Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Holidays

In a few hours, I will be getting out of bed and getting on a plane with my Recognized-by-the-State-of-California-Domestic-Partner. Two weeks in New York.

The blog will be taking an editorial break until January 1. Have a great holiday. Love your family, you might as well. Love your friends, even if they are not at their best. Love yourself, for no reason at all.

And relax...

Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I've Stopped Reading the Newspaper & Atonement

I’ve been very busy and I’ve stopped reading the newspaper. I had to.

I do not miss the news.

I do miss reading. When I am in normal work mode, I read two or three hours every day. Lately, I’ve only read emails.

Articles are better than emails. Books are often even better.

I need to get back to my reading.

On the short list is The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler and The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Short movie review: Atonement. Don’t go see it. If you liked The English Patient, like I didn’t, then you might like this snore fest. If you love beautiful cinematography but don’t mind hearing the words, “Come back to me” repeated over and over, go see it. However, if you have something else more pressing to do, like say, checking the pharmaceuticals in your medicine cabinet for expired pills, then I’d say, do that. I was Out of Africa bored with this one. The stagnant shots of people standing in front of graphic framing was laughable. Filmmakers. Poor dears. Imagine, if you will, a sweater that is all about yarn and not about shape.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Let it Snow

For Cheryl

Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 14, 2007

What I Learned at the Thursday Night Holiday Show and Chrismas Party

Tonight, I was in the Holiday Show Choir at Comedy Central’s Sit ‘N Spin. It was a light hearted event with send-ups of Christmas songs, a short red-headed guy in an elf suit, original scripted pieces about the holidays, a Kwanza joint and the Chanukah Blues. This well attended event was followed by a raucous party, one I insisted I was only going to stop by for an hour. We got home close to 2AM. It was a master class in excess. This is what I learned tonight.

1. The reason it’s called medical marijuana is because after you smoke it, you need the attention of a physician.

2. Maggie Rowe is an excellent writer, and seriously leggy.

3. I am not the only Biology major from Tufts University who ended up in show business. Eric Schwartz, also performing tonight, went this route, too.

4. At any live event with comedians, Richard Belzer might be found sitting with his dog in the front row of the audience. The dog, for the most part, may behave like a psychiatric ordained comfort dog. But it will spend some time, on its leash, sniffing around the front of the stage. It also might bark once at the musicians. Everyone knows children and animals remove the focus from adults. I think?

5. Hollywood writers and musicians will get fucking tanked on a Thursday night after they do a show a couple of weeks before Christmas if given enough booze, weed and cookies. Especially if there is a Writer’s Strike. No amount of residuals in the mail, stocks, soaring real estate equity or trust funds will ease their anxiety. It takes mind altering substances and a rock band in the living room.

6. Even though Bill Maher and I have spent time together, he doesn’t necessarily want to speak to me. His use of a marijuana bud as mistletoe is inspired. It cannot be easy to be famous at a party. If you are having a conversation with someone and a gay, middle aged man approaches the conversation to join in, you might just have to turn away.

7. If women cheat, they want to have an affair. Men, they just want to get blow-own.

8. My literary “agent” from the big fancy agency I am “with?” will show up at almost every party I go to this time of year and he will repeat this sentence at each one, “I will definitely call you tomorrow to give you notes on your The Closer spec.” But you know he never will. So you think about calling Endeavor.

9. American Spirit cigarettes are just as nauseating as Marlboro Lights.

10. If you have been taking Airborne for two days to stave off that nasty cold you felt coming on, you will eventually have to speed home to the bathroom because its active ingredient, Zinc, like chemo, will kill the bad bugs and the epithelial walls of your colon with equal fervor.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Clone Me

I have an idea for a story. I probably should not publish it here because someone might steal it. But maybe the story has already been written. I'd like to write about a guy who makes a clone of himself to do all of his slave work. It all starts out pretty great. But then there are complications. The clone, having the same underlying personality, suffers greatly under bondage. So it manages to free itself but then dies from DNA dysfunction. It's all the tragedy of watching yourself imprisoned by yourself, followed by getting free, too late, and then dying, too young.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Crash of '07

I was moved to using paper today. It was relaxing. A nice break. But there was a terror...

Automatic windows update was doing its thing when I shut down to go outside for the day’s business. When I came back, the machine was slumbering and when awoken, it was stuck on “Installing 2 of 9 updates. Do not shut off the computer. It will shut off by itself.” Ah! No budging. It just kept spinning at that message, forever. So I did what you do when your computer won’t budge. I pulled out the power cord and unclipped the battery. Off.

But then, when I rebooted, it wouldn’t. My computer had become a doorstop. This was a terrible thing. I had so much to do. But I did not panic. I bothered my friend, Jeff, quite a bit, (Sorry Jeff)—and I did take his advice at one point and I booted up using the original disk to no effect, I think. I restarted in safe mode, backed up all my files onto an external hard drive, chose to restore at certain restore points (for those who don’t know---your computer, if it is a PC, will save the exact configuration of Windows at various dates. You can then pick a former date to restore the machine to.) However, I was still stuck. Going nowehere. I could not restore. I was out of choices and readied myself for a trip to the computer fixers in the morning.

But what seemed to work was this: I went out to dinner. I ate enormous amounts of pasta and drank a few glasses of heavy red wine with my writing group, Moose Purse. I came home, started up the frozen beast again in safe mode, restored the machine to December 1, 2007. And it booted up. I have NO IDEA why. Except, I think the computer was happy to have a break. And I was happy to have eaten.

My gut feeling is that a corrupt Norton, mixed with a very large Windows Update and having not run any anti-spy for a while, this combination did it in. So, I fixed up Norton. I set the Windows update to Manual. I downloaded the simple Yahoo toolbar with anti-spy and killed the spies. And now, I’m humming along.

It was interesting to be without the computer. In fact, I felt freer than I have felt in years. I imagine one could live a life without the computer. I am sure. If it’s just you and a piece of paper, it’s so calm. When the computer is running, even if you are concentrating on your work, there is always that nagging sense that you are connected to the entire world. Blech!

Final note, though. Make sure you have an external hard drive. And back up once a month. You just have to.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cotton Balls

I turned to Adam, my Recognized-by-the-State-of-California-Domestic-Partner, and said to him, “Give me a blog topic, quick.”

Quickly, he responded, “Cotton balls.”

So cotton balls it is. I don’t have much to say about cotton balls. I rarely use them. Once in a while, when my face is a bit greasy but I’m sick of washing it, I’ll take down the glass jar with the metal lid, purchased at Restoration Hardware, from the top of the wooden medicine cabinet connected to the wall, and I’ll pull out a cotton ball. Then, from inside the cabinet, I’ll bring out the bottle of rubbing alcohol, purchased at Rite-Aid for 89 cents, and I’ll unscrew the cap, place the cotton ball on the opening, turn the bottle over, drench the ball fully, and rub down my face. The cotton ball turns black. I love Los Angeles.

Sometimes, I have used cotton balls with rubbing alcohol to clean up other ward off disease. But this is not that kind of blog.

Some people use cotton balls to decorate Christmas trees on their property to appear snow covered. The effect does not work. However, there is a house down the street that has covered their entire lawn with rolled out flat cotton as snow...and then covered the entire cotton lawn with Christmas lights, on the ground. On top of all that are tons of blinking snowmen, an inflatable Christmas Merry-Go-Round and a big plastic Christmas Ferris wheel. Without the cotton, I bet it would look tacky.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Small Stories--Chinese Times

Eventually, the studio-network-satan complex (SNS) may commit, forever, to their feudal position and destroy the will of the WGA by no longer recognizing it as an institution. When you give all the power to a few very rich people, they feel they can do anything.

If this comes to pass, what could the union do? If the SNS goes rogue and ceases to recognize the WGA, then things become very interesting. Will new studios crop up that give writers better deals? Will small production companies form that will produce shows and then negotiate, per show, with the SNS for a pay scale depending on risk/star/time slot/economy?

Will narrative material cease to exist? Will people go back to spending much more time reading because all visual content is only visual? Will this be a boon to alternative film making? Improv? Juggling?

Like after the commercial strike of 2000, things will never be the same after this strike. The businessmen want to maximize profit, naturally. This is a bump in that direction. Writers, get ready. As the Chinese proverb/curse goes, “May you live in interesting times.”

Friday, December 07, 2007

Prejudice in Art

OH my. I am casting a play right now. Word went out on the wire for six roles. Over five hundred people submitted their pictures.

Then, I got out the strainer. It is such a ruthless enterprise, casting. It is racist, weightiest, hairest and who knows what else.

You start looking at the submitted pictures online. Your heart goes out to these people, but a job must be done.
First, you get rid of all the wonderful people who are hair challenged, weight challenged and all people of color. (My fault. I should have stated Caucasian.)
Then, people with real long faces or very pointy chins. Gone.
Then, anyone with inappropriate clothing, overly dyed hair, strange prop glasses or scarves. Delete.
You keep going, until what you have are a lot of regular looking people. No one trying too hard. No one aching for attention. It’s the simple photos, backed by great credits. That’s it. That’s the trick. Them.

One tends to gravitate toward very neutral features. It seems. Especially when building a family. You figure, if you choose toward the middle with everyone, you can probably pull off casting a somewhat believable family.

