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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Support the Delaware Riverkeeper

In addition to the economic benefits mentioned in the Riverkeeper's document below, more than 20 million Americans get their drinking water from the Delaware River watershed. Half of New York City's water comes from the Delaware River watershed, which the Pepacton and Cannonsville reservoirs are part of.

How much is a Healthy Delaware River Worth?
New Report Documents
 
April 30, 2010, Bristol, PA, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network announced release of a new report titled River Values-The Value of a Clean and Healthy Delaware River.  According to the organization the report begins to document the economic value of a healthy and clean Delaware River, in terms of jobs, property values, tourism, commercial fisheries, and it paints a clear picture that tax rateables and the economies of a healthy River are far too significant to be forgotten during economic down-turns.
Maya van Rossum the Delaware Riverkeeper asserts: “When local, state and federal governments are being pressured to create jobs, jobs, jobs, the River and environment are often undervalued and their value as a job creator and economic engine vital for the region gets downplayed and forgotten as the special interests fight for their pet projects.  This report demonstrates that protecting and restoring the Delaware River is fundamental to healthy jobs, economies and communities in our region and if sacrificed to achieve short term political or industrial ends will result in the undermining of the health, enjoyment and economic vitality of our region’s children, families and communities.”
van Rossum continues, “So often we hear about the need to deepen the Delaware to support big oil or industry, or that the state and local regulations that protect our waterways are too great a burden and must be relaxed or eliminated, or that the River is needed to support power plants regardless of the number of fish they slaughter, or that we have to continue to allow industries and communities to dump sewage, toxins, and other pollution into the River.  What gets lost in all of these conversations is the reality that a clean, healthy and free flowing river is essential for the jobs of others, to protect us from illness, to prevent us from suffering unnecessary flood damages.  Big business, politicians and bureaucrats are so busy worrying about whether Dupont will sue them or the ports will oppose them in an election that they forget the River can benefit many more when we protect it for the benefit of all.”
The report includes case studies documenting individuals and businesses that benefit economically from a clean and healthy Delaware River.  Individuals highlighted in case studies available for interview regarding this report include:
 
Dan Breen, Owner, Bucks County River Country (Pt. Pleasant, PA), Cell-215-850-6003
Michael Hogan, Owner, Michael Hogan Photography (Dorothy, NJ), 609-476-2086
Blaine Mengel, Owner, Backwoods Angler Fishing Guides (Black Eddy, PA), Cell-610-392-1790 or 610-868-9349
 
Some of the documented facts included in the report:
ü  In 1986 the Upper Delaware attracted 232,000 whitewater paddlers who spent $13.3 million, adding $6.2 million to local economy and supporting 291 local jobs.
ü  In just one year the Upper Delaware and Delaware Water Gap brought to our local communities 367,400 whitewater paddlers, who spent over $20 million (20,229,000), contributed almost $10 million (9,895,000) to our local economies, and supported 447 jobs. 
ü  Trout fishing in the Upper Delaware River resulted in one year in $17.69 million in local business revenue.  This revenue supporting 348 jobs, providing $3.65 million in wages and $719,350 in local taxes.  This investment translates into an ongoing $29.98 million in local economic activities.
ü  River festivals generate as many as 75,000 visitors to small riverside towns, giving an important boost to local businesses.
 
ü  Over 2.1 million bushels of clam and oyster shells have been harvested in the Delaware Bay from 2005 thru 2009.  For the region, oyster harvest resulting from this federal investment is projected to generate up to and over $80 million of annual economic benefit, much of this in some of New Jersey’s poorest communities who could not tolerate the loss of associated jobs, revenue and benefit.
ü  The annual economic value of migratory bird and horseshoe crab phenomenon in the Bayshore area provides $25 million in benefits to the Delaware Bay shore area and $34 million regionally.  Because most of these expenditures occur in the “off-season,” they are particularly valuable to local economies.
ü  Protecting, restoring and valuing the ecosystems of the Delaware River is not just of economic import, but is also important to the health and safety of our region.
ü  The biomedical industry dependent on the horseshoe crabs found in the Delaware Bay is said to provide $150 million of value in addition to the life saving tests they provide for medical devices, intravenous drugs and to detect life threatening illness such as spinal meningitis.  The LAL needed for these tests is irreplaceable, found only in the blood of the horseshoe crab, cannot be created synthetically.
ü  In the United States trees planted on private properties have generated over $1.5 billion in tax revenue and can increase the value of nearby homes by 6 to 15%.
ü  Trees in just four of our local watersheds saved a combined $6 ½ billion in otherwise needed infrastructure. (Big Timber, Cobbs, Mill, & Frankford-Tacony)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Broadway Vampire

So, this morning I put the finishing touches on my novel Broadway Vampire. 228 pages, a little shy of 60,000 words. It's the story of a vampire who is also a Broadway producer. It works as a vampire story, as a murder mystery, as social commentary, and as a bit of a roman a clef for the current Broadway scene.

