Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Legally Brown: Episode III

Episode 3! Matt's awesome. As you will see. And you can see me in the background for a second as I'm furiously scribbling down the lines for the judges off of my computer!

The Marathon On The Horizon

I'll be running the 2008 ING NYC Marathon in support of The Children's Tumor Foundation. The Children's Tumor Foundation.is a non-profit 501(c)(3) medical foundation, dedicated to improving the health and well being of individuals and families affected by neurofibromatoses (NF). NF is a set of distinct genetic disorders that cause tumors to grow along various types of nerves. In addition, NF can affect the development of non-nervous tissues such as bones and skin. My extended family has a very personal connection to this disorder, as my 11 year-old-cousin, Lauren Loose, has been meeting the challenges of neurofibromatosis her entire life. Her courage, strength and amazing sense of spirit has been a huge inspiration to me over the years and especially throughout my training for this event. I'm so happy to be able to raise awareness and money for this important cause through participating in this year's marathon!

The success of my fundraising efforts depends in part on your generosity. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to my Marathon Run for NF, please follow the link to...

MY NF FUNDRAISING PAGE: http://www.active.com/donate/nfnewyork2008/runowenrun

It is a completely secure and an easy way to make a contribution. Plus you'll get to see fun pictures of me running and a nice picture of me with cousins Lauren and Grace from this summer. A donation of any size would be greatly appreciated. If you prefer not to donate online, you can also send me a check made out to "The Children's Tumor Foundation" at the following address:

Owen Panettieri
21-38 31st St. 2S
Astoria, NY 11105

Even if you cannot donate at this time, thank you for support and well wishes. I will be sending updates as the race gets closer, so you can track my progress online the day of the race. Or you can come out and cheer me on in person! I have included some more informative links below if you would like to hear more about Lauren or The Children's Tumor Foundation.

If you would like to learn more about Lauren's Story you can read all about her current updates at: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/laurenloose

There is also a website for the incredible non-profit football camp that her parents have set up in Lauren's name: www.laurensfirstandgoal.org

And if you would like to learn more about the work CTF does, you can visit their website as well.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

This Award Show Is The Biggest Farce I Ever Saw! - What about the Emmys? - I Stand Corrected.

10:58 - Probst, subtle as a hammer, gives a curt goodnight and a sharp wave and we're done. This ceremony was terrible, y'all. And there were lots of first time winners. Please pick ONE FUNNY PERSON to host the awards next year, and no more theme song medleys or monologues about dead air. Thanks for reading!

10:56 - Tom Selleck gets down to business. Mad Men wins Best Drama. Lost, I'm sure you came in a close second! It's nice that AMC gets a little recognition.

10:52 - You must ocver your arms MTM!! I cannot look at the screen. See, MTM? Betty White knows how to dress appropriately!! Comedy Series. 30 Rock's got the momentum... and the trophy! Maybe you'll have to promote it now NBC, since it won 4 major awards?? Please? Or Tina Fey can just keep winning awards and pimping the show from the podium. Whatever works.

10:50 - Haven't they been adequate tonight? LOL. Jeff Probst wins. Hooray for him. He wanted it the most. He knows the 5 hosts tanked.

10:46 - I tried to do handstands for you. For You-OOOOO-ouu!

10:40 - NO MORE BANTER! GET TO THE EFFING NOMINEES!I like all of these ladies. MLP has such dark eyes! Tina Fey wins! AWESOME. That almost makes up for the past two and half hours of lameness. Host of Reality Show. The one none of you have been waiting for. Jeff Probst really wants to win, he can barely play along in actual anticipation ! Oh well, at least they are making sure we know this category is totally bogus. After the break, indeed.

10:38 - Best Actor In A Drama Series with Keifer Sutherland. I don't watch any of these shows again, but House. I'm glad Bryan Cranston won, for all his years of work on Malcolm in the Middle. Here comes the play-off music. Life is unfair...

10:36 - Commercials. I can't believe George is gonna sleep with yet another of the female docs on Grey's Anatomy. Like he's some great prize.

10:29 - In Memoriam. Tim Russert is coming up! Oh dear, I'm not ready. Oh, George Carlin. You're great too.

10:25 - That jacket does you no favors, Candice Bergen! Who is gonna win best actor in a comedy season? Oh, thank god. Alec Baldwin. The Tony Shaloub curse is broken. You know what else is broken? Vanessa Williams's microphone. I can't hear what she's presenting! Well the screen tells me Lead Actress in a Drama goes to Glenn Close for Damages.

