Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Wish me good luck, I have to go yell at Froghammer."

Sometimes, I find that it's a life imitating art that imitates life sort of day.

And, when you work in the theatre, that means it's a Slings and Arrows sort of day.

So, I bring you, forthwith, one of my favorite scenes from the show, which overall is one of the all time best depictions of what it's really like behind the scenes of a mid-size regional theatre today.


(It's all good, but pay particular attention between 4:38 and 7:03...)

I have particular affinity with/sympathy for Anna most days....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Breaking the Silence

Ahem. this thing still on?

So...hey there. I've been away from this blog for nearly two years, and there were times when I was sure I was never going to pick it up again due to too many things going on in this hectic life I seem to be leading. But there has been a lot going on lately - theatrically, and for me personally - and it has led me to believe that there is still a reason for me to be posting here.

The first thing I wanted to post about was an article a friend of mine drew my attention to about a female playwright named Nell Leyshon who is the first woman who will have a play produced at The Globe Theatre. (At least, she's the first one that they can prove).

Now yes, the Globe did have a long, um, layoff where it wasn't producing anything...mainly because it didn't exist...but it's still pretty nifty that after several hundred years we've got a female playwright breaking the silence and headlining Shakespeare's old digs. The entire season they've got planned seems to be utilizing women in prime roles both in front of and behind the scenes. Check out more about it all here. The play is called Bedlam, and looks to be quite enthralling.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Hillary Clinton's Idealistic Heart

Okay, okay...I know that I said my next post would be about how shows like Lipstick Jungle and Cashmere Mafia were sending feminism back to the Dark Ages but I just have one (or perhaps two) more politically-related posts to get out of my system first. And these posts do have a bit of a pro-woman bent, so....

All the time that I was a Wellesley student, I would hear about Hillary Clinton's commencement speech (from 1969 back when she was Hillary Rodham) and how wonderful it was and how inspirational - especially because she rewrote it practically on the spot as a response to the "official" commencement speech given by a then-U.S. Senator. But I'd never read it, and with all the hoopla surrounding the current Democratic campaigns, I thought I'd check it out. And it is indeed a very good speech...I may post the entirety of it here at some point because it is brief...but what struck me most was the poem she chose to close her remarks with.

The poem was written by a classmate of hers, Nancy Scheibner, and goes like this:

My entrance into the world of so-called "social problems"
Must be with quiet laughter, or not at all.
The hollow men of anger and bitterness
The bountiful ladies of righteous degradation
All must be left to a bygone age.
And the purpose of history is to provide a receptacle
For all those myths and oddments
Which oddly we have acquired
And from which we would become unburdened
To create a newer world
To transform the future into the present.
We have no need of false revolutions
In a world where categories tend to tyrannize our minds
And hang our wills up on narrow pegs.
It is well at every given moment to seek the limits in our lives.
And once those limits are understood
To understand that limitations no longer exist.
Earth could be fair. And you and I must be free
Not to save the world in a glorious crusade
Not to kill ourselves with a nameless gnawing pain
But to practice with all the skill of our being
The art of making possible.

Now, I know she didn't actually write those words herself, but she must have believed in them deeply because she chose them as her final thought...the emblem of all she was speaking about...the crystallization of her message to her fellow students, the faculty, and all in attendance who would then carry its essence out into the wider world.

Non ministrari, sed ministrare.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Up next

Tune in to watch me bemoan how The Lipstick Jungle, The Cashmere Mafia, and Bravo's millionaire matchmaker Patty Stanger are conspiring to set feminism back several decades...even as they are touted as TV that features "Women In The Driver's Seat."

But that's for another (hopefully not-too-distant) day...for now, must sleep.

This is not a political blog...

Not usually, anyway.

