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Saturday, May 29, 2010

"I Can't Kiss Me"

I like this video and Jenna Torres' performance so much that, instead of simply linking, like the other day, I'm blogging the vid. Click, listen, enjoy!

Friday, May 28, 2010

IN MEMORIAM

To my fellow veterans and my fallen comrades-in-arms, I salute you.
The fault was not ours. It was a failure of leadership.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

AMOS POE'S PARTY STARRED JENNA TORRES!

Last night my friend Amos Poe had a promotional party for his new film.

He asked me to play some tunes a couple days ago, so of course, I showed up. Man, am I glad I did. Not only did Amos and I get to spend some time together, but I got to hear the amazingly talented, lovely and brilliant singer songwriter Jenna Torres. WOW! I'm not a big country music fan but this woman transcends the genre.

Here's a link to her video EPK

Here's a link to a music video of "I Can't Kiss Me"
-- her latest tune. Not so coincidentally, Amos Poe directed the vid.

It was a great evening. Special Thanks, once again, to Mike Anton for the photos!
(He's really a cartographer -- click here.)





Jenna Torres entertains the crowd at Amos Poe's party for his new film.


Uke Jackson whoops it up musically.



The Unknown Playwright and film director Amos Poe in the East Village last night.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

BRUINATION

A juvenile black bear -- not a cub but a yearling -- wandered into the back yard yesterday and drove the dogs crazy. I tried to get a photo but s/he was gone before I could get the camera out.

Meanwhile, it reminded me of this sonnet I wrote several years ago when New Jersey announced plans to allow bear hunting. It first appeared on the Op Ed pages of two Pennsylvania (where we have always had bear hunting, unfortunately) newspapers -- The Morning Call in Allentown, and the Philadelphia Inquirer..

BRUINATION
Spring moon bear drives the dogs nuts tonight.
He wrecks bird feeders at neighboring
Houses without hounds. Talk of the town,
That bear. Of course, there are many bears
Some folks are saying government should
"Do something!" Do what? Kill off the bruin?
Drive one more species into ruin?
Chemical lawns replace miles of wood
To appease sprawling middle class cares.
Do we need more houses up and down
The valley? More bulldozers laboring
But no black bears lumbering through the night?
Stop suburban blight and unchecked bloat.
I say we enfranchise bears. Let them vote!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Are You FOR Sacrificing Clean Drinking Water?

Are you believing these stupid TV commercials promoting clean, safe natural gas. It's all about fucking energy execs getting richer, at the expense of clean drinking water supplies for more than 15 million Americans.


PLEASE SEND A LETTER (info below).

LETTERS NEEDED TO STOP “EXPLORATORY” WELLS IN MARCELLUS SHALE; and remind them of your opposition to proposed Stone Energy Gas Permits!


Hess Corporation is getting permits from PADEP to drill shale gas wells in Wayne Co., PA. Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) is not requiring that these “exploratory” wells get approval from them. We can’t let these test wells go forward without DRBC approvals! No shale gas wells have been approved yet in the Delaware River Watershed.

THANK YOU to the 2000 people who sent letters to the DRBC regarding the commencement of shale gas drilling in the Delaware River Watershed. The comment period is closed on proposed natural gas permits for Stone Energy along the Lackawaxen River, a major tributary to the Delaware, but the DRBC is still listening and won’t be voting until July 14 at the earliest on Stone’s permits; please keep telling DRBC NO PERMITS by sending a letter now. See sample below.

Until a cumulative analysis of the impacts of natural gas development on the Delaware River, its water supplies and ecosystems has been completed so pollution and degradation can be PREVENTED, until natural gas-specific regulations are adopted by the DRBC (these are underway), until hydraulic fracturing is regulated to protect drinking water (the FRAC Act has been introduced in Congress and USEPA is studying “hydrofracking”), NO PERMITS SHOULD BE APPROVED by the DRBC, regardless of whether they are test wells or production wells. BOTH will harm our Watershed.

14 gas drilling applications are in the works at PADEP in Wayne County in the Upper Delaware. These wells will have direct adverse impacts on the environment and the resources of the Delaware River and its tributaries as production wells. These wells MUST be subject to the same DRBC scrutiny as any natural gas well; let’s not let them slip in through a loophole.