10:23 - Glenn Close in the house. What's she got to present? Lead actor in a miniseries/movie. Just give it to Paul Giamatti and let's close out the miniseries categories. And he wins. Hooray for him. His first nomination? That seems incredible!

10:16 - Writing for Drama. Go Angeli for BSG! Oh, sadness. It went to Madmen. I don't watch that show and I don't care what he has to say. It doesn't matter because Don Rickles ate up all his time!

10:13 - Here's Cynthia Nixon and Glenn... Someone... Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series. I don't watch a lot of the shows nominated here. But I do watch House and House won! Cool. Maybe that means Hugh Laurie will win.

10:08 - That was a mercifully long break. NPH and Kirsten Chenowith are here to present individual performance in variety show thingy. Who wins? Don Rickles, of course! He is old and alive and still funny! Tina Fey was a little bit robbed. On the beach with the jewelry signaling ships is a funny line. I'm glad the people didn't play him off. They could've tried.

10:01 - Sally Field. What's she talking about? Outstanding Miniseries. It's gotta be John Adams. And it is! It did receive 23 nominations after all. Forrest Gump reunion at the podium when Tom Hanks accepts for the team. The show heads once again to commercials. And I go for the tasty d-lite in my freezer.

9:56 - Don Rickles and Kathy Griffin! STAND! Let's read these funny lines they wrote for us! Don Rickles isn't gonna be put in a corner or read the prompter, people. Amazing Race wins best reality competition AGAIN. Six years running. It's the ONLY winner in this category EVER! Survivor and American Idol are spitting up blood right now.

9:53 - Howie Mandell... ugh.... MASH? Fine. Give an effing award and get ON WITH IT. Sandra Oh and Patrick Dempsey. Supporting Actress in a miniseries or movie. Wait, what did Laura Linney win? I thought she won this category an hour ago. Aileen Atkins won, but is not there to get played off the stage. Our loss.

9:48 - Writing for a Miniseries or Movie. John Adams wins. Great. The Emmys get political and patriotic. Vote, America. But put down the prunes. No time for speechifying! Commercials! They must REEALLY be behind schedule. It's the show's own fault for that stank opening.

9:44 - Colbert and Stewart! BRING IT! Prunes!! Directing a Miniseries or Movie. Recount? Adams? Recount! Jay Roach won earlier? Really? He didn't give a speech last time. Did he? I don't remember this.

9:42 - National Stay At Home Week is the stupidest promotional campaign I've ever heard of. CSI is a show I don't watch and don't care about. Larry Fishburne is cool though. This banter is painful! We're into the acting in miniseries and movie categories. Tom Wilkinson won supporting actor for John Adams. He's not here. No acceptance speech! Yay!!

9:40 - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Saturday, Sunday, EveryDAAAAAY!

9:35 - Christian Slater is his own worst enemy when it comes to picking television pilots. Christina Applegate is awesome. Recount wins for outstanding made-for-tv movie. Great. Commercial? Commercials! YAY!

9:30 - We're back with Tom. He's showing a clip of West Wing. Here's Mr Sheen. Classy as always. Rock the vote. Now on behalf of the Academy of blah blah blah... don't mention the STRIKE(S)!!!

9:26 - Keep these commercial breaks coming. If i wasn't watching it live, i'd zip thru them, but the show is so bad, I'm happy not to have to pay attention.

9:23 - Angel is back with more nominees and more anger directed at the viewing audience. This is for comedy writing. Tina Fey wins! AWESOME. I am going to tell people I'm a writer now too. I will point to Legally Brown as Exhibit A.

9:19 - It's Angel and the Hills Girl. They will tell us who won at the Tech Emmys last week. Angel looks really pissed to be there. Kathryn Joosten is here for directing of a comedy series. Who could win? Pushing Daises!! YAY!! That's totally random and great. I really like that show.

9:15 - Laugh-In?? What the hell is going on? I don't understand this crap at all. Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series. Daily Show. THANK YOU! Let's move it along please.

9:13 - Stop bothering me with Opportunity Knocks, JD Roth, and bring me another season of Endurance. Now.

9:06 - That crap went on for 5 minutes. I am stunned and nauseous. Save me Alec Baldwin. Lead Actress in a Mini-Series? Who cares? Laura Linney can take it for John Adams. Oh, she did! Well whaddayaknow? She's kinda got a neat dress on. I haven't noticed many dresses tonight. Are we at commercials again? Thank goodness.