There are so many extremely beautiful people, too. But for some reason, they don’t seem that useful for a family drama/comedy on a small stage. And then, how would you get enough talented-beautiful people to make a group? Impossible.

I started into the stack yesterday. I felt terrible not choosing people. I felt their souls. I felt the pain of actors posting and being ignored. Within twenty-four hours and five-hundred pictures later, I simply became, “Man, I don’t think anyone wants to look at a face like that for more than five minutes.” Delete.

It’s awful. Maybe people are just awful for the sake of speed. Casting requires swift decisions.

Other odd note: It is the most neutral looking people that seem to have the best credits. So, this process of the bland evolution is happening from the get-go. Those people are being chosen for to have careers. Interesting.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Savages

It’s a slight film, The Savages . This is the best criticism I can give for a movie that deals with abuse and death. Humor is very important during these dark days. The writer/director, Tamara Jenkins, is very funny. The lead actors, Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman, deliver the goods at a perfect pitch.

This is not a life changing movie. But it’s much better than most. Is that a sad comment on what is being offered to us? Perhaps. What I liked the most was that these two adult characters, in the middle of their messed up lives, just lived their lives and didn’t complain too much. They had awful childhoods filled with abandonment and abuse, followed by grown up years with severe intimacy disorders, yet they remained smart and funny and forged ahead. With tenderness. Bravo.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Possible Endgame of the Union Busters

If the studios and networks succeed in breaking the spirit of the union, and I do not believe they will, but if they do, there is something interesting that could happen.

Writers could band together, hire a producer, and have their shows made, cheaply, and then sold to providers of content on entertainment sites on the net. The writers can construct whatever deal they want to with these providers. Every deal can be different. Viva la chaos! If a provider chooses to not give the writers what the writers want, then the writers can look somewhere else for the deal that makes sense.

While the writers are out there putting their original material on the net, the studios and networks can buy already made garbage. There are plenty of people out there who will make a studio movie or television show, with the requisite guns and boobs or the fat husband and unrealistic hot wife. These things can be made by nonunion getups out near the landfills in the Mojave Desert. Let the studios have them.

If the break between the narrative artists at their laptops and the snorting hogs of the studios and networks is to arrive some time soon, then the new world order in entertainment could prove to be very interesting.

Creativity has all the power. The problem with creative artists is they always think the distribution force has the power. It does not, ultimately. This distribution force of Hollywood does not see its writers as viable assets. This is like the owner of Sears not caring about all the people involved in producing their highly popular energy star appliances. Or even more simply, if I sold candy apples, I would certainly take care of my apple trees. So the trees whither. If the trees could walk away, they would. Writers, though often chubby, can walk.

If the writers and the studios split forever, it will pain the writers at first. But soon, the studios will have nothing to hawk but fart shows and mean spirited contests. This is not a good business model. Greed is so blinding.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

News from the Front

Adam, My-Recognized-By-The-State-Of-California-Domestic-Partner, had a run-in with Carson Daly.

He had this to say:

I was picketing at NBC today and the WGA organizers instructed us to be on the lookout for a black Cadillac Escalade with a bike rack. It's Carson Daly's car, and he was returning to work today for the first time since the strike started. They were determined to try and stop him. At about 2:30 they got word that his car had driven past one of the gates but had not turned in. Then they realized that there was no one picketing at Gate 3, which is a card entry only gate. They sent three of us from Gate 1 up there at a sprint, and within 5 minutes of getting there we saw his car. He was being driven by a driver, and he cruised by us, saw us picketing, and kept going. We were psyched, but then a few minutes later he was back. We stood in his path, but his window was cracked and we all distinctly heard him tell his driver, "Keep driving." And he did! He slowed down a little, but he kept coming at us. I finally had to move out of the way, but we all were yelling and pleading with him to reconsider going back to work, and to please honor our picket line, and he was really hurting our cause, etc. But he didn't respond. In the mean time, a security guard had appeared at the gate, the guard opened the gate and Carson's car drove on. A big bummer and highly dramatic.

Which ended up in the news:

By GARY GENTILE, AP Business Writer

Meanwhile, protesting writers converged on NBC's studios in suburban Burbank to rally against restarted production of the late-night show "Last Call With Carson Daly."
Several people said Daly circled the Burbank lot before entering a gate with no pickets.
Adam Waring, who has written for the sitcom "Two and a Half Men," said he and two other writers dashed around a corner to intercept Daly.
"We stood in front of his car, and he told his driver to keep going," Waring said, adding that protesters had to move out of the way.

This strike is working. An agreement will be reached. Carson Daly, whatever.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Power Ballads and Cheesy Ditties at CAFE MUSE



Friday, December 7 at 9PM at CAFÉ MUSE you’ll have the chance to sing your favorite big songs. The cheesier the better. All power ballads welcome!

You are the immediate entertainment at Café Muse, owned and run by our very own Jennifer Ritchkoff and Crystal Jackson.

There’s a stage area, a great sound system, and lots of food, right on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood next door to The Hudson Theatre.

Music starts at 9PM. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to come a little early, around 8 or so, to let me take a look at what I’ll be banging out on the piano. It would be even better if you pdf’d me your music or dropped me a copy. ALL MUSIC MUST HAVE GUITAR CHORDS written over the music. Since this is a guerilla entertainment-fare, open mikey night, there is no time to practice and the chords over the music make this possible. If you have any questions as to what music with guitar chords look like, IT LOOKS LIKE THIS . Chords without the little guitar fingering boxes are totally fine, and your sheet music would LOOK LIKE THIS. If your music does not have chords, I can’t play it. If you have a special song you want to play and sing, by all means, step up!

In any event. Pick something, with chords, and maybe practice a little. It’s going to be a big fun Open Mike Night. All levels of talent and confidence are welcome. You can even bring extra music for those who forgot. Give someone a chance to shine. If you don’t sing at all, come and listen.

For song ideas, why not check out The Entertainment Weekly Ultimate Cheesy Ballad Playlist

So bring me a copy of your tunes sooner or later in the next week, or show up early to Café Muse on Friday, December 7....and support this fabulous, new, happening watering hole. It’s cool.

Location: Café Muse

Margot at the Wedding

You might not be inclined to like it, but there are not many literate movies made in The United States, so get open to it. Fork over your cash and your time and go see Margot at the Wedding. The acting is a huge leap above most of the gun and tit stuff out there. It is completely natural while being exceptionally articulate. Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh are brilliant as sisters, one in the throes of getting married, the other divorced. The jagged line of simultaneous love and hatred in their relationships to each other and to the men in their lives has never appeared more real to me. Soft edges. Harsh realities. Nice house on The Sound.

The plot is wee, which gives the movie plenty of breathing room. There are sinister happenings all around the perimeter. Bad neighbors. A dead rat at the bottom of a pool. A funky nighttime parade, for what? It all adds to the texture.

I liked this movie better than The Squid and The Whale, Noah Baumbach’s other literary film. The adults receive the bulk of the attacks in this current offering. You want to get up and fight, too, with abandon.

You could wait and watch Margot at the Wedding at home, like I did, (Thank you WGA for the screener), and have a perfectly good time, rewinding back to the funniest lines to hear them again, but why not support the business that supports this kind of film making and get ye to a theatre and pay full retail? It’s shot so lovely, all brownish and wan. And they don’t make many movies about complicated people who read. Do not mistake the privilege with preciousness. Advantaged people suffer, too. So richly.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pyramid Servers

Like the slaves building the pyramids, we’re the culture that is building the Servers.

They’ll be amazed that we got down to the task just as we are amazed that people built Teti.

And when all information is transmitted by hair or earlobes, the Servers will be beautiful to us, as an artifact, the spread out monolith of the past. They will also make us sad because no matter how permanent they are, the people who built them will have long ago perished.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Extremists? Okay, fine. I will not be hyperbolic here in a sophomoric comparison that pits religious nuts who like to kill people to standard American lunatics.


Aren’t we, too, quite extreme? The incredible greed of CEO’s?
Those who aspire to severe thinness by dismissing all carbohydrates?
Those who knock down their 4000 square foot house to build a 6000 square foot house?
Those who cannot stop eating and look so uncomfortable in airplane seats?
Those who believe in hell and believe that anyone who does not believe what they believe will go straight to it?

These are very extreme conditions. So easily witnessed in our country.

It is very interesting to me that the primate mind can be imprinted for almost anything. So though it is surprising to me, the forms of extremism that people engage in, it needn’t be. It’s a world of great variety.

I am particularly uneasy with people in other countries, no matter how far they are from my backyard, who want to kill me simply because I am an American, non-religious, what-have-you. But the lack of moderation in our country, by our own citizens, right in my face, terrifies me.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


As we gather up our things for a flight to the great frozen Northwest, I must stop--simply stop and think for what I am grateful. I could make an endless list. I will not.

Everything is everything. No need to divide it up. There is something larger I am up to.

I am thankful that I am here. I haven’t had any life scare or any religious conversion. I am simply thankful that I am here at all, that anyone is here at all. I live very close to a neighborhood in Los Angeles called Miracle Mile.

I know I often carry on like a weary misanthrope. It’s often in jest. Often, it is justified. Cranky complainers are just failed romantics. But for one week, this week, I am going to accept that being here awakens my gratitude. Fill up with that. And pie.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving. The blog will return on Monday.