The Executive Director Determination issued by the DRBC May 2009 determined that “as a result of water withdrawals, wastewater disposal, and other activities, natural gas extraction projects in shale formations may individually or cumulatively affect the water quality of Special Protection Waters by altering their physical, biological, chemical or hydrological characteristics.” Although exploratory wells were not included, it is crucial that they now be covered. These test wells have the potential to pollute and degrade resources just like production wells. Pollution events at one well not covered by the DRBC’s review already resulted in toxic contamination of an area in Oregon Township, Wayne County. For DRBC to ignore these wells is letting Hess get its foot in the door without adequate regulation.

PLEASE send a letter to the DRBC asking them to take responsibility for these and all natural gas wells in our Watershed. The future of the water supply for more than 15 million people and the precious ecosystems of the Delaware River Watershed are at stake! You can use the sample letter below or write your own. But please take a minute to register your opposition to these test wells and the Stone Energy permits for withdrawal of .70 million gallons of water per day and a shale gas well NOW.

Commission Secretary, DRBC
25 State Police Drive
P.O. Box 7360
West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360
fax (609) 883-9522
Paula.Schmitt@drbc.state.nj.us


SUBJECT LINE: “Public Comment – Stone Energy Dockets” AND NO NATURAL GAS TEST WELLS WITHOUT DRBC APPROVAL


Dear Delaware River Basin Commission Members,

I am writing to ask that the DRBC take responsibility for all natural gas well projects in our Watershed. You have determined that shale gas wells have the potential to impact the water resources of the Delaware River. “Exploratory” or “test” wells can have the same adverse impacts on the Delaware River’s Special Protection Waters that production wells can. The clearing of the land, construction of the well pad, the building of an access road and storage basins, the drilling and development activities that a test well requires, are all the same as a production well. Drilling muds and other dangerous materials used in gas well drilling contain toxic components (even before “fracking”) and the construction of a well indelibly transforms the land and can adversely impact water quality. Pollution at one test well (Robson gas well, Oregon Twp., Wayne Co.) not reviewed or approved by the DRBC last year has already caused documented pollution to the environment.

PLEASE recognize that you have authority over these test wells and can PREVENT pollution by taking a precautionary approach to these wells. PADEP is reviewing permits as I write. Please tell all natural gas project applicants that they are required to meet your current regulations to protect Special Protection Waters and the River, including test wells.

I also am opposed to the Stone Energy Dockets D-2009-13-1 and D-2009-18-1because of the environmental liability they pose and ask that they NOT BE APPROVED.

I am counting on you to exercise your authority and protect the water supply for over 15 million people and the irreplaceable ecosystems and resources of the Delaware River and its Watershed. Please exert jurisdiction for all test and exploratory wells in the Delaware River Watershed NOW before wells are drilled and damage is done.



Sincerely,



_____________________________________________________________________
Signature Print name



______________________________________________________________________
Address


Blogging at http://www.delawarerivervoice.blogspot.com

Your support counts!
As a member, you will receive our quarterly newsletter, River Rapids. As an E- Activist, you are the first to receive action alerts ≠ enabling you to have the latest, most up-to-date information on issues that affect the River and our quality of life in the Delaware Valley, as well as learning the many ways you can get involved and help make a difference. Become a member of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network!
http://delawareriverkeeper.org/donate/joinus.asp

Friday, May 21, 2010

More from the Delaware Riverkeeper

Natural Gas Challenge Filed with

Delaware River Basin Commission by

Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Nockamixon Township



West Trenton, NJ - Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) and Nockamixon Township, Bucks County, PA have jointly submitted a hearing request concerning a decision issued by the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to allow a gas well in Nockamixon Township to move forward without DRBC review. The administrative challenge was submitted to the DRBC on May 21, 2010.