9:01 - We're back with Josh Groban. Oh effing God. He's doing the medley. WHY???? NOOOOOOOOO!!! Butchering all of my favorites. Thanks.

8:58 - Commercials. I've seen this Tina Fey Amex commercial many many times and it's still funnier to me than anything said by any of tonight's 5 hosts. I'm offened by how unprepared they are to run this show.

8:53 Tommy Smothers is onstage looking old, but spry. Freedom of hearing. Freedom of speaking. I like him. The announcer just said Josh Groban is waiting in the wings. WHY??? If this is connected to the theme song tribute I might shoot myself.

8:49 - Don't effing play off Colbert, and then stick me with Howie Mandell and Jeff Probst. I hate these two more than ever right now. They are too in love with the sounds of their own voices. They come off as such amatures. And here comes Steve Martin as another example of a presenter who has more funny in his left pinky than in the 5 hosts of this awards show put together. He's talking about Smothers Brothers. I'm going to get more juice.

8:45 - Scary Haired Gost Whisperer and the girl with almost my last name announce writing for a variety, comedy or sometihng or other. Colbert Report wins!! I'm pleased. i was saying earlier today that the writing of The Word segment alone deserved an Emmy. That thing is very clever and very nimble and they do it night after night. Not an easy feat. I love you Stephen Colbert.

8:43 - Conan and supporting actress in a drama series. Conan makes a relevant Katherine Heigl joke that might be a little easy. Diane Weist wins? Wow, Katherine steps out of the way for her castmates and they don't even win.

8:38 - Once again saved by commercials.

8:31 Ricky Gervais!! Awesome. Thanks for that! Oh, but don't introduce clips of winning speeches! We'll have enough of these in the ACTUAL SHOW! Look at his stupid face. LOL Give me the Emmy. Finally, something funny. Thank you, Ricky Gervais. Outstanding Driecting in a comedy or variety or something or other. The Academy Awards won. The producer is also doing the emmys and complains that Gervais went long. GERVAIS WENT LONG?? Let him host next year, chumps.

8:26 - Wow, we're back with a hard cut. Tom and Heidi. Saying NOTHING!!! Please stop this madness. Desperate Housewives. Here come all the ladies. Everyone looks pretty great. Best Supporting Actor in a Drama. Come on, Michael Emerson!! Please no William Shatner. Let's give it a rest for a year. Zeljko won for Damages! I don't watch that show, but I'm pleased a first timer won. Maybe we won't get another Tony Shaloub win after all.

8:25 - Are you shitting me with this Lee Golberg Eyewitness News Commercial? You suck, ABC.

8:18 - Julia Louis-Dreyfuss. Telling an actually funny joke about the emmys and looking cute in that pink dress! Oh, best supporting actress in a comedy! This is one category where I like everyone. I would be thrilled for Amy, Kristin or Jean. Jean Smart won! Wow, I'm surprised but not displeased. I think she's great. If they're gonna play off the winners they need to play off the effing hosts who have bombed everytime they've been on stage. And it's only been on for 22 minutes! Thanks god we're mercifully at commercials again.

8:16 - We're back with Tom Bergeron and Ryan. Oh Joy. Oh Bliss. They are on the Seinfeld diner set. And now the clip from The Contest. Awesome. Clips shows within awards shows.

8:13 - While we all enjoy this Macy's commercial, i'm gonna get my dinner set up.

8:10 - Amy and Tina! Thank god actually funny people doing an almost-funny bit. Best supporting actor to... Jeremy Piven. Three years in a row. Oh, this is a bad sign that the Emmy Voters are on cruise control. It should have been NPH! Oh, but at least he acknoweldged the sucktastic nature of the opening. There's a tribute to THEME SOMGS coming up? Sweet wounded Jesus.

8:04 - I HATE these people. I enjoy Heidi Klum the most because she is not saying anything. And she is taller than the rest of them. This is the worst bit I've ever seen. How'm I gonna get through the whole night. Denny Crane. I love you. Please don't be on stage again tonight

8:01 - Oprah! What is she doing here? She is talking. The cast of Grey's Anatomy is listening. What is she DOING here? Say something that's not just words in random order. Her breasts are VERY large right now. Glen Close doesn't know what Oprah is talking about but remains posed. Wait, she's introducing the hosts? So she said nothing of any substance or relevance. This is gonna be a long night.