Personal Recommendation: Mary and John, enjoy every minute of Paris.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Scooter, Libby rate me.

I need a lightweight scooter. Something quiet that runs on geothermal energy or bird songs.

Lately, I’ve been taking the metro around. I’ve actually had four different reasons to go to downtown Los Angeles this week. I’ve taken the metro three times. The metro is the easy part. What is difficult is getting there.

I live 1.8 miles from the Hollywood/Highland station. Red Line. It takes twenty-five minutes to walk there, no matter how many times I tell people it takes twenty minutes.

On the other end, I have been luckier. The locations have been closer to my final stop. Tonight, we had an uproariously tasty book club for a book about sociopaths who live right next door (Mary made short ribs. Thanks, Mary) and I took the Red Line to Union Station and the Gold Line to Highland Park. Upon arrival, I walked for thirty minutes to Mary’s house in Monterey Hills. The walk takes you over the 110 Freeway on an old, narrow bridge, through Hermon, whatever that means, and down Collis Avenue to Mary’s and John’s lovely home on the edge of a coyote infested hill. Also known as Elephant Hill. Do a search in the upper left corner of this blog for Elephant Hill and you can see the picture of it.

It was a great walk. I wanted to walk. I needed to walk. I have been sitting at my computer for days on end.

However, the whole one way trip to Monterey Hills took me one hour and forty-five minutes.

Of course, I was waylaid by an event that was happening at the Kodak Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. Was it for an awards show? A trade show? Victoria Secret? It was hard to tell. Everything has the same Gestapo ring about it at the Kodak. I had to enter the maze mall that horseshoe engulfs the Kodak because I could not cross the fifteen feet of sidewalk that was being saved for the event. Upon entering the mall in order to get to the train entrance, it was almost impossible to get through all sorts of security guards. A wretched woman would not let me cross a fifteen feet section of hall at the top of the stairs. I asked her how I could get to the subway. She responded, “We don’t have a subway.”

I wanted to kill her. “Okay, the Metro.”

She went on about how she didn’t know and how she had to check with someone and there is another bridge I could cross over to get there. She went to check with another guard. Then, a citizen told me what to do (take the bridge) and I did it. It was like one of those dreams where you can’t get where you are going.

Next time, I’ll take a different route.

But really, it would not have been so frustrating if I had zipped up there more quickly and had more time to deal with these keepers-of-the-exclusive event. I need a scooter. A quiet, lightweight, solar scooter.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Praying for Rain

The governor of Georgia has incited a prayer vigil for rain.

The common denominator of most contempt is a hatred of stupidity. But most people disagree upon what actually is stupid.

Prayer vigils for rain, much like rain dancing, rattling rain rattles and the sacrificing of virgins in volcanoes for precipitation, is pretty much a moronic activity.

The smartest thing someone said about this praying for rain is, "It unifies us." I can see that. Maybe if everyone bows their heads together in utmost shame for their disregard for the earth, they might send brain waves toward each other that penetrate the moronia and then stimulates the practical spheres of gray matter...into logical problem solving. For this, I am optimistic.

And maybe people are so anxious and operate so completely from fear and greed that they need prayer to slow their minds down, to find the section that is rational, connected to the planet. Okay, fine, fine.

But baby dolls, ain't this all like closing the door long after the horse has already escaped from the barn?

I love Georgia. I've spent a lot of face time there with motherly waitresses and friendly linemen in Waffle Houses from Valdosta to Atlanta. I love the slowness and the open hospitality. Savannah is beautiful.

But, man, what kind of people, long after Voltaire's enlightenment, what kind of people swam to these shores?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Standing Ovation: The Fat of the Land

Dan Alemshah was nominated for an LA Ovation Award, the biggest awards West of The Hudson River for Theatre, for best featured actor, Claudia Vestibule, in my play THE FAT OF THE LAND. We went. I had a feeling he would win in a tie. And he did. It was such a big fun deal!

The awards took place at The Orpheum in downtown LA on Broadway. An enormous theatre, filled with enormous energy---all the theatre people of Los Angeles. From The Mark Taper Forum to The Geffen to the Rubicon to our little production at The New Theatre. It was hosted by Neil Patrick Harris with great lightness and jaunty jibes about the Writers’ Guild strike. Annette Benning gave a speech, accepting the Special Career Achievment Award. Great voice and beautiful, as always. Funky dancers from The Hysterica Dance Company performed throughout as deliverers of the statues and removers of the banners, one banner for each category. It was easy to tell how much longer the show was going to be by how many banners were left.

When Dan’s category came up and he was announced as the winner, we all just kind of spontaneously cried and whooped. Dan gave a beautiful speech, starting immediately with, “Everything starts with the words and if it wasn’t for Don Cummings’ great play...” Then Dan continued to thank Mary McBride for producing and acting. And of course the other actors, his parents, his partner. He was poised and lovely.

It’s fun when you get nominated. It’s really fun when your actor wins. Completely enjoyable evening. I highly recommend these kind of experiences.

I would also like to thank Adam Waring, my Recognized-by-the-State-of-California-Domestic-Partner, for doing all the administrative work and for the wrangling of the Ovation crowd during the run of the show. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you West Coast Ensemble for the original workshop and for the great cast with Ross Kramer directing and thank you Billy Hopkins for the reading at E.S.T. in New York with that amazing cast and thank you Kelly Ford for directing the world premiere and the great, great, amazing cast at The New Theatre. And the unbelievable Crystal Jackson for holding it all together.

Click here and scroll down to see Dan’s gorgeous tranny face! The Fat of the Land on MySpace


Monday, November 12, 2007

Devils in the Family

Most of my childhood after school was spent reading, arranging the decorations in my aquarium and playing the guitar. My teacher was Mrs. Wermus, a fabulous woman who smoked Moore cigarettes, during lessons too. Her husband, Harry Wermus, was an amazing man, extremely generous and kind. My brother and I used to do some yard work for him when we were teenagers and he overpaid us, more than double what would be considered the correct fee. When I had an interview for Cornell University, senior year of high school, Harry drove me up and back (eight hours total) in one day. He was full of great stories. He was worldly. He was warm. He died over ten years ago. I often think about him.

Harry had a first cousin who was like a brother to him. His name is Sydney Lumet. Harry told me how their relationship dissolved once Sydney became successful. This was sad for Harry and I could understand. I once had a very close friend, let’s call her Alanna Duggins, whose star ascended while mine stalled out and I felt abandoned and sad. But that was nothing compared to what Harry went through when his first cousin and closest relative gave Harry and everyone else in the Wermus family the heave-ho.

Of course, there are two sides to every story and one day, I’d love to find out what Sydney Lumet has to say about all of this. But it would be hard to listen objectively, since Sydney looks so much like Harry that all I would do is think about Harry.

Tonight, we went to see his film Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.

It is so grim. It is so good. A crime gone completely wrong. A family of such enormous trouble. It’s Greek tragedy, the basic premise being, “Crime doesn’t pay,” with the family part hard driving the whole thing. The genius is in the telling. The long slow shots. The acting, which is meted out sublimely by EVERYONE. The big cars that make the whole thing seem a bit 1973. The fabulous class conscious design. The smart-as-hell script. One hates to reveal anything about this movie at all. Just go check it out. But when you’re done, go home and watch something light and fluffy. You’ll need it.

One of the greatest movies ever made, of course, is Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon. It’s one of the few movies that I’ll watch once a year. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead has a similar thrust. It's not quite as good, but it’s better than most stuff that is being made these days.

Sydney Lumet...I wish you were still hanging out with Harry when I was a kid so I could have met you. But maybe you were just too busy.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Hollywood Never Changes

It was the screenwriter William Goldman who described the single most important fact about the movie industry as "nobody knows anything," with the corollary that its executives "must get results -- now -- or they're gone." ---Joseph Schuman, The Wall Street Journal Online

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tonight: One Night Only


Reading From his Memoir, OPEN TRENCH--the inspiration for the Blog--one night only! Selections include “Whatever Happened to Cousin Mickey?” and “Mexicrap
Wednesday, NOVEMBER 7 @ 7:30 @ A Different Light Bookstore
8853 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood, CA

A Different Light Bookstore

Event Location

The Third Promising Reading Will Take Place
at A Different Light Bookstore

The Promising Series is the only reading series in Los Angeles that exclusively features Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender writers. A goal for the series is to celebrate established writers and introduce the next generation of writers that will explore the GLBT experience. The next reading will be held on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 at 7:30pm.

“The Promising Series has attracted a standing room only crowd,” said series coordinator Noël Alumit. “And the people coming aren’t necessarily gay or lesbian. They come because the work presented is awesome.”

The November 7th reading will feature:

Terry Wolverton is author of six books: Embers, a novel-in-poems; Insurgent Muse: life and art at the Woman's Building, a memoir, Bailey's Beads, a novel; and three collections of poetry: Black Slip, Mystery Bruise and Shadow and Praise. A new novel, The Labrys Reunion, will be published in 2008. She has also edited fourteen literary anthologies, including Mischief, Caprice, and Other Poetic Strategies. She is the founder of Writers At Work, a creative writing center in Los Angeles, where she teaches fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry.

