeing (Engeman Theatre), Doubt & Agnes of God (ATC/Chicago), The Alchemist (Shakespeare Theatre), Noises Off (Denver Center Theatre), Uncle Vanya with Peter Dinklage (Bard SummerScape), Rabbit Hole (Cleveland Playhouse), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Shakespeare Santa Cruz/Syracuse Stage) and Ah, Wilderness! (Guthrie Theatre). Her TV & film credits include The Affair, Unforgettable, Blue Bloods, all versions of Law & Order numerous times, several soap operas, Mona Lisa Smile, The Rage: Carrie II and Down The Shore (opposite James Gandolfini). She is married to author/actor Ron McLarty.

Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company Website: http://playhousecreatures.org/

Super Bowl 50

Real Football Upstages Lady Gaga and the Entertainment Machine in Super Bowl 50

A boring and poorly played game? Nonesense.

It was two classic defenses who played exceptionally well, humbling two offenses and one MVP and one 5-time MVP, AND an NFL that has tried to turn professional football and the Super Bowl into a glitzy scripted entertainment extravaganza that won’t offend family-oriented sponsors and be worthy of choreographed pop star dance offs.
 
Instead, they got football, not entertainment. Real football.
Out on that field between the whistles was real, old fashioned football where the only offensive TDs were accomplished by running backs making super human efforts to force their way through the kind of defenses that were common place in the 1970s, and only because their defense gave them a very short field.
 
The sound bite played over and over all week of someone saying “We gonna hit em in the mouth and make them feel like they never been hit like that before” became a reality, for at least one humbled offensive superman who had his wings clipped and couldn’t handle it, during the game or after.
 
It was two great defenses and perhaps one that deserves to be placed with the best ever, making two very good offenses look boring and poorly equipped. It was tense, for anyone with an emotional stake in the game, and with no offensive rhythm developing. But not for lack of trying.
It wasn’t pretty. But it was late in the 4th Quarter before it was truly decided, even if in the end both offenses failed to ignite any serious threat of breaking out.
 
Lady Gaga absolutely owned the National Anthem. The half time show was suitably not boring and shallow enough for mass appeal. The officials were pretty even-handed when it came to blatant fouls not called and iffy fouls that were called. The TV coverage was very poorly handled, especially at the end of the game and afterwards.
 
But the game itself? Seeing a defense so completely dominate the #1 offense gave me hope for football in the modern age where the rules are rigged to favor the offense every way possible.
While the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl it was football that was the big winner over those who want it to be some sort of expected spectacle.
That is why live athletic events on a champion level remains the best reality TV that has ever been or shall ever be. And why football is the true team sport that more than any other requires a team effort of so many minds and bodies working together, and every single one of them a possible goat or hero.

James Harris 1st Black Quarterback in NFL – podcast

Fascinating podcast about James Harris, the first black NFL quarterback who withstood Civil Rights era hate and ultimately led the LA Rams to the two NFC Championship Games in row.

One of the commentators makes a good argument as to why Harris starting at Quarterback for the Buffalo Bills and later the Los Angeles Rams was the most significant single feat in the desegregation of professional sports.
When a player falls off the TV screen it is easy to not notice where they went. I didn’t realize that after two very strong seasons, being voted team captain and MVP of the Pro Bowl he was traded away to San Diego where he became Dan Fouts’s backup. Not something that ever happened to a white all-pro quarterback at the height of his career.
I was surprised to learn that after old fashioned race attitudes forced him out of a starting QB role and later retired, he remained employed in a suit and tie by the NFL until 2015.
This is a podcast from Us & Them, Trey Kay’s Public Radio program that explores contentious social issues through the voices of the people who actually experience them first hand.
 
And while this one doesn’t so much take an Us vs. Them approach, I found this one of the most fascinating episodes. Not just because I am a football fan, but because of what I learned about the all-black colleges in the South and the very different priorities student athletes had there compared to the major predominantly white universities, etc.