WELCOME TO THE LIVE BLOG! This awards show is gonna suck i'm sure, but I'm here bringing it to you LIIIVE! I haven't typed and watched TV since the demise of Step It Up And Dance On Gene Kelly's Grave, so we'll see how it goes. I alread missed the very beginning because I was getting dinner. This is how we roll!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Little Pony! My Little Pony!

Alternative Blog Post Titles:
1. Hung Like A Horse
2. A Horse is A Horse (Of course, Of Course!)
3. Horseplay
4. The Best Little Horse House in Midtown

When hearing that Daniel Radcliffe, cinema's Harry Potter, would be appearing naked in the revival of Equus, two questions may come to mind. (1) Does it mean that I'm gay if I want to see this? and (2) Does it mean that I'm gay if I ask myself, 'Does it mean that I'm gay if I want to see this? I'm far too secure to have thought of these things myself. I just... saw them scrawled in a bathroom stall at the Broadhurst Theater when I saw the show yesterday. Yeah!

The prospect of seeing Harry Potter naked in a show may provide a cheap thrill for some, but is hardly worth shelling out at least $60 for a seat at the back of theater just to see him disrobe. Equus happens to be a very intense and engrossing play and the nudity, well, it's certainly not beside the point, but it's very primal. It's not sexy. It's not the point of going to see Equus. It's not like Harry Potter is becoming Gyspy Rose Lee (although Forbidden Broadway has a funny skit that let's you see exactly what that would be like).

When I was looking at ticket options a couple months ago, a BFF informed me that there was on stage seating at the theater. I was amazed. I had seen Xanadu from on-stage seating and I could not imagine how this would be for Equus. It's one thing to have rollerskating muses zooming around you, throwing winks at you when the audience in the house can't see. But how are they gonna have people sitting on the stage when half blind horses start flailing about the playing space? Immediately I knew I had to get on-stage seating for this show. Luckily there were seats available and I was good to go.

So yesterday I get to the theater (early this time!) and I get led around through the side walkway to the back of the theater. There is a friendly usher there who asks that I show him my turned off phone and leads me to this staircase. Where the heck is my seat? Well it happens to be elevated off of the stage, which I have to say was a relief. I don't need to be that close to the madness. the onstage seating is basically a horseshoe (the set designer has a sense of humor!) that forms a kind of observation deck around the dark grey circular set. They have a nicely padded ledge in front of the on stage seats so you can lean over the side and get a good view of the stage below. The set up reminded me of something I couldn't immediately put my finger on, but then it hit me: We were in the effing Wizengamut!

Oh how many Potter allusions can you cram into one psychodrama? Anyway, how was the show? It was very solid. Richards and Radcliffe were on point. Kate Mulgrew, my beloved Captain Janeway, had tons of energy and played well off of Richards. My problem with the show, honestly, was that it didn't really grab me. I worked on a production of Equus in college and this Broadway production didn't really give me anything new to think about. Having just seen Hair and then August: Osage County, both of which really grabbed me, i was a little disappointed with the vision of this show. I think it was the horses. They were more stylized and less naturalistic in their movements than I would've likes. They always seemed like they were Equus the Horse God and never Nugget and the other horses just in the stables. So they didn't really work for me, and I think that took me out of the world of the play.

I'm glad I got to see it though. I did think it was a strong production with good performances. It just wasn't revelatory. I like my revivals to bring something new to the table, and this had no real surprises. I like Equus a lot and this is probably worth seeing if you've never seen it, but what I saw from my unique perch did not really stick with me once I left the theater.

Legally Brown: Hunter's Condition

I love Hunter. This was fun. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Firefox & Facebook

Firefox sits next to me at work. I call her Firefox because that is her web browser of choice, even though we have noticed several instances where certain online functions we need for our job only run using internet explorer. Still Firefox is loyal to her browser and finds a way to make it work.

She in turn calls me Facebook. This is because I tend to check in there a lot, even when i don't have an active Mafia game to keep tabs on (it would be worse if scrabulous was still around, Firefox didn't really know me like that before Scrabulous was cruelly ripped away from us).

Anyway, Firefox, sometimes aka Girl Friday, is awesome. I'm so happy she has come along into my life. For one, she's beautiful. Stunningly so, even if perhaps she doesn't completely know it. Work is always better when you are sitting next to an Attractive. Let's get it straight though, that Firefox and Facebook won't be dating. Fishing off the Company Pier? A no no.