Don Cummings is a playwright, essayist and blogger. His critically acclaimed plays have been produced in such venues as Soho Rep, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Turnip Theatre Festival, Lake Ontario Playhouse, on the east coast; HBO Workspace, Theater/Theatre, West Coast Ensemble, The New Theatre, The Moving Arts Theatre, The Tamarind Theatre, The Powerhouse Theatre on the west coast. Titles include The Fat of the Land, American Air, What Do Men Live By?, Stark, Raving, Mad, The Winner and A Good Smoke.

Carlos Cabrera was born and raised in Los Angeles. He holds a BA in English from UCLA and will start an MFA program in poetry at Cornell University in 2008. His first book of poems, The Peacock's Song: A Poem in Seventeen Syllables, will be published in early 2008. He lives in West Los Angeles with Dorian, his suspiciously intelligent three-year-old cat.

Collins Carter has two selves—a former and a current. The former self was a stand-up comedienne for ten years, an actress and a morning show host for an alternative radio station. The current self chooses to express herself solely through her pen and pad. She is working on a collection of short stories and preparing her novel, Eating the Apple, for publication. Her body resides in Los Angeles, but her mind lives anywhere it desires.

Noël Alumit wrote the novels Letters to Montgomery Clift and Talking to the Moon. He wrote and performed the solos shows The Rice Room: Scenes from a Bar and Master of the (Miss) Universe.

The Promising Series will take place on Wednesday, November 7 at 7:30pm. A Different Light Bookstore, 8853 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069, (310) 854-6601.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Strikers, We Love Ye

Like something out of an Odets play, Adam, my Recognized-by-the-State-of-California-Domestic-Partner, went off this morning just before 9 to march in front of CBS on Beverly Boulevard near The Grove. He wore a fire engine red WGA T-shirt and a floppy hat.

It was so quiet in the house, it felt momentous. I read a Newsweek in bed.

When he returned, he was exhausted and had the look of someone who had been carrying a sign on a pike for four hours. The worst part? The entrance that he was walking across was sloped, so the whole time he walked sideways across a small hill. You know how that can do you in.

I bet this striking business lands a lot of writers at the acupuncture office.

But it must be done. The producers are pig-swine.

How many homes, boats, planes and islands must one own before one can feel good about oneself? It’s beyond ludicrous. You know, I heard something about capitalism: People are motivated by greed.

Here’s a nice big push against that. The fight is worth it.

If I were a member of the WGA, I’d do the afternoon shift.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Catalogue Choice

In the LA Times today was a great article. Join up! Save the world.
This site is not against commerce. They’re just against needless catalogues. In fact, they offer catalogues on their site for you to look at. Do yourself a favor. Let your catalogues collect for the next few months in a pile...then, join this site and click off the catalogues you no longer want. Just do it. Make a note in your calendar for early January. Start piling up your catalogues. Join the site and Mark them goodbye! (You’ll need certain information from your catalogues to do this.) Why lose all these trees?

Catalog Choice

From their Site:

Over eight million tons of trees are consumed each year in the production of paper catalogs.

Nearly half of the planet’s original forest cover is gone today. Forests have effectively disappeared in 25 countries, and another 29 have lost more than 90% of their forest cover.

Deforestation contributes between 20% and 25% of all carbon pollution, causing global climate change.

More than one billion people living in extreme poverty around the world depend on forests for their livelihoods.

There are other significant environmental impacts from the catalog cycle. The production and disposal of direct mail alone consumes more energy than three million cars.

The manufacturing, distribution, collection and disposal of catalogs generates global warming gases as well as air and water pollution. Reducing the number of unwanted catalogs that are mailed will help the environment.

Catalog Choice

Friday, November 02, 2007

Piss Play Lives

Sometimes, you get a cast for your play that is so perfect, you just have to be grateful.
My play is a very harsh farce. It is politically incorrect. It has severe scatological elements. It is brutal in every way. I landed three very talented actors who are not afraid of the whole thing. They threw themselves into this and they are brilliant.

I am a very lucky person. Do come see the play. It runs until November 18.

Now Playing and More

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Robert Goulet is Dead

Spring Valley, New York. Early 1970’s. The Barretts lived next door. Mrs. Barrett was an alcoholic and spent much time building a rock garden in her back yard. It was not difficult to find the necessary rocks since we were in Rockland County. She was a tall, ivory girl woman who looked like she would fit perfectly on a horse. I had a boy crush on her.

Her husband was a manager of a country club. He was not a loyal husband which I am sure must have added to Mrs. Baretts’ alcohol intake. Mr. Barrett was also very good friends with Robert Goulet. True. I had no idea who Robert Goulet was. Camelot was long over and as a child, whenever his name was mentioned, I could only think of goulash.

Those years in Spring Valley were lived in a high ranch. These are pretty hideous houses. You enter at a level of the house that was called “The Landing”—and you had to go either up or down from there to the upstairs of the High Ranch, where most of the main rooms and bedrooms were, or downstairs to the finished lower floor. Through the sliding doors of the dining room of the main, top floor was a deck. The deck was quite high and at the same level of the other high decks across the backyards of the other houses.

One day, Ruth Barrett told us that her father was bringing home Robert Goulet for dinner. And he did come. I still had no idea who this goulash was but I felt like I had to care because he was famous. From the Baretts’ high deck in the yard, there he stood and I ran into the backyard to see him with my brother and sister and he waved at us from up high. My mother came out, too. We all stood there looking at Robert Goulet.

Mr. and Mrs. Barrett eventually divorced. Mrs. Barrett went to AA and got sober. I have no idea what happened to Mr. Barrett, though I never really liked him. He was macho and I was sort of in love with his wife.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Carbon Fund

It makes me sick to know that every flight I take makes the world a hotter place.

Today, while reading my Frommer’s for a future trip to the Yucatan, I read about

How it works is, whenever you fly you pay for your carbon. Somewhere else, that carbon is offset by investments into renewables, energy efficiency and forestation.

It’s not exactly Cap and Trade. But at least it’s a move in the right direction and gets people to realize that one must pay money to take care of the planet. Eventually, we can get to a full system of Cap and Trade, which will stabilize things. Once stabilized, we can Cap, Trade and Reduce. Eventually, it can all be done electronically through taxation.

For my flying concerns, one round trip flight of 6,000 miles only costs $6.25 in offset costs.

At the end of the year, I can add up all my flights and send a donation to the carbon fund. No, it won’t change the world and hardly anyone will do it. But it’s the message and the small actions. Action brings more action.

Offset today:

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Cherubs from Utah, The Tranny Turnpike

Our very good friends are opening a café on Santa Monica Boulevard right across the street from a Honda dealership.

While waiting for their final board of health approval so they can open, they began a weekly Saturday night with friends, kind of hangout-hootenanny with wine. This weekend was the first one.

By chance, the son of a famous Mormon singer who lives in Utah (think Paper Roses and Porcelain dolls) and the nephew of the guy with the purple socks, is understudying for a play next door. He has befriended the ladies who run the café. With his guitar. His twenty-four year old guileless goodness. With his chestnut brown hair. And most importantly, with his singing voice. He can hit a high C#, full. His intonation is perfect. He has the genes. One could even say they’re a little bit country, a little bit Rock n’ Roll.

But truly, his voice is outstanding and he gave us a mini-concert in the cafe. Big event as it turns out. The four women went haywire. They fell in love. They wanted to take him home and make sure that he would always be fed. Among other things. The three men were in awe.

Talk naturally led to when he was going to do a show in the café, that we would all help produce it, make sure the place was packed. Even though he is the child of fortune, he does appear to need a little boost. Often, famous kids eschew help and connections from their well established parents because they want to be able to do it on their own. And here we were a bunch of boozed up middle-age theatre types at the ready to produce a showcase for him.

After he left, there was much discussion about how to handle and help this kid, who, upon consideration, probably doesn’t need any help at all and was just humoring us. Everyone had flurries of ideas, while snarfing down grilled cheese sandwiches and goblets of wine. One of the women got very upset because she felt her territory was being invaded and that people weren’t listening to her. She just “Didn’t want him to be overproduced!” She collected dishes and started washing and banging them around in a frenzy of petulance and hurt. Hilarious.

It all died down by three in the morning, standing on Santa Monica Boulevard. A transsexual prostitute ran into us, which is nothing unusual for that stretch of road. (S)he was on X, with her beard stubble, her bleached out long hair and her whore outfit. (S)he was messy and inarticulate, giving us half phrases about how abusive and wigged out others can be toward her(im) and how (s)he doesn’t really know exactly what (s)he is, still trying to figure it out. We were imploring her, “Just love yourself, man. Be yourself. It’s cool. Be it all. That’s fine. What else do you want to do with your life?”