DRBC recently issued a moratorium on natural gas well approvals but the agency excluded exploratory wells from the moratorium. The exclusion of exploratory wells was protested by DRN in a May 3 letter and at the May 5 DRBC public meeting. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) recently renewed Arbor Operating LLC’s permit to drill and operate a gas well, Cabot #2, in the Lockatong Shale formation in Nockamixon Township, Bucks County, on Rapp Creek, which flows to the Wild and Scenic Lower Delaware River and DRBC’s designated Special Protection Waters. DRN and Nockamixon Township jointly appealed that permit on May 18, 2010. DRBC issued an April 21, 2010 letter to Arbor notifying them that the gas well application they had submitted was no longer necessary since the well was an exploratory well and the water to be used was not substantial. This action is the subject of the administrative challenge filed today by DRN and Nockamixon Township.

According to the Request for Hearing, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Nockamixon Township oppose the decision based on the potential for environmental degradation and pollution to the Special Protection Waters of the Lower Delaware River and community concerns including:

• The Cabot #2 well is not intended solely for exploratory purposes yet DRBC has determined not to review the project, which is inconsistent with DRBC’s Executive Director Determination that natural gas wells that will eventually produce gas will be reviewed and that water withdrawals, wastewater disposal and other activities related to natural gas extraction could adversely impact Special Protection Waters;

• DRBC’s inconsistent prior communication with Arbor that required the Cabot #2 well to be reviewed by DRBC, despite its so-called “exploratory” purpose;

• DRBC has substantially shifted its policy on the “definition” of “exploratory wells”, requiring a broad review which has not occurred;

• There is no consideration of the potential environmental harm from “exploratory” wells such as pollution, stormwater runoff and stream and river degradation from changed land use, wastewater disposal and water use, and stream and river flow diminishment and alterations.



“DRBC is not fulfilling its responsibility to protect the River’s Special Protection Waters from degradation. All natural gas projects, including so-called ‘exploratory wells’, have the potential to pollute and degrade the River, its tributaries and watershed and DRBC must prevent that from happening. DRN is compelled to force this issue legally to stop the ‘exploratory well’ charade that could ruin our chances to save the River from the threats of gas drilling”, said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper.

Delaware Riverkeeper Network attorney Elizabeth Koniers Brown explained further: “By allowing ‘exploratory’ wells to be converted into production wells, DRBC is creating an enormous loophole and inviting gas drilling to begin in the watershed without proper oversight. DRBC’s position on this issue threatens to undermine the measures it has recently taken to regulate gas drilling.”

"Nockamixon Township will continue to fulfill its responsibility to ensure that proper environmental standards are respected. We are hopeful that DRBC will revisit this action so that these highly risky activities do not proceed without proper review and oversight,"

said Jordan Yeager, Solicitor, Nockamixon Township.

For more information on natural gas drilling in the Delaware River Watershed, go to www.delawareriverkeeper.org

###

Thursday, May 20, 2010

More post-Obie Awards

Michael Feingold, who heads up the Obie committee as chief drama critic for the Village voice,has a column today that examines the notion of "Golden Ages" in theater. The second half of the column starts with an appreciation of Annie Baker's Circle Mirror Transformation, one of the 2 plays she had on the boards this season which led to her winning the Obie for Playwright.

Then Feingold posits the idea that we are currently living in a Golden Age of Acting, and no one is paying attention. This paragraph struck me as particularly worthy of quoting, especially in light of all the recent blogging about who is making a living and who is not.

"Will anybody notice, apart from the few, like me, whose duty it is to do so? I don't know. I wish I could see New York learning to value and cherish its own. The era of mega-profits, now apparently over, and of digitized communication, now degenerating into Tweeted triviality, have given us bad cultural habits. We've grown used to mistaking monetary success for value and logo recognition for meaning. Unlike England, which cherishes its artistic tradition, we've always tended to toss aside a previous generation's favorites in pursuit of the next big thing. This carelessness with our own goods creates an aesthetic vacuum, which Art, like Nature, abhors. London and Hollywood only step in to fill the gap our inattentiveness has left."

You can read the whole thing by clicking here.


More appreciation for our actors, and for our playwrights, is in order. We all work, as one Obie recipient put it Monday night, for the promise of becoming a "dozenaire". With all the endless prattle about arts education, the over-funded studies that prove what we all know (artists aren't getting rich making original theater in NYC) and silly surveys of salaries based on who knows what, the basics -- good acting and good writing -- often get overlooked.