Also in Firefox's favor, she's totally smart and good at her job. Usually it's either/or with the looks and the competence, but this is the complete package. She's like the Anti-Palin. She has good taste in music. She has awesome ticketmaster-style skills. She can hit the ground running when being thrown into an impromptu round of Cops & Ninjas 10. She only half-kids about her love of NKOTB. She has good storytelling skills. You see how much Firefox brings to the table? TONS.

Firefox also puts up with the crazy antics of Facebook very well. I constantly threaten to hijack her cellphone or gmail and send messages to cute boys or co-workers on her behalf. She knows I might go through with it, because one time I used her email account to convince the rest of staff to order pineapple pizza for lunch. In my defense, I didn't think anyone would believe me. I made lots of references to the fact i was writing on her account, but I still got my delicious pie ordered. MMM... pineapple pizza.

Anyway, Firefox is so cool, she thought she deserved her own blog post and I had to agree. So this be it. See you back at work in a couple hours, Firefox!

Hallows, Revisited

Recently I finished rereading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I have been reading it as before-bed reading for the past several months. This often resulted in no more than 3 pages being reading before I passed out, but it was always a fun endeavor. I remember talking to a good friend of mine 6 months after the book was released, and though she'd gotten it when it first came out, she was had yet to finish it. I couldn't believe it. It seemed like madness, Even at my snail's pace on the re-read, I finished it in less time than she did - and I already knew what was gonna happen! I told her she was kicked out of Hogwarts for lack of dedication. She was sad.

I have reread all the Harry Potter books several times over the past few years (before books 5, 6, and 7 came out, i went through the entire series again to get back up to speed on the plot details) but I had only read Deathly Hallows the one time, the day it came out, in less than 24 hours. I did so not solely because I was a rabid fan, but also because I could not handle the constant threat of spoilers and did not trust myself to avoid the internet for any extended period of time.

I love Deathly Hallows. I think it's a fantastic novel and an amazing conclusion to a story so deeply thoughtout and well constructed over 7 books and 7 years consecutive years of these characters' lives. I frankly don't understand anyone who won't pick these books up. I get the initial resistance of pop-culture phenomenon, but this is one of those rare cases where great art is easily accessible without diminshing it's worth. And please don't tell me you prefer watching your fantasy instead of reading about it. Grow an imagination and appreciate the craft of language and storytelling. The draw isn't just weird names and magic spells. Don't think you're to good for Rowling's prose. You ain't.

The book still held many surprises the second time through. The Gringotts chapter especially made a lot more sense to me this time. And Neville was even more of a bad-ass than I'd remembered. (Woohoo!) The deaths were still all very upsetting, and I got very emotional at key places as I had the first time through. Another benefit to reading more slowly was that the introduction and explanation of the Hallows made more sense when not blasting through those key chapters in a matter of hours. "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!" managed to still send a good shiver of excitement and grief and fear up and down my spine. It's really a beautiful tale of love and not succumbing to fear on both a personal and societal level. And it's got some great spells. If you were like me and powered your way through 700 pages of the Potterverse at an ungodly pace, I suggest you go back and it read it at your leisure. It's worth it. Aii is well.

Monday, September 15, 2008

White Privilege

A friend at work sent me this. I have decided to post it.

This is Your Nation on White Privilege By Tim Wise / September 13, 2008

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll “kick their fuckin' ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.”

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.

White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was “Alaska first,” and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.

White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college--you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a “second look.”

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it a “light” burden.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain…
White privilege is, in short, the problem.

Tim Wise is the author of White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, and Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White. He has contributed essays to seventeen books, and is one of several persons featured in White Men Challenging Racism: Thirty-Five Personal Stories, from Duke University Press. A collection of his essays, Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male, will be released in fall 2008.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Is Sarah Palin a Skeksi?

"It's time to make my move! Hmm-mmMMMMmmm!!!!

Is Sarah Palin a Skeksi? Perhaps. Let look at the evidence:

*Both have high pitched unpleasant voices.

*Both are opportunistic politicians who are preoccupied with climbing the political ladder.

*Both lack the experience to properly run a country.

*Both tend to abuse any power bestowed upon them.

*Both try to harness their planet's natural resources in harmful. unsustainable ways.