When asked, (s)he said she was from SLC. Salt Lake City. We tried to help.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ann Coulter is a Horse Faced Nightmare

ADL Condemns Ann Coulter's Comment That Jews Need 'To Be Perfected'

New York, NY, October 12, 2007 ... The Anti-Defamation League strongly condemns Ann Coulter for her anti-Semitic comment that Christians "want Jews to be perfected" in an interview with Donny Deutsch on CNBC's "The Big Idea." During her October 8 appearance, Coulter suggested that Jews should convert, adding that, "we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say. … That's what Christianity is."
Ann Coulter may be a political pundit but she clearly knows very little about religious theology and interfaith issues. Coulter's remarks are outrageous, offensive and a throwback to the centuries-old teaching of contempt for Jews and Judaism. The notion that Jews are religiously inferior or imperfect because they do not accept Christian beliefs was the basis for 2,000 years of church-based anti-Semitism. While she is entitled to her beliefs, using mainstream media to espouse the idea that Judaism needs to be replaced with Christianity and that each individual Jew is somehow deficient and needs to be "perfected," is rank Christian supersessionism and has been rejected by the Catholic Church and the vast majority of mainstream Christian denominations.
Clearly, Ann Coulter needs a wake-up call about the power of words to injure others and fuel hatred. She needs an education, too, about the roots of anti-Semitism and the shared values of Judaism and Christianity. Christians and Jews have worked tirelessly for more than 40 years to overcome the past and to promote a more tolerant and pluralistic vision for the future and especially for America.
Donny Deutsch is to be commended for his immediate and forceful denunciation of Coulter's statements, for calling her remarks personally offensive, and for rightly characterizing her suggestion that Jews are inferior to Christians as anti-Semitism.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

October 25, 1979

Today was good. I went to school late with Sally’s car, I picked up my paycheck, first. After school I wisked down to the bank, cashed my check, went back to school for show choir, went to the hospital to visit Dad, He’s bad, I feel awful. I came home did homework, went back to the hospital, then I went to this guy Freddie’s House, Mrs. Wermuses’ cousin. We’re starting a band. Afterwards I went to Donna’s across the street, and talked to her, smoked a Doobie, It was a good night.

The paycheck was from Reinauer’s truckstop. Of course I was in show choir. My father had a bad neck thing and he was laid out in a terrible traction apparatus. (Years later, he had to get a neck fusion operation. Poor guy. But he’s fine. Plays lots of golf.) Mrs. Wermus was my guitar teacher for about eight years. She was a total Joan Baez type, smoking Moore cigarettes—during lessons—and had complete faith in my music ability. She was always trying to get me to go into to Manhattan to play at The Bitter End. All I could think was, “What am I going to play? The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down?” Freddie was tall and hairy, a total musician. Mrs. Wermus, aw hell, her name was Muriel, Muriel tried to get Freddie and I to play together. We were not a good match. I was never meant to be in a band and I never was. Donna was my girlfriend’s sister who lived in a rental apartment across the street that her grandmother owned. It was a hideous fourplex, blue-ish-gray, from the early twentieth century, shaped like the Hotel from Monopoly. Donna had two kids and a law student husband who was going to Fordham. Donna was beautiful and sarcastic with a serious rack of lamb. She was a major pothead. You could go over there at anytime and get high. And we did.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sometimes, You Just Can't Breathe--And That's All Right

I’m oddly non-alarmist. In fact, as the Sociopath book I’m reading tells me, I might be one of the 4% of society who depends on extra thrills.

So when there are hurricanes, wildfires, tsunamis, I actually grow joyful and calm. Yeah, I guess I’m heartless.

At a distance, however, I realize my happiness is justified because it means the earth is doing what it does with no regard for the hubris of humanity. In essence, nature is supreme and that raises my dopamine. Maybe I’m not a sociopath, then, but just a guy who likes my mother earth in full force.

I will say this, though, I cannot breathe well. My chest is tight. I’m a bit light headed. The air is awful. Sometimes it smells like a campfire. Sometimes it smells like eucalyptus. A few minutes ago, all I could smell were Cuban cigars. I don’t know why.

This yellow spume that we are living in is not enjoyable. People have survived much worse. The weather is supposed to change by Thursday. We all look forward to it.

Most of the footage you see of people in Malibu is pretty cool. They’re not a people in denial. They know this happens and they are prepared. They take off with their kids and dogs and photo albums and laptops and wait it out. But when you see a guy on TV, like I did today, self-righteously moaning, “Where are the firemen? Where are they? I haven’t seen one all day,” you just have to think, “Dude, you knew the risk when you moved here. Buy in town if you want a less perilous existence.”

If it all burns, it all burns.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Allergic Gay Men are Green

Let’s face it. Who’s greener than a gay man with allergies?

Our carbon footprint, over time, is almost indiscernible, since we do not breed.

We are also the sensors for air quality, sneezing and curling into exhaustion, like pill bugs, as soon as the dry pollution whittles away at our nasal passages.

Worship us for keeping down the population.
Use us as weather stations.
We are gay. We are green.
We support the cause.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Malibu Fire

It is highly usual for the marine layer to hover over Hollywood at night. A normal occurrence, the ocean about twelve miles away, its moisture rolls in and gives the night a fresh blanket of coolness.

Tonight, that light fog is filled with smoke. It’s cold and damp as usual, but loaded with particulate matter. It’s oddly freakish, an end of the world feeling.

The moon is in a haze of blue. The world smells like a campfire.

Friday, October 19, 2007




Reading From his Memoir, OPEN TRENCH--the inspiration for the Blog--one night only! Selections include “Whatever Happened to Cousin Mickey?” and “Mexicrap
Wednesday, NOVEMBER 7 @ 7:30 @ A Different Light Bookstore
8853 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood, CA

A Different Light Bookstore

Event Location

* See below for more information



--A Short play (along with three even shorter plays)

The Arts Council must pick one lucky recipient to win the big funding prize!
Who will it be? This farce of urinary proportions sends up the ridiculous nature of arts funding and who actually gets the cash. Run by two self-involved nuts that put three applicants through the paces for the booty, only one hopeful has the courage to steel his nerve and drop trou and give what is greatly desired: A tasty stream of volatile, minority piss. This nasty farce, with its heart in its kidneys, is sure to tickle even the most politically correct.

November 1- November 18
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays @ 8, Sundays @ 3 @ West Coast Ensemble
2106 Hyperion Avenue, Silverlake, CA

West Coast Ensemble

Location of Event

*The Third Promising Reading Will Take Place
at A Different Light Bookstore

The Promising Series is the only reading series in Los Angeles that exclusively features Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender writers. A goal for the series is to celebrate established writers and introduce the next generation of writers that will explore the GLBT experience. The next reading will be held on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 at 7:30pm.

“The Promising Series has attracted a standing room only crowd,” said series coordinator Noël Alumit. “And the people coming aren’t necessarily gay or lesbian. They come because the work presented is awesome.”

The November 7th reading will feature:

Terry Wolverton is author of six books: Embers, a novel-in-poems; Insurgent Muse: life and art at the Woman's Building, a memoir, Bailey's Beads, a novel; and three collections of poetry: Black Slip, Mystery Bruise and Shadow and Praise. A new novel, The Labrys Reunion, will be published in 2008. She has also edited fourteen literary anthologies, including Mischief, Caprice, and Other Poetic Strategies. She is the founder of Writers At Work, a creative writing center in Los Angeles, where she teaches fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry.

Don Cummings is a playwright, essayist and blogger. His critically acclaimed plays have been produced in such venues as Soho Rep, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Turnip Theatre Festival, Lake Ontario Playhouse, on the east coast; HBO Workspace, Theater/Theatre, West Coast Ensemble, The New Theatre, The Moving Arts Theatre, The Tamarind Theatre, The Powerhouse Theatre on the west coast. Titles include The Fat of the Land, American Air, What Do Men Live By?, Stark, Raving, Mad, The Winner and A Good Smoke.

Carlos Cabrera was born and raised in Los Angeles. He holds a BA in English from UCLA and will start an MFA program in poetry at Cornell University in 2008. His first book of poems, The Peacock's Song: A Poem in Seventeen Syllables, will be published in early 2008. He lives in West Los Angeles with Dorian, his suspiciously intelligent three-year-old cat.

Collins Carter has two selves—a former and a current. The former self was a stand-up comedienne for ten years, an actress and a morning show host for an alternative radio station. The current self chooses to express herself solely through her pen and pad. She is working on a collection of short stories and preparing her novel, Eating the Apple, for publication. Her body resides in Los Angeles, but her mind lives anywhere it desires.

Noël Alumit wrote the novels Letters to Montgomery Clift and Talking to the Moon. He wrote and performed the solos shows The Rice Room: Scenes from a Bar and Master of the (Miss) Universe.

The Promising Series will take place on Wednesday, November 7 at 7:30pm. A Different Light Bookstore, 8853 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069, (310) 854-6601.

October 19, 1979

Today was real good. I had 2 tests, After school I went to two banks, dropped money off for H. at Gynecare for a payment due. I took backroads to work, I got quite lost. I finally got there. I worked 4-12. It was good. I cooked with Phil. After work me, Nicki, Phil, Peggy and Robin went to Captain Vincents. They didn’t serve me, but it was fun anyway. Then we went to Tiffany’s. It’s 3:00 and I’m exhausted. Goodnight.