There's also a slide show of more Obies photos, in case you haven't had enough yet. Click here to see it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The OTHER Ukulele Strumming Playwright

I just discovered that Stephin Merritt and I have something in common besides being playwrights, songwriters, and ukulele players. We share the same birthday.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

MORE OBIES PHOTOS

Mike Anton was also working his lens for "The Unknown Playwright Speaks" at the annual Obie Awards ceremony, and our guest blogger Gustavo Palacios made the following selection from Mike's snaps.


Uke Jackson with last night's Obie winning Playwright Annie Baker.

The Unknown Playwright air kisses with the Three Graces - - so Eighties!!!



Anika Noni Rose was co-host of the evening.

FELA! The Musical

Taylor Mac -- he plays the ukulele, too.

The Unknown Playwright with the brilliant musical star Michael Cerveris, who was the co-host for the evening.

Uke Jackson with his dear friend, Gail Parenteau, publicist extraordinaire!

OBIES PHOTOS by Gustavo Palacios

WELCOME TO OUR GUEST BLOGGER: Gustavo Palacios, playwright and director (and long time friend) was one of the photographers for The Unknown Playwright last night at the Obie Awards. Gustavo, an Argentine by birth, is in town from his home in Madrid, Spain. A dozen of his photos are below.

The Unknown Playwright with Wendell Pierce, star of the HBO series 'TREME. Wendell was cast in the Nederlander Television production of Uke Jackson's (f.k.a. Steve DiLauro) play "Avenue Z Afternoon" when he adapted it for a GM Mark of Excellence presentation back in 1992. It was one of Wendell's first jobs in TV.


Uke Jackson with playwright and Andy Warhol confidant Robert Heide.


Uke Jackson and Carmen Kovens from the Lincoln Center Festival.





Uke Jackson with Lee Breuer and his partner Maude Mitchell. "I actually became a bit tongue tied at meeting this genius of American Theater," said The Unknown Playwright.


A scene from the Broadway musical FELA!


The Unknown Playwright with Adriana Spencer (left) and Erin McGuff.




Rocco Sisto with his Obie award certificate for Sustained Excellence in Performance



It was a super evening with free Stella Artois beer, free TEANY, and free fruit and nut bars from KIND. Mainly, as always, it was the people who dedicate their lives to creating art for the theater who made the evening great.

Webster Hall deserves a big thanks for hosting and sponsoring the Village Voice Obies,

OBIE WINNERS



Off Broadway’s Highest Honor

                      2010 VILLAGE VOICE OBIE WINNERS ANNOUNCED

The 55th Annual Village Voice OBIE Awards were presented on Monday, May 17, 2010, at a ceremony held at Webster Hall in Manhattan. Co-hosted by Michael Cerveris and former OBIE winner Anika Noni Rose, the awards were presented by J. Smith Cameron, Marin Ireland, Linda Lavin, Hamish Linklater, Michael Shannon, and Jennifer Westfeldt.

Entertainment for the ceremony was provided by the cast and band of the Broadway musical Fela!, including Tony nominee Sahr Ngaujah, a 2009 Obie Award winner for his performance in the show’s title role during its previous Off-Broadway engagement. The performance was introduced by former OBIE winner Lillias White, currently playing "Mama Kuti" on Broadway. Antibalas, the nationally acclaimed, Brooklyn-based Afrobeat music collective to which Fela!’s band members belong, performed at the after-party that followed the ceremony.

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.” His numerous roles Off-Broadway include Hedwig in the Obie-winning musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. On Broadway, he most recently won acclaim while starring in Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) . His many previous starring roles on Broadway include John Wilkes Booth in Sondheim’s Assassins, and the title roles in both The Who’s Tommy and the John Doyle production of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd.

(over)
Informally structured, with no strict categories, The Village Voice OBIE Awards             honor excellence in every aspect of theater. Unlike most other entertainment awards, The Village Voice OBIE Awards publish no nominations. In the conviction that creativity is not competitive, the judges may give multiple OBIEs in any category, or even invent new categories, to reward exceptional artistic merit.