*Neither care for the problems of the little people.

*Neither pay much regard for science or literature.

*Both try to oppress people, taking away their freedoms out of fear.

*Both are crazy ass creatures I don't want to be around.

*Both are ultimately puppets.

The evidence is clear. Sarah Palin is Queen of the Skeksis.

Forbidden Pleasures

Last night I went to see Forbidden Broadway: Dances With The Stars with a group of friends. We did not see that show. Instead we saw Forbidden Broadway: Goes To Rehab. ??? My ticket says Forbidden Broadway Dances With the Stars, so why is the playbill and the content of the show not the same? Is it old? Is it new? I don't know. The opening skit was not good and I was very scared for what was to come. I had seen the earlier version of FB (Special Victims Unit) and that was much better. But once the actual show parodies got under way, momentum continued to build and build. We all wound up really enjoying the performance.

The key to really understanding Forbidden Broadway is to have seen enough shows to understand what the hell they are talking about. It can be funny on it's own, but the less that goes over your head, the better. Our interest in going in the first place was to see what they did with in The Heights and thankfully that number comes pretty early in the show so I didn't have to be preoccupied with the anticipation all show. The ITH parody was ultimately quite funny. It's hard not to be defensive and to not like when they say things like "my friend can't act", but then you remember it's their job to send up all the shows and it's a heightened perception of everyone and it's best to just chillax and enjoy.

I thought Act II was especially one hysterical number after another. All the performers had at least one especially great impersonation they did. Whether it be Liza Minelli, Stephen Sondheim or Kristen Chenoweth. I give props to the guy who did Usnavi as well, i thought his rap kinda ran out of gas at the end (if i'm being honest) but i love Lin, and I didn't hate you, so I'd say that means you did a very good job. I personally enjoyed the Mary Poppins, [title of show], Young Frankenstein, Wicked, Spring Awakening, and Sunday in the Park with George spoofs the best. It's amazing to me how quickly and completely the actors change costumes and characters. It's really impressive.

If you like going to see Broadway shows or at least have a general knowledge of them then this is a fun cabaret-style night of entertainment that doesn't overstay it's welcome. If you go, let me know if they eventually change to title number and the playbill to say Dances With the Stars. I found that discrepancy very strange.

See You Next September

I'll be alone each and every night

While you're away, don't forget to write

Bye-bye, so long, farewell

Bye-bye, so long

See you next September

See you when the PT's through

Here we are (bye, baby, goodbye)

Saying goodbye at the station (bye, baby, goodbye)

Your rehabilitation (bye, baby bye, baby)

Is taking you away (bye, baby, goodbye)

Have a good time but remember

There is danger when people knock you down.

Will I see you next September

Or lose you to a team in a new town? (counting the days 'til I'll be with you)

(counting the hours and the minutes, too)

Bye, baby, goodbye

Bye, baby, goodbye

Bye, baby, goodbye (bye-bye, so long, farewell)

Bye, baby, goodbye (bye-bye, so long)

Have a good time but remember

There is danger when people knock you down.

Will I see you next September

Or lose you to a team in a new town?

C'mon Cassel! Beat Those Jets!

These Are The Champions My Friends

This is a couple days late because the finals went past the weekend, and I couldn't catch up in time. But credit will now be given where credit is due: Congratulations to Serena Williams and Roger Federer for winning the @2008 US Open Championships!

Serena kicked ass all throughout the tournament. You could tell it meant a lot to her to win another Grand Slam event and to regain the #1 ranking in the world. She was seething over her loss in the Finals at Wimbledon and elated to win gold with Venus in Beijing. This was a great way for her to finish off the tennis season. When she was done, she threw her racket 50 feet in the air and started hopping around like mad. I thought it was a totally appropriate response given all she went through to get there. Brava, Serena!

And then we have Roger Federer. Weakend by mono. Beaten in Australia. Crushed at the French Open. Dethroned At Wimbledon. Bumped down to #2 in the rankings. The year was not going well for the athlete who is arguably the greatest ever in his sport. But the end of summer brought two really nice things. A gold medal in doubles at the Olympics and now another US Open Title. I for one really appreciated seeing the raw emotion on the usually cool face of Fedex. He usually makes his greatness look so easy, but this tourney you got the sense that he was working for it. Not because he's not great, but because he wanted it so badly and was willing to fight whatever he had left in him to make it happen. I'm glad he did not have to go the whole year without a Grand Slam title and I'm also glad he didn't have to directly go through Nadal to get it.