I generally use this page to post my affectionate ramblings about Muppets or my adoring thoughts on Geof from Ace of Cakes. Every once and awhile I actually post some original prose-poetry or write about something dramaturgical or Red Sox related. (The blog url *is* shakespeareandsox after all). I leave the political analysis and such to GeekUSA, as he has a rather encyclopaedic mind for Americana/political history/Presidential trivia and he’s darn witty about it all to boot.

But, having just voted in Florida’s Democratic Presidential Primary…a primary that we’re all being told essentially “doesn’t count”…I find myself ruminating about the upcoming election and actually having a decent bit to say.

My family and some of my friends know that I have waffled incessantly back and forth between the potential Democratic candidates throughout the whole race up until this point and, while I won’t say who I voted for in Tuesday’s primary, I will say that I have doubted and then re-affirmed my choice at least four times in the two and a half days since then.

What options are we really being asked to choose between in this Democratic race?

(I won’t even begin to tackle the Republican side of things as any prolonged examination of that party’s current candidates usually either leaves me shouting at my TV or giggling hysterically.
Back to the Dems...)

Barack Obama is a well-spoken, highly intelligent, dynamic Senator with fairly liberal ideas and views.

Hillary Clinton is a well-spoken, highly intelligent, dynamic Senator with fairly liberal ideas and views.

(I’m not going to debate how “dynamic” or “liberal” each of them may or may not be because everyone will differ in their specific definitions of those terms. I think that while Obama is truly a spectacular orator, if one really listens to some of Hillary’s finer language, she acquits herself quite well too.)

They have very similar policy views on a wide variety of “hot button” issues and each one of them would break new demographic ground within the presidency if elected. Now that John Edwards has dropped out of the race, the one thing that we all know for certain is that the Democratic nominee will *not* be a middle aged white man.

So, if there’s so much that is similar about them…does this *literally* all come down to a popularity contest?

Well, kinda.

The press right now is characterizing the choice within the Democratic race as being the choice between Obama’s optimistic idealism and Clinton’s pragmatic realism. But, of course, the contrast is not described in such plain terms by the salivating and jabbering talking heads on the all-day news channels.

Every news outlet from Fox News to The New Yorker has taken pot shots at both candidates.

Obama is branded “naïve” or “inexperienced” because he dares to ask people to take a leap of faith with him and get on board with the idea of – gasp! – actually *changing* things for the better if he has the chance to be president. He is further indicted in the media for having the cheek to seem to believe in his own ideas and for having a sense of genuine awe for the possibility inherent in the presidential office. But honestly, this is not naïveté.

It’s hope. It’s belief.

The scary thing with Obama isn’t his short tenure in the Senate, and therefore his supposed lack of experience. He’s shown himself to be more than smart enough to do the job. No, the frightening part of voting for him is actually *believing* in something positive but oh-so-ephemeral. The fear lies in making the leap and saying “okay…I don’t know if he can really affect all this bi-partisan change he’s talking about, but I really want the future he’s painting to come true. And if enough of us believe, it’ll work.”

I hate to say it, but nowadays so many people are incredibly cynical, and so it’s a hard battle to get them to drop their inhibitions en masse and entice them to believe in something really new and exciting.

On the other hand, Hillary is deemed “paranoid” and “argumentative” and has been accused of seeing a conspiracy against her in everything, and wearing her opponents down with petty bickering…circling them until she finds their weaknesses and can “pounce,” thereby bringing them “down to her level.” The knock on her is “sure, she knows *how* to do this job, but she’s more invested in winning the argument than believing in what she’s arguing for.” In other words, she’s seen as too ruthless, yet somehow also fearful that she can’t win an argument/debate/primary on her own merit and so must try to “level the playing field” by blasting her opponent’s character apart before addressing their stance on the actual issues.

I won’t even get into the havoc Bill Clinton (a president who I always admired during his time in office despite the hoo-hah in his personal life), is wreaking on her campaign the last several times he’s opened his big yap.