The Voice’s chief theater critic, Michael Feingold, who chaired 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 included Voice critic Alexis Soloski and four guest judges: Andy Propst of AmericanTheaterWeb.com and TheaterMania, who also served as secretary to the committee; Kristin Marting, co-founder and current Artistic Director of HERE Arts Center, productions at which have received a total of 14 Obie Awards; Ralph B. Pena, a founding member and current Artistic Director of Ma-Yi Theater, a 2003 Obie Award winner for his work on Ma-Yi’s The Romance of Magno Rubio; and three-time Tony Award nominee Martha Plimpton, winner of a 2001 Obie for her performance in Hobson’s Choice, and currently filming a recurring role (Atlantic Theater Company).

OBIE WINNERS 2010

The Sustained Achievement Award
David Greenspan

Best New American Play (w/check for $1000)
Annie Baker, CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION and THE ALIENS

Performance
Ensemble, CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION (Playwrights Horizons)
(Reed Birney, Tracee Chimo, Peter Friedman, Deirdre O’Connell, Heidi Schreck)

Dane DeHaan, THE ALIENS (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater)

Jonathan Hammond, THE BOYS IN THE BAND (Transport Group)

Marc Damon Johnson, THE BROTHER/SISTER PLAYS (Public Theater)

Laurie Metcalf, A LIE OF THE MIND (The New Group)

Wendell Pierce, sustained excellence of performance

Juliet Rylance, AS YOU LIKE IT (Bridge Project/BAM)

Rocco Sisto, sustained excellence of performance

Playwriting
Enda Walsh, THE NEW ELECTRIC BALLROOM (Druid Theatre / St. Ann’s Warehouse)

Directing
Sam Gold, CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION (Playwrights Horizons) and THE ALIENS (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater)

Pam MacKinnon, CLYBOURNE PARK (Playwrights Horizons)

Design / Music

Steven Dufala and Billy Blaise Dufala (machine design), MACHINES MACHINES
MACHINES MACHINES MACHINES MACHINES MACHINES (rainpan 43 /
HERE Arts Center)

Stephin Merritt (music & lyrics), CORALINE (MCC Theater)

Tyler Micoleau, sustained excellence of lighting design

Neil Murray (sets and costumes), Malcolm Rippeth (lighting), Gemma Carrington and Jon Driscoll (projection design), BRIEF ENCOUNTER (Kneehigh Theatre / St. Ann’s Warehouse)

Special Citations
Ariane Mnouchkine & Théâtre du Soleil, LES ÉPHÉMÈRES (Lincoln Center Festival)

Taylor Mac, THE LILY’S REVENGE (HERE Arts Center)

The Ohio Theatre

Hoi Polloi and Rachel Chavkin, THREE PIANOS
(Hoi Polloi: Alec Duffy, Dave Malloy, and Rick Burkhardt) (Ontological)

Philippe Quesne and Gaëtan Vourc’h, L’EFFET DE SERGE (Vivarium Studio / Under the Radar)   

Chris Wells, SECRET CITY

The Ross Wetzsteon Award (w/check for $1000)
Foundry Theatre

Obie Grants

Harlem School of the Arts

Ontological Incubator

Vampire Cowboys

For more information about the Obie Awards, and a complete winners list, please visit: www.Obies.villagevoice.com

Thanks to our generous sponsors: Stella Artois and Webster Hall.
 This year's charitable partner of the Obie Awards is Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

OBIES OBIES OBIES!!!

Monday night the 55th annual Village Voice Obies, founded by Jerry Tallmer in 1956, will be held at Webster Hall in Manhattan. The Obies are my favorite party every year. They are an awards ceremony honoring excellence in Off and Off off Broadway theater. Some serious partying also takes place.

This year there will be performances by members of the cast of the Broadway hit FELA!, a show which began Off Broadway. (I became a fan of the African revolutionary musician Fela Kuti and his music while living in Berkley, CA in the 1970s.)

There's also a great after-party with music by Antibalas and more music from the cast and band of FELA!.

The awards are Co-hosted by Anika Noni Rose and Michael Cerveris.

AND THIS YEAR -- ANYONE CAN BUY TIX FOR EITHER OR BOTH THE AWARDS CEREMONY AND THE AFTER_PARTY!!!!

For info on tix to the party, click the Obies website.