I'm so glad to see these two champions return to the top of their form. As a fan of tennis, it's truly fantastic. Congrats, guys!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I still love you, Rafa!

Dearest Rafa,

I'm sure you're disappointed about not making it to the US Open Finals this year. I am sad for you. But let's face some facts. It's HARD to win 3 majors in one year on three different surfaces PLUS win the Olympic gold. You and I both know you were tired coming into this Open. You played so well, but I could tell you were... well, I wouldn't say "weakening" but you and I both know that if you want to beat the top players you have to keep digging deep, and there just wasn't that much deeper left for you to dig against Murray this weekend. You need some rest, papa. You've earned it. And let's stop for a second and take stock of this year's accomplishments. Still undefeated at Roland Garros! A Wimbledon victory in what might be the greatest match ever played! Olympic Gold! Plus, you've made your best showing to date at the US Open and the Australian Open as well. 8 tournament titles and a #1 ranking in the world. All that ain't exactly chump change.

I'm glad I got to see you practicing while I was at the US Open on Labor Day. It was such a treat. Best of luck at the Davis Cup match in two weeks (I hope you win your matches, but ultimately Spain should lose to USA. Go USA!) and then there is the end of the year tourney still for you to try and dominate.

Even though I'll be seeing you less on the television this fall, and missing you muchly,I will still be loving you with the same level of intensity. Maybe even stronger. If that's possible.

Love Always,


Saturday, September 6, 2008

August: "Oh Sh*t!" County

Saturday afternoon I went to see August: Osage County. I had made it a goal that I would fit this in my schedule before the Summer was out, and I missed my self-imposed deadline by just a week. (I never did get to Chorus Line... sorry, Slater!) A:OC is an awesome long play that flies by. The acting is great, the writing is great, the three-story realistic dollhouse of a set is brilliant and it's just an excellent time at the theater.

It's a large cast of characters with a bunch of secrets that mostly all get exposed over the show's 3 hour run time (two 10 minute intermission at the one hour and two hour marks make you feel like it's moving along quickly enough). The secrets touch on a bunch of sensitive topics (child molestation! cheating! lying! possible incest!) but it's really not handled in a way that is uber-creepy. I've seen these topics handled in much more uncomfortable ways in lesser shows. There is certainly a lot of tension and the situations are unsettling, but it's all very watchable.
Estelle Parsons, Amy Morton, Sally Murphy and Mariann Mayberry, as mother and her three daughters respectively, all really shine. The dialogue is funny and painful and true throughout. If all that weren't enough, Kimberley Guerrero, the actress who plays Winona in "The Cigar Store Indian" episode of Seinfeld is a strong presence as the housekeeper for the crazy family. She totally rocks. I love you, Winona.

Straight plays don't usually have an extended run on Broadway, but this one looks to be staying around for a while. Don't take it for granted, though! Get out and see it while you can!

Legally Brown is Online!

I am excited to report that Legally Brown: The Seach For The Next Piragua Guy is up on YouTube for your viewing pleasure. It's been very rewarding to work on this from behind the scenes and see it actually be put out there for public consumption. Written by me and Lin-Manuel and starring a whole parade of awesome Broadway Actors it is our loving spoof on the Legally Blonde Reality Show and on reality competition shows in general. I don't consider myself a good auditioner which is probably why I don't like doing it and that is ALSO probably why i don't do as much acting work as I would like. I find the very idea of auditioning over the course of several weeks on a nationally televised show to be a rather horrifying. While I enjoy watching these competition shows on TV it is beyond me why anyone would actually want to be a participant. Sure I guess it's a quick way to open doors for you, and a certain amount of the population will always be fame-whores who will do anything for attention. But i think most people by now should know that most people don't come off looking good by the time they lose, and it's not that easy to expand your 15 minutes of fame beyond the season you appear on. Hell, there are people on American Idol who were in the top 24 (or even top 10) than i couldn't remember having ever seen or heard by the time they got trotted back out on stage for the Grand Finale. But people keep auditioning for stuff in front of America, and I keep tuning in. And now with this project, those gluttons for punishment have become a sort of artistic inspiration. There will be more Legally Brown clips coming in the future. I hope you enjoy.

You should also go to this youtube link and then check out usnavi's other youtube clips because they are all really funny and worth your time. Enjoy!