The H is a friend of mine who had an abortion. Her real name is in the journal. Tweren’t my child. I was just helping out. I worked at a truck stop on route 17 in Mahwah, NJ as a short order cook. Phil was gay. Nicki was this older woman who was putting herself through college. She had a face like Cher in Silkwood. I actually dated her for a few minutes. We went to a Linda Ronstadt concert at RCC (Rockland Community College). I wore a cowboy hat and was proud walking around with this older, hot woman for all my high school friends to see. Linda Ronstadt never showed up. The concert was canceled. Peggy was a large, older woman with bright, dyed red hair. She worked the cash register. Robin was a tragic figure, a bright blond alcoholic woman in her twenties who gave up on life quite young and made a career of being a truck stop waitress. Her best friend was a truck stop lifer, a much older woman, Terry, whom she emulated. Captain Vincent’s was the seafaring-themed bar at the Holiday Inn down the road. Tiffany’s was and still is a fabulous Jersey diner. Working at the truck stop was one of the best things I did growing up. I was a short order cook for years, wore white T-shirts, made BLT’s, cheeseburgers, microwaved meat loaf and poured canned brown gravy over it, fried bacon, fried eggs, threw frozen battered chicken in the deep fryer, opened lots of cans, cut a lot of cabbage for our signature homemade cold slaw and smoked cartons of Marlboro cigarettes.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ravishing? No, Striking.

It could be a wonderful, rich, shared Hollywood experience for the people who want it: writing, producers working with writers, directors working with producers and writers, actors working with directors, all of it catered by someone who understands that garlic really upsets my stomach.

But it’s never easy at the grabby table. Because it’s all about the pie. For some reason, people want to hog down the whole thing, or hide the whole thing for later, or pretend there isn’t much of a pie so it can’t be shared. It’s disgusting.

I have worked for many years as an accountant in small, cable television production offices. The number one goal of the producers has always been to keep as much money for themselves as possible. Segment producers do not get writing credit, though they do almost nothing but research and writing. They often make $1200 per week. No chance of residuals. The producers would never think of giving them anything more. If a show gets a fee of $600,000 from a studio to produce one special episode, a pair of producers do their best to keep $300,000 for themselves, and then use the other half for the budget. When someone asks for a larger salary than $1200 (which is usually for at least a sixty hour work week) the producer responds, naturally, “There just isn’t that much money in the budget.” The segment producer (writer actually) glumly, yet feverishly works for $20 per hour in a very stressful, deadline oriented office. The two producers feel justified pocketing the $300,000 because they are in a high risk business and they need to protect themselves from ruin.

Therein lays the basis of producers’ greed: FEAR. They stockpile cash. They aren’t in this business to make glorious art. They are in this business (like brokers are in the securities trade) to amass cash for a safer, more opulent future.

There is so much money coming at producers. They skim and whine. I hope this WGA strike is grueling and bloody. This Halloween, I’m pulling up my ringside seat and I’m ready to hear all the “Boos”.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

May I Have Your Attention Please?

Due to Increased Security Measures, all passengers will be shot to death in the waiting area.

It’s getting ghastly out there. We often take flight 181 at 5PM from JFK back to LAX. It’s a good time to leave and you get to your house by 9PM. Plenty of time to clean up the piss from all your pets, check the mail, email, put things away, you name it, before hitting the hay.

But that’s just it. Here we are, having our normal lives, flying around, paying the bills, working when there’s work, hoping and writing about a better future and there’s just this infuriating stasis. And what about the kids? The kids are not rising up! Sure, it’s great that the laundry is going and my Energystar appliances are reducing my carbon footprint...I guess...but with Bush & Cheney getting ready to drop bombs on Iran now, we need to do something. And frankly, I’m just too busy with my life to do anything about it or to even know what to do about it. When I was just a wee boy, the Vietnam demonstrators were out in full force. I expect it again. It’s not happening.

We spent some time with my Recognized-by-the-State-of-California-Domestic-Partner Adam’s niece who is in college in Vermont at the very funky and cool Marlboro College, where you get to design your own course of study. These kids seem like a lovely gaggle of patchouli pacifists. Which is wonderful! Maybe that’s the answer to the whole problem. Of course, the side of me that wants closure to this whole war thinks, “One Nuke per Middle Eastern Nation.” Reactionary? Surely. I’m impatient. Obviously, I’m no war policy expert and killing millions of innocents is not the answer. I watched the graduate students of The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts walking seriously into their dorms from my sophomore window. I never even talked to them. They seemed so sad and determined. I wonder what they’re doing now? Are they muscling for change? What the hell is going on? Are their kids in college? What are they going to do?

It’s frustrating to live with this endless badness. I fear for every one peaceful clove smoker at Marlboro College, there are three righteous bomb throwers at Virginia Tech.

Limited resources, over population, greed, and maniacs running the show—and all I care about or even know what to care about is to make sure I get an aisle seat on the flying aluminum tube that is burning its way back to my house. Like the kids, I don’t really know if I have any power at all. It’s so big. Can I have another cup of water without ice?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Poodle Tray

We have flown to Queens to relax...but more importantly, to go to the Berkshires and Vermont to see the Autumn leaves. This is the 1950's Swedish Poodle tray we purchased in an antique store in Cold Spring, NÝ during our last visit.

Religion, If We Must

Lately, I feel like we might as well have Religion.

People, for the most part, have a hard time grasping algebra, never mind the complex ideas of existential existence, evolution, secular humanism, or how to happily make a delicious fish taco for no other reason than the joy it gives the maker.

When brilliant authors, like Richard Dawkins, write their screeds against religion, they take a completely logical stance. But life is not completely logical. And again, people have a hard time happily making tacos. Plus, since we, like Dawkins, are able to logically assess the ignorance of the masses, doesn’t it then become logical that ignorance needs its solace?

I accept religion as the great soul softener if it aids in mollifying hard souls who will then reach out and take care of the old and the infirm. It makes sense that older people become more religious and inculcate others because it serves them well. Kinder people won’t just toss grandma on an iceberg flotilla. Old people have a lot at stake with Religion. Let them promulgate and benefit.

Religion is not for me. But then, I live in big American cities and I’m not poor and I can go to LAX and fly around and I have never known a day of hunger or serious disease. I don’t need some caring father figure in the sky to take care of me. But lots of people do.

I believe the destruction of Religion will only come when there are far fewer people on earth, when everything is truly mechanized, when human beings only follow their bliss and this is all accepted as a fine way to live. Until then...water rationing, And God.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Junior High Gym Locker

When I finally got to go to Junior High School, I was so excited. An actual SCHEDULE. I love schedules. It makes you feel like you are part of something important. It was very exciting. It was also a time for smoking all kinds of things, drinking what was available and figuring out, at least somewhat, what sex was all about. Exciting times, being twelve, and getting on that bus to Junior High.

What I did not anticipate, however, was that I was going to have to share a gym locker. I understood that I had to take gym and the army-navy store sold the uniforms. Fine. What I did not know was that my somewhat filthy outfit was going to be hanging right next to someone else’s filthy outfit. Right there, in the locker room, in the basement of the school, stinking to high heaven.

Because I was about three feet tall, weighed six pounds, threw like a mouse girl and loathed playing with balls outdoors, I was not the most desirable companion in gym class. This, of course, landed me being picked second to last for all teams. The guy who was picked dead last? Gerry Schwartz, the very fat kid. The recoiling kind of fat.

When it came time to choose a locker mate, well, Gerry and I became a natural pair. Neither one of us dared to ask someone else to be our locker mate, nor did anyone ask either one of us. Our gym clothes moved in with each other that first week of school.

At first, it really wasn’t a problem. I was barely in puberty but had already sworn to a life of deodorant. I was sitting on the bench one day, in fifth grade, during a basketball game. I guess I had exerted myself during practice and I smelled like an orangutan. I told my father (and very soon after told him I was never playing basketball again) and we got some Tussey.

So, in Seventh Grade, my first week of Junior High, I had a clean gym outfit (blue shorts and white T) and I didn’t really push too hard, didn’t sweat much, and was wearing my anti-smell chemicals.

Gerry was another story. He clearly had not discovered the personally sweetening properties of flecked aluminum in white stick or spray. And let’s all just admit it—Fat people sweat a lot. After jogging around the field, doing some jumping jacks, squat-thrusts, and other things that were actually just fine with me, I’d hang in the field during whatever game we were playing and just stay out of the way. I was dry as a bone upon completion. Gerry, after the calisthenics, tried to play a little in the game. And Gerry sweated like a Sooey-Pig.

Back in the locker room, we were both embarrassed about our bodies. I still looked like I was nine years old. And Gerry was just rotund, with huge, sagging breasts. We’d both undress very slowly and wait for the others to clear out before we put our regular clothes back on. Neither one of us ever showered, though Gerry really could have used many. I’d hang my shorts and T-shirt on one hook and Gerry would hang his dripping, musky, fetid garments on the other.

The next time we would come back to gym class (about every two days), there his stuff would be...dry now...but crusty and sweet.

Over time, I just accepted it. In fact, I played a trick on myself, convincing myself that, “Yeah, it’s just a smell. It’s pretty nice actually. It IS sort of sweet. And I like skunks.” We were supposed to bring our gym clothes home at the end of each week to get them washed. I followed rules and always brought mine home. Gerry, he always watied at least two weeks, sometimes three. It was awful.

For a while, I really liked Gerry. He had a very warm smile. He had nice, straight hair. He probably would have been very cute, now that I think about it, had he lost eighty pounds. He took being made fun of in stride. He smiled, laughed it off.
I figured I was with this smelly fat kid, I might as well like him. And he did have his good smile and hair and a sort of even, good natured temperament. I even thought that it would be kind of cool if we became really good friends.