I'm pretty happy with this draft, which I began on February 24. My plan is to get some feedback from friends and professionals, then go to Dublin to do any rewriting and polishing in June.

I also wrote the scenario/libretto/book/script/whatever for Weimar Burlesque. It's based on letters between Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya. Albert Garzon of Ixion Burlesque is the producer. The music will all be live. I went to a rehearsal on Saturday. Albert has pulled together a lovely group of dancers.

The show premiers in Coney Island on June 3. I will post more as the date gets closer.

Now I have to do a rewrite of Byron in Hell -- a dramatic monologue for a young actor and a rewrite of a short story. Then, I have a 125 page outline of a murder mystery titled The Moon of Innocence that will my next book after Broadway Vampire.

The last ten days of writing I became obsessed and hardly touched my instruments. I picked up my guitar and it was angry at my neglecting it. Just finished an hour trying to get smoothed out on that front. Tonight will also be dedicated to music.

Tomorrow I'm having lunch with a literary agent and a TV producer. Wish me luck.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

49th Annual Philadelphia Folk Fest

The Philadelphia Folk Fest is hands down my favorite music festival. I've been there several times. They just announced the line up for this August, in this video.



Untitled from Jesse Lundy on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

OPEN LETTER TO SAM STEIN OF HUFFINGTON POST

Hi Sam,
Since the censors on Huffington Post decided to suppress my comments in response to your piece flacking for Ed Rendell, I thought to share some things with you.

When the citizens of PA voted down a referendum to legalize gambling, Rendell used some back room arm twisting and executive order to legalize it anyway.

Two people applied for the casino license that would be issued in the Poconos. One, a developer from NJ, bought a closed, run down resort property and did a complete set of plans including an architect's model of the proposed casino complex. All in, he spent about $3 million.

The other applicant, a trash hauling magnate and big Rendell supporter from Scranton, bought a run down resort and spent $27 million to build a casino and resort complex, before any license was issued. He got the license. Then, when it was discovered he lied about having ties to organized crime, his casino license was ordered transferred to his daughter. Just Google Louis DeNaples and/or Mount Airy Casino and you'll find it.

When the Mountain Laurel Center for the Performing Arts was built on 600 pristine publicly owned acres that were on the National Register of Historic Places, it was hailed as the new Wolf Trap. (It was once the ILGWU summer camp.) Rendell poured millions of dollars of tax money into this place, as his predecessor before him did. All that money went to builders and other guys with bulldozers. There was no endowment or fund to help the facility through what would naturally be lean start up years. When the facility failed to make ends meet two years in a row under Rendell's watch, he privatized the place -selling the entire property for pennies on the dollar to developers from Philadelphia who are, surprise, Rendell supporters.

Last year, with the financial crisis as his excuse, Rendell cancelled all grants to artists, and cancelled the Governor's School -- a summer program for exceptional high school students. Meanwhile, he gave a grant of $35 million to the owner of Boscov's department store chain, who also happens to be a Rendell supporter for many years.

Now, with jobs as his excuse, Rendell has fast tracked the drilling of natural gas wells in the Marcellus Shale Fields in northeast PA. These wells are using a method called "nonconventional hydrofracturing" which consists of pumping a toxic mix of chemicals into the ground, including benzene, and leaving 85% of those chemicals there when the gas is extracted. By the way, only 10% of the potential gas is extracted this way, and the rest of it rendered unrecoverable by any currently known means. Meanwhile, people in the surrounding areas are discovering that their wells are polluted with, of all things, benzene and other chemicals.

All of these things are a matter of public record.

You should list yourself as a Democratic party political operative, not a reporter.

Sincerely,
Uke Jackson

Friday, April 16, 2010

Reconsidering Rocco Landesman

I'm sure everyone saw this article about Rocco Landesman in the NY Time recently. In the past, I've been kind of hard on the NEA Chairman. I'm not recanting by any means. However, this quote, which the Times' reporter attributes to a 1994 New Yorker magazine article, kind of endears the guy to me:

"Mr. Landesman expounded on his philosophy of life by extolling the virtues of carrying large wads of cash. “The most important thing in life is a sense of possibility,” the magazine quoted him as saying, “and you simply can’t have it with less than $10,000 in your pocket.”"