See you at the party!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

NONE BUT A BLOCKHEAD… And a Big Black Bear

Dr. Samuel Johnson once said "None but a blockhead would write for other than money." Larry L. King, author of the underlying story and the book for "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" used "None But A Blockhead" as the title of a memoir. Anyway, I've pretty much ALWAYS subscribed to this philosophy.

When I was eight I wrote a poem and sent it to the Saturday Evening Post. There were 2 sections of the magazine that included verse back then. The editors wrote back that they would like to publish the piece in the section that didn't pay. I declined the offer. I should clarify that at age 8 I'd never heard of Dr. Johnson. I remember thinking that if anybody else was getting paid, I should, too.

Anyway, I've been trying to reconcile blogging with this "mission statement" if you will. At first I had Google Ad Sense but that was a joke at their rates. It would be a hundred years before I got $20.

Yesterday, out of the blue, I got an email from a company that sells theatre and concert tix. They offered me a flat monthly fee to add a permanent tag line on this blog’s home page, with links to their site. They've been following the blog for awhile and tracking the hits and that led to the offer.

It's not a huge amount, but it is enough for dinner and drinks for two once a month at the Minisink Hotel, my favorite country dive bar. So I accepted.

Welcome to my blog, VividSeats.com. The only thing I know about their service is that they exist, and they’re paying me, and that’s good enough for me.

I may be a cheap whore but at least I'm not a blockhead.

Now, about that bear – at about 7:30 this evening I went out on the deck and there was a HUGE black bear in my backyard. I ran in the house and grabbed the first camera at hand, which I afterward realized was a film camera, as opposed to digital. I went back out, went down into the yard, and got off a couple of quick snaps. The bear looked at me and slowly walked up into my woods and disappeared.

Funny thing is, yesterday I was wondering when a bear would make an appearance here. My house is grandfathered in a 38,000 acre national fish and wildlife refuge. I always see at least one bear on the property in the spring.

Proximity to a bear is still very much a thrill. Probably always will be. I can’t imagine being jaded about bears. Nothing like a bear to get the adrenaline pumping.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

CRYING IN THE BARN


All right – I did not really cry. But I damn near did. Yesterday I had to go into my barn and search for a copy of of the manuscript for River Tales, a series of stories I wrote back in the 1990s which became a series of recordings for public radio stations, and after that CDs. My new agent is working on getting me a book deal, which would be sweet. I wrote the stories for my kids when they were growing up. As CDs they got rave reviews from all sorts of publications. There was a feature about them in Newsweek. And the American Library Association named me one of the top ten recording artists for children at one point. 

Obviously, I wasn’t near tears over that.

Nope. I found what I was looking for without a lot of hassle. But in the process, I opened some boxes. There I found so many scripts it was dizzying – screenplays that I wrote that were seen by one producer and by the time I got a reply, I was onto something else and couldn’t be bothered; plays that I wrote but never submitted anywhere or only to one theater.

There’s a TV sitcom series that Bertrand Castelli and I wrote together that would still be viable but for the same problem we ran into when we wrote it – Hollywood ageism (and B.C. is dead and I’m sure not any younger).

There’s a screenplay about two brothers beset by mobsters on the Erie Barge Canal (contemporary) that I totally forgot I’d ever written. Who knows if it’s any good?

I’m talking about dozens of scripts just sitting there because I used to get so frustrated with the submission process and the idiot in Hollywood who was my agent couldn’t be bothered with me most of the time, unless he was visiting Manhattan and bugging me to score him some coke ( a drug I never really understood the allure of – give me opiates over that, and weed over everything else -- though all I can afford these days is the occasional glass of wine).

Then there was a box of poems, songs, and stories; and another box of proposals and like that. I’m talking about bank boxes full of this stuff. Yards of files. Dozens of scripts. An operetta complete with score that was never submitted anywhere. I must be insane.

Then there were the boxes of stuff I did get produced and published. Magazine articles, short stories, scripts, scripts I doctored back in the 1980s

Here’s the wacky thing – about fifteen years ago, when my parents sold their house, I had a similar number of boxes of short stories and poems and like that – all rejected – in the folks’ attic. I dumped them all into a dumpster back then. I was so pissed off at being broke I didn’t want some academic in the future finding a trove of