But it didn’t take long for me to realize he was completely emotionally hiding inside his blubber and I saw that his shame and pain over his size was something he had been dealing with his whole life and so he had developed a way of not really being honest about anything and thus, really couldn’t form friendships. And the dishonesty became troubling to me. If I asked him to bring his stinking gym clothes home to wash them, he’d say, “Sure,” and then he wouldn’t. But I always forgave him in the way you forgive people with great infirmities. I thought—if he’s this fat, there must be other things that are really wrong with his family. Maybe they’re poor and don’t have detergent.

Within a few months, I became friends with the hardened, smoking, cool crowd of the seventh grade. My sister was friends with all their older siblings in the ninth grade, so we younger hippies formed a pack in response. Gerry remained a smiling fat kid, standing at the locker, putting on his filthy clothes week after week. I internally distanced myself from the whole experience, figured out that one day I would not have to take gym any longer, and that this whole thing would pass. After figuring out things like this, I'd rush out to "the shed" to smoke a Parliament.

Eventually, I didn’t leave my gym clothes in the locker with Gerry’s gym clothes. I couldn’t take it. I kept mine in my regular locker in the hall along with my books and lunch and just brought them with me to gym class. When I changed, I didn’t even put my regular clothes in Gerry’s locker. I thought of it as only Gerry's locker since he really chased me out with his stench.

During gym, I'd leave my regular clothes in another empty locker. We didn’t really have to share lockers. What we were sharing was locks, provided by the school. It was back in the day before you even thought about buying your own lock. So, I’d take the chance and leave my clothes unlocked. It was fine.

I wish I could have been friends with Gerry. I really did try to look for things, but he was too hidden and sad and I needed to be free and adventurous. As the year wore on and I would change at the gym locker that I was using, that would never be locked, Gerry would give me a funny look which said, “You abandoned me, just like every other kid who has ever known me has abandoned me, but I'm going to remain smiley and nice and that's how I'm going to survive. You look like you're heading for trouble with that pack of Parliaments. We used to share lockers, but you dumped me, but I’m glad you didn’t try to steal the lock away from me because I like having my own locker and my own lock. I don't mind the smell at all. I don’t get you either and we were never going to be friends anyway.”

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

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Monday, October 08, 2007


While watching the movie, Michael Clayton, I was absorbed, mostly. Though being a writer of a story or two, I was mentally poking at it with a stick, seeing what it was made of for most of the viewing.

There is a large problem. The climax is shown first and then they backtrack and show you how they get to that spot. You’ve seen this device before and it can work if there are lots of surprises along the way. Trouble is, as soon as they start back to square one, you kind of know exactly how it all will go down because of the climax that you saw. So you sit there for an hour and a half, slogging back to the scene you already saw near the beginning and you want to quietly whisper, “Okay, finally. Now let’s move on with the story.”

No one is talking about this as a problem? I think it’s a big one.

The acting is truly wonderful. Tilda Swinton as evil in full female flesh is quite enervating. Tom Wilkinson, a latter day Peter Finch from Network, is the nut who is causing all the trouble. George Clooney is the janitor/fixer. But what we quickly learn in this world of corporate greed, power and selfishness is that everyone is a version of janitor/fixer. And janitors do feel the need to clean up.

I don’t know. Hollywood seems to be congratulating itself for this movie. I think it’s just a big ol’ movie. Well done. But there’s a flatness to the story, a lack of twists, missing layers of onions to peel.

Sydney Pollack plays power very well. He is also one of the producers of the movie.

I sometimes feel sad that as Americans, we are mostly intrigued by the use and abuse of power. We are a nation of citizens who came here powerless in search of power. So it makes sense that the distribution and negotiating of power is what we mostly want to witness. But maybe juxtapose it against other human attributes without getting too cheesy?

I don’t like to have the time to pull back and think about the sociological underpinnings of a movie while I’m watching it. But with this one, I did.

Michael Clayton

Friday, October 05, 2007

Closeted Senator Stays Put

The thing that wouldn’t leave!
That’s Larry Craig. He’s sticking to his senate seat.
I’m all for his barnacle nature.
Though he is certainly a hypocritical lunatic, there is no law that can unseat him, unless 2/3 of the senate votes for his dismissal. Isn’t going to happen.
Tapping my toes for Larry. Let freedom ring.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Time Regained

Thanks to Jeff Kaufman, who might as well be the King of Sycamore Avenue, I have finally taken care of my sluggish computer syndrome.

Okay, you know how your computer just isn’t as fast as it used to be? Well, that’s because it isn’t. You need it to be faster. Sure, you can slow down in other areas of your life. Take long strolls along the Seine. Watch the roses grow. Pet your animals. Chew completely.

But in order to do that, you need your computer to be zippy so you’re not wasting time.

I only had 512 RAM going. I needed to double it.

Here’s what you do to see if you can increase the speed of your computer. It was so simple, a slightly educated monkey could do it.

Right click on you’re My Computer, click on Properties. A list of info shows up.
The amount of RAM is listed at the bottom, right next to the speed (Hz) of your processor. You might have 256 RAM or 512 RAM or 1GB RAM.

Also, you have to know what your computer model is.

Figure these things out. Write them down or do a dance about them. Just, remember them.

Then, go to

Follow their easy steps for Memory Upgrade. You put in the necessary info you have at hand, they let you know what the maximum amount of RAM you can have in your model. You buy the extra RAM (mine was only $40). They send it to you.

Then, you just slip it in. Every computer is different---but basically, there’s always some simple slot somewhere just underneath a panel and you click it in. If you don’t know where your slot is, you can certainly do an online search for it. It truly does just click in.

Jeff was the inspiration. My credit card was so convenient.

My computer now runs gazelle-fast...even when I type, the letters hit the screen faster. It’s a fucking miracle.

I went from 512 to 1GB.

I wish I did this three years ago.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Double Edged WiFi VooDoo

As the Santa Ana condition worsens and my head pounds like a pumpkin against a wrought iron gate, I sit at the computer and I wonder how my life got so wired.

Wanting to get more blog traffic, I set up a MySpace page and a Facebook Page with links to this blog.

Which is fine. That didn’t take long. But then---there you are—looking at your dog-ugly MySpace page compared with all the other ones that are covered with jewels, music and sometimes even fur you can feel.

I covet those pimped out electric calling cards and I want to dive deep into this world of fabulous cyber sunflowers. Yet one must, I don’t know, stop at some point?

There is all this life to be lived. And it needs to be lived with people, not with pages that are somehow linked to people.

However, I did already hook up with a performance venue in town through this MySpace thing. Although my blog is as sober looking as a book binding, I do enjoy a bit of the carnival.

I think, like everything else, one must limit one’s time going down the rabbit hole of the pulsing www. There is something lovely about organizing one’s life, publicly, for all to consume. But then there is privacy. I fear that people are not experiencing anything when they are private.

I meditate just five minutes each morning. When I do that, I feel so happy.

The Game is Over

No one is immune to being Awful.

When people pull out the victimization card as trump, I say bah!

You can be a slave, break free, become a very wealthy CEO and bully your underlings.

You can be the downtrodden poor in Seventeenth century Europe, take a boat to the new world and kill the natives to secure your farmland.

You can be a victim of the Nazi party, then settle into the West Bank and underpay the locals.

You can be abused as a child and then grow up and destroy anyone who gets in the way of your owning Michigan.

Spare me the tales of your past as target. Then lay down your wretched darts.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Wild, Into It

Into the Wild

Based on the Krakauer book of the same name, adapted and directed by Sean Penn, this thing is something else.

First of all, you have to decide for yourself, “Is this kid on a spiritual journey or a suicide mission?”

The brain tries to figure out which one it is. Of course, it’s both.

Into the Wild is slow. No question. The horrendous couple next to us (whom we moved over for so they could be together) did grow bored, talked to each other, leaned into each other for some heavy petting with the general tone that sounded like, “Baby, don’t you worry, I’d never do anything weird like leave you and head out into the wild to find, I don’t know, myself, God, nature, Death.”

It’s a movie you have to be in the mood for. I hadn’t been to the movies in a few weeks, so I was quite ready. Plus, I just finished reading Richard Ford’s very good novel, The Sportswriter, which is glacial yet somehow its snail pace spoke to my inner, meditative mollusk. I have been in the mood for slow, in depth things. Maybe I’m officially ancient.

Into the Wild is lovely in its administration to detail. And the point of going into nature, kind of like Thoreau but more severe, means slowing down, taking it all in. However, the experience of shooting a film and making a film that really makes you feel that way are two different things. At times, it worked. Other times, it seemed kind of overwrought---with slow shots of sky, rock, cloud, bush, bear. Growl.

The acting was pitch perfect. This is the shining goodness. Emile Hirsch does an amazing job as a coming-of-age kid who has pushed down all his rage toward his awful parents and submitted to a higher calling. He is immediately likable and everyone who comes into contact with him is galvanized into loving him. Supporting turns by Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Catherine Keener, newcomer Brian Dierker as Rainey, Vince Vaughn and especially Hal Holbrook are fully realized and completely joyful to behold. I will repeat it again: especially Hal Holbrook. One can smell Oskie.

If you want to slow down and take in a big movie that tries its best to engulf a few big ideas, go for it. It’s good to slow down. But one does wish Sean Penn was just a tiny bit better at making movies if he’s going to continue. And we know he is.