Even if he is a rich guy as concerned, if not more concerned, with touting himself and his efforts as he is with doing something that actually impacts the lives of artists in a positive way (as opposed to benefiting vampire arts administrators), there's something I do find admirable about carrying lots of cash.

I even wrote a song about it. "Thick Stack of Hundred Dollar Bills" (click to see the full screen version on YouTube) The song starts about 50 seconds into the video below, sung by my good friend Meg Cavanaugh:



One of these days . . .

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2010 Obies Announced


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gail Parenteau






Wednesday, April 14, 2010

THE VILLAGE VOICE ANNOUNCES 55th ANNUAL OBIE AWARDS CEREMONY

MONDAY, MAY 17, 2010 AT WEBSTER HALL, NYC

CO-HOSTED BY ANIKA NONI ROSE & MICHAEL CERVERIS

The Awards Will Be Presented By:

J. Smith Cameron
Viola Davis
Marin Ireland
Linda Lavin
Sam Rockwell
Michael Shannon
Kerry Washington
Jennifer Westfeldt

*
More to be announced

New York, NYThe Village Voice, the nation’s largest alternative weekly newspaper, announced today that the 55th Annual OBIE Awards will take place on Monday, May 17, 2010 at Webster Hall in the East Village.
The OBIES will be co-hosted by Anika Noni Rose & Michael Cerveris.
Anika Noni Rose won an OBIE in 2001 for her performance in Eli's Comin'. Most recently, you may have heard Anika as the voice of ‘Princess Tiana’ in Disney’s The Princess & The Frog. She won acclaim in the film version of Dreamgirls, for which she received an NAACP nomination, and she received raves both Off- and on Broadway for her portrayal of Emmie Thibodeaux in Caroline or Change. She subsequently starred on Broadway in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and as Mma Makutsi in the HBO series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, shot entirely on location in Botswana.
Michael Cerveris says: “I may have snuck in the back door of uptown theater while they weren't looking, but my career, my heart, and my residence have been below 14th Street more often than not over the years.” Most recently, he starred on Broadway in Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play). His many previous starring roles include John Wilkes Booth in Stephen Sondheim's Assassins, and the title role in the John Doyle revival of Sweeney Todd. Off-Broadway his leading roles include Hedwig in the OBIE-winning musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
For the past 55 years, The Village Voice OBIE Awards, founded by Jerry Tallmer in 1956, have honored the best of Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway. Structured with informal categories that can change annually, The Village Voice OBIE Awards recognize persons and productions of excellence. Unlike most theater awards, The Village Voice OBIE Awards list no nominations publicly. In the conviction that creativity is not competitive, the judges may give several OBIES in each category, and may even invent new categories to reward exceptional artistic merit
The Voice’s chief theater critic, Michael Feingold, who chairs the OBIE Awards committee again this year, was recently honored as a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism. The Pulitzer jury recognized Feingold “for his engaging, authoritative drama reviews that fuse passion and knowledge as he helps readers understand what makes a play or a performance successful.”
His fellow judges this year include Voice critic Alexis Soloski and four guest judges. Critic Andy Propst, of AmericanTheaterWeb.com and TheaterMania (also a Voice contributor), has served as a judge as well as secretary to the committee. Judge Kristin Marting, who directs hybrid work, is a co-founder and Artistic Director of HERE Arts Center; since its founding in 1993, HERE and its productions have received a total of 14 OBIE Awards. Judge Ralph B. Peña is a founding member and Artistic Director of Ma-Yi Theater Company; he received a 2003 OBIE for his work on Ma-Yi’s production of The Romance of Magno Rubio. Judge Martha Plimpton is a three-time Tony Award nominee, and received an OBIE Award in 2001 for her performance in Hobson’s Choice (Atlantic Theater Company). She is currently filming a recurring role on HBO's forthcoming series How to Make It in America.
Many of the most celebrated names in theater, film and television say thier OBIER was the first recognition of their professional career.  Past winners include such well-known stars such as Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Felicity Huffman, Viola Davis, Kevin Kline, Nathan Lane, Alec Baldwin, Kathy Bates, James Earl Jones, Edward Norton, and Sigourney Weaver, to name a few.
Because the OBIES always strive to recognize artists of exceptional ability early in their careers, the award serves to encourage, support, and in some sense nurture youthful talent. The OBIES can help to shine an important light on theater artists who are breaking new ground, or just breaking through in their careers. In addition, the OBIES honor those who have given years of service to the theater with awards for Sustained Excellence and Lifetime Achievement.
Once again, the 2010 OBIES will honor the Off-Broadway theater community by presenting its annual theater grants, announced live at the ceremony.
The evening will culminate with a celebratory after-party featuring live music and art, which will celebrate this year’s honorees. More information on the after-party will be made available soon at obies.villagevoice.com and on Facebook at 
Tickets for The Village Voice’s 55th annual OBIE Awards are $25 and on sale now through Brown Paper Tickets at obies.villagevoice.com. For more information please visit obies.villagevoice.com
About The Village Voice:
Founded by Dan Wolf, Ed Fancher, and Norman Mailer in October 1955, The Village Voice introduced free-form, high-spirited, and passionate journalism into the public discourse. As the nation's first and largest alternative newsweekly, the Voice maintains the same tradition of no-holds-barred reporting and criticism it first embraced when it began publishing. The recipient of three Pulitzer prizes, the National Press Foundation Award, and the George Polk Award, among others, the Voice has earned a reputation for its groundbreaking investigations of New York City politics, and as the premier expert on New York's cultural scene. Writing and reporting on local and national politics, with opinionated arts, culture, music, dance, film, and theater reviews, daily web dispatches, comprehensive entertainment listings, and unrivaled classifieds, the Voice is the authoritative source on all that is New York.
The Village Voice has also created such celebrated events as the OBIE Awards, the Siren Music Festival, and Choice Eats, as well as producing the most anticipated issues and guides of the year, including the annual Pazz and Jop music poll, Best of NYC, and the paper’s Spring, Summer, and Fall Preview guides. The Voice is New York's most influential must-read alternative newspaper, both in print and online at www.villagevoice.com, where the site averages 2 million unique users each month.
###