But again, I say that if one listens closely to the speeches she’s been making in the wake of the last few primaries, they are actually incredibly articulate, well-thought-out, and fair. I had been doubtful about her positions on several key issues prior to her appearance on Meet the Press a few weeks ago, but listening to her speak proved that she has plans – good ones – for how to fix some key things that the current administration has fouled up beyond belief.

Just because she may be pragmatic, and *may* take the view that the presidency is primarily about negotiating the existing systems to the best of one’s ability *before* turning one’s gaze to more sweeping changes, doesn’t mean that she is anti-progress, as has been suggested by several in the media. She seems to espouse the belief that you have to know the field you’re playing on, and she also seems to be honoring the old adage of “know thine enemy.” She realizes and accepts that any politician is entitled to their ideas and their plans, but they MUST also remember that there are hundreds of other legislators and lobbyists, many of whom will actively try to block anything that the president attempts to put into action – especially if it is new.

She recognizes the difficulty of making sweeping changes immediately because she has seen the process up close and personal before, and she *does* have the experience of being very close to the political crossfire surrounding the presidency and coming out the other side (relatively) intact. Meanwhile, the TV news has tried to portray her as a harbinger of “doom and gloom” merely because she is extolling a more cautious approach to her presidential plan. They automatically equate this realism and pragmatism with fear and an unwillingness to *ever* take risks, and this is neither fair nor accurate.

Okay. So they’re *both* better suited to the job than the TV coverage is leading us to believe…but if that’s true, why does thinking about voting for Obama in November fill me with the fear that his candidacy would be perceived as too weak and we would be inaugurating “President McCain” come January? And why does the thought of voting for Hillary in the fall cause me to feel somewhat depressed and disappointed with myself – as though I have not done my duty to myself or my country because I didn’t have a great enough power of *belief*?

This is a choice between unsupportable optimism and soul-sucking pragmatism.

Or at least that’s what watching the TV news would make us all believe.


Perhaps the problem lies with neither candidate.

Perhaps it’s the same old story…the candidates are not nearly as bad for the country as the demonizing entities of Bad Journalism and Irresponsible Media Spin are.

All I know is that I voted, and it doesn’t count.

It’s just another chapter in the ongoing love/hate affair of Florida and the Democratic Party….


Post-Script: I’m not trying to slam all the media here. Journalism, when done well and without the intent to create a pointless feeding frenzy out of thin air, is an eminently respectable profession. My Dad is one of the *best* and fairest journalists I know, and I have learned tons about how reporting *should* be done from him. My intent was to point out the level of confusion this Democratic race has reached and the detrimental effects several members of the media have had on the campaigns by practicing shoddy, *bad* journalism. (Or in the case of the National Review’s Byron York’s comments on Rudy Giuliani’s concession…*shockingly* bad journalism).

Post-Post-Script: I started this post on Wednesday, and worked further on it on Thursday evening. As I did, I had MSNBC’s “Countdown” on in the background. I realized that I must amend my post to say that, along with my Dad, Keith Olbermann is one of the good journalists. One of the *really* good ones. Take a gander at this to see him channel Edward R. Murrow as he excoriates President Bush’s history with FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act):

Can we elect him?!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Happy New Frog!!

Ummm....I mean Happy New Year!!

It's been long-time-no-post, I know....and this isn't going to really be much of a post. But I wanted to let you all know that I *am* still using this blog, and plan to return here again on a more regular basis once I can get through the next hectic stretch at work.

In the meantime, I have posted the following link for your Muppet-ing enjoyment. It is from one of my favorite Muppet specials EVER, "The Frog Prince." And the song that begins at the 1 minute, 10 second mark still tickles me even at age twenty-nine (or as Melora would say...nenty-twine).

Friday, October 12, 2007

One of the reasons I love October.... watching the Red Sox in the playoffs.

The ALCS starts tonight at Fenway, with the beloved Sox going up against the Cleveland Indians. I couldn't resist posting the above photo for good luck.

GO SOX!!!!!