Warning: Nasty moose slaughter scene.

Into the Wild

Friday, September 28, 2007

Hair Ye!

This afternoon, I got in my car which was parked near the hardscrabble intersection of Overland and the entrance ramp to the 10 Freeway. If you live in Los Angeles, you might recall this section of town as a place with many ramps, bridges, medians and weeds. In one of the medians was a man with a sign that read, “Vietnam Vet. Disabled. Just Hungry. Can you Help?” He limped. He was old. He continuously moved his jaw up and down as if he were chewing or something—the kind of action you see in an old Hitchcock movie when it wants to be made clear that “this old guy is sort of nuts and falling apart.”

I didn’t give him any money. I honestly only had twenties. However, I did have quarters. But I need those for parking. I felt bad for the guy, truly, but I did nothing to help him. Next, I had my privileged day and went to the theatre. Which woke me up.

We saw HAIR, the 40th anniversary production at the MET Theatre. HAIR is presented by the original Broadway producer, Michael Butler, a very affable guy whom we met in the very convenient $5 parking lot.

Guys, go see it. It’s fabulous. I have never seen the play before. Sure, I saw that Twyla Tharp movie of it (a few times) which was so 1979 does 1968. And I actually liked the movie. For the music. But the play is a much more enjoyable experience. The extremely loose nature of the narrative, the be-in philosophy, the fun sketchy bits, the lovely celebration of life, light, color and flesh really do work on your senses and your soul that by the end, when they drag the audience up onstage to clap to LET THE SUNSHINE IN, you are not only happy to go, you are pretty much in love with everyone in the room.

Of course, Galt MacDermot’s music is still the big star here. My favorite songs, both in composition and execution, were Ain’t Got No, Frank Mills, Black Boys/White Boys, Walking in Space & What a Piece of Work is Man. These, of course, are not the greatest hits, but that’s usual for my taste. Singing talent varies some, but it’s really not much of a problem. There are some standout singers. When you go, you can hear them for yourself.

The cast is gorgeous, talented, honest, generous, extremely present and filled with some kind of special love. To be in their presence, even if they were to be doing nothing more than humming the phone book, is worth the price of admission.

I do not want to give short shrift to Ragni’s and Rado’s script. It is infused with the full awareness of some positive life force, a wonderment that is especially coursing in the blood during the coming-of-age season in life. The writers juxtapose this natural, positive energy against a society that is willing to take these beautiful young adults and have them killed. It is really quite shocking, an enormous tragedy and obviously relates to today’s situation in Iraq. By the time the sardonic What a Piece of Work is Man is sung, overlooking the mock carcasses of a recognizable sampling of different groups of people who have killed each other during the last few centuries, you realize, intellectually, this is where the whole story has led and it's like being hit with a plank. Then, emotionally, you feel completely saddened by the fragile, confused psyche of the human species and its ability to twist into the insane direction of fear, greed and thoughtless carnage. This play makes you want to make sure that not only do you remain conscious every second of your life, but that your life, in fact, needs to also be about awaking consciousness in others.

Do I have to mention again how great the music is?

Really, go see the play.

Get your Wig Here

Personal Hair History:

I was too young to see the play when it came out. I remember, in Peekskill, my Uncle Gene had the album and it was totally taboo and we were not allowed to listen to it.
Years later, I was Berger in a production of HAIR at Harvard (Tufts and Harvard shared hams) which I had to quit because, basically, it was a terrible production, completely rewritten in the worst way. Then, in the late eighties in New York City, I was offered the role of Berger in a German touring production---but just to take over for a few weeks so the real Berger could have a Christmas break. I didn’t take the gig because my ego was bruised, being offered nothing more than a mere replacement jaunt. I did meet Ragni and Rado, the creators, during the endless days of auditions. Old, fun, nutty Hippies. Hard to tell exactly who was gay between them. The audition process was much like the play—sort of wild and without boundaries and I was put off by it. I didn’t get it exactly. I was never meant to be in HAIR, I guess. But often, I sit at the piano and pound out Easy to Be Hard or Walking in Space.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I Fear Depression

I sit and wonder about the economy. How can we bleed all this money into an un-winnable war and not completely destroy our fiscal lives?

It’s one thing to pummel a country and then plunder their resources, like Georgie wanted to do in Iraq. But to just spend and spend and get nothing at all? It’s suicide.

Simple bookkeeping teaches us that we are headed for ruin.

And the nutjob in the White House continues whistling his tune like a deranged bird at 4PM sitting in a mossy tree.

Dead young men and women. So many dollars gone that could have been used for healthcare and engine innovation. Because a super rich kid with not one original idea in his head was handed the presidency.

As the Catholics say:

“Let Us Pray.”

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


A year ago, my play THE FAT OF THE LAND ran for six weeks in Hollywood.
Which was a big, full experience.
Here in Los Angeles, we have these things called Ovation Awards--which are really our local theatre awards, mini-Tony's if you will.
Dan Alemshah, who played Claudia Vestibule, the big hearted, multi-racial Tranny, received an Ovation award nomination. It is really very exciting and well, we're all so happy for this.
Congratulations Dan.

"I tried to sneak out the window, but I'm too big."

The Fat of the Land

More Judy

Thanks to a new friend (hello DB) I have been turned on to this website.

The Judy Garland Experience

I did not dare join, enter or even consider. That fabulous rabbit hole is not for me as I have deadlines and headlines to make. But go ahead and enter, if you dare. Apparently, there are some hilarious Joan Crawford postings on there where she steals some of Judy’s stage thunder.

One of my close straight friends (hello JK) cannot understand the gay male obsession with Judy Garland. He tries his theories out on us. He thinks maybe we want to be her or maybe it’s just that we want to be her. When we explain that she embodies the timeless hurt of gay people and that we really relate to her, it doesn’t compute. Maybe he cannot see the pain underneath The Acheson, Topeka and the Santa Fe?

Perhaps we, as a gay people, understand putting on a show to cover up pain. It’s what we do. And no one put on a better show than Judy. Vulnerable, strong, talented and just a really great singer with always a huge gay following, Judy inspired the Stonewall Riots on the night of her death. And for that, too, we love her.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Gayest Concert Ever

In a disappointing tone I must say the Rufus Wainwright doing the Judy Garland Carnegie Hall Album at The Hollywood Bowl concert---was rueful.

The LA Philharmonic was sublime. It’s like the codgers in the orchestra were just waiting their whole lives for this night. They were as smooth and alive and clean as a tight ensemble, yet they were a whole orchestra. Amazing musicians.

But poor Rufus. He was not up to the task. He did keep apologizing. Frankly, it was as if he said at a bar one night, all drunk, “I can make a movie. Watch me.” And then he went ahead and it turned out to be the worst thing ever made.

Rufus couldn’t hit the notes. He cracked all night long. He could not act the songs. He behaved as if it was torture just getting the songs through his chords. By the end of the concert, even a visitation by Lorna Luft couldn’t really do much. Not that one thinks Lorna could. The evening devolved into a family living room fest with his sister singing and his mother at the piano and Rufus croaking out some more old standards.

It was sad. Someone should have stopped him.

There is a lot of stuff that happens because someone has a certain stature. His or her senators should keep a very watchful eye.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Happy Peace Day

Thank you Martha.

This clip is smart and very moving.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What's New With You?

One expert said about a confirmed meteorite crash this past weekend in Peru, “When a meteorite falls, it produces horrid sounds when it makes contact with the atmosphere. It is as if a giant rock is being sanded.”

It is a wonder to me that more people throughout history have not been crushed to death by meteorites.

I used to have a saying when I was in my twenties, living in New York:
“Your mother smells. Like Meteorites.”

I loved the insult because of its ambiguity. Who the hell knows anything, really, about meteorites?

The idea that a meteorite sounds like a giant rock being sanded would be quite a horrid sound. It is horrid sounds, sounds that are completely unfamiliar to us, that surely cause the most fear. If I heard a giant rock being sanded, heading my way, I’d practically vomit. Apparently, over two-hundred people near the crash site fell ill. I bet it was from the new experience.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Radical Children

During liberal upheaval, art is often so damn good. It has energy. It is young, muscular and demands color and attention. Even if a piece (any kind of piece) is not about the political movement, for it to survive during a strong time of changing energy, it must include this vector of jagged lightning.

During conservative periods, there is a lot of remake and pastiche. It becomes very academic. People feel safe. The rules are in place. Progress is glacial. MFA adjudicators make choices that reflect their personal tastes while declaring the importance of this or that piece with respect to “What is happening today,” or “Its place in the historical dialogue.” This is tired but it is valid since during conservative periods, people are more apt to slow down and think a little bit. Reflection isn’t a bad thing, but minds in reflection lack a beat. And you can feel it. It can leave you in your head and unsatisfied.

Ideally, one would live and create in a moderate society, with quick cycling fluctuations between liberal explosion and measured conservatism, at least in art. It would be thrilling to burst, rest, burst, rest. But societies have other ideas. In order to reach across continents, oceans and resistant minds, the sine waves of cultural environmental change often require a wavelength between fifteen and fifty years.

Fascinating are the people who start the upheaval at the end of a conservative era. I think we are in that period. It is time to take the youth seriously.