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spanish Connections

I've been reading a lot lately. That's what I do when I'm writing a lot.

I came across a bound copy of the galleys for The Shadow of the Wind, left over from my days as a book reviewer for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Miami Herald, and syndicated at the time by Knight Ridder (me, not the novel). It's a brilliant, gripping, literary tale by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and translated into English by Lucia Graves.

Ms. Graves is the daughter of the late great poet Robert Graves, who I once had occasion to visit in Deia, Majorca. (That's a long story worth recounting some day.)

Anyway, I did the Google thing and found Lucia's website and sent her an email. Turns out she also translated Zafon's second adult novel "The Angel's Game" and a young adult novel that will be published in the US soon The Price of Mist. Lucia lives in London much of the time now, but still has a home in Deia.

I loved The Shadow of the Wind on various levels. It's an absolute masterpiece of storytelling. It's set in Barcelona, and there are a number of scenes in the book set in my old neighborhood there. I have not read The Angel's Game, but it's now on must read my list (It's also set in Barcelona).

Then my dear old friend Gustavo Palacios, who lives in Madrid and once did me the honor of translating my play "The Secret Warhol Rituals" in Spanish, contacted me with news of a web TV series titled Invisibles, which he produced and directed in Spain and Istanbul. Since it's 85% in a "Picasso mouth" style of English, and the rest is subtitled, I thought to link it here. Enjoy!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Well, that was easy enough

Over a 24 hour period, nearly 5,000 people demanded Ann Magnuson's reinstatement on FaceBook, and the admins relented. She's back. Not much of a saga but then what is on the internet?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

ANN MAGNUSON BOOTED FROM FACEBOOK


Genius performance artist and actress Ann Magnuson was booted off FaceBonk [sic] for posting this tribute photo to the Roxy Music "Country Life" album cover.

THIS is a link to the group demanding she be reinstated.

THIS links a GeekWeek article about it.

THIS links to a Dangerous Minds article about it.

If she's not reinstated by tomorrow, I'm posting the "offending" photo for my profile pic, in protest.

Meanwhile, this should be banned, too.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

SIXTEEN TONS -- The Miners song

Living here on the edge of coal country, exiled to Appalachia by the plutocrats that run American theater, I break out the guitar or ukulele and play this tune whenever I hear of miners dying or trapped. I learned this song on the uke when I was six years old, or so the story in my family goes. Anyway, it seems I've been playing ever since. Here's the original:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Still alive

I'm approaching the midway point (or so) of a writing project. Knocking out 2000 - 3000 words a day and not much juice left for the blog. Also, spending a couple hours a day practicing music, writing a cycle of new songs. And it's baseball season.

But I will post regular updates, and I've got a couple Plexus art opera stories left. Stay tuned.

Monday, April 5, 2010

MURDER, PLAIN AND SIMPLE

Please watch this video. The crew of the helicopter should be prosecuted for murder. They lied so they could shoot some people. Then again, maybe they were bored and should be forgiven.



For some reason part of the video is cut off. Here's the link so you can view full screen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0&feature=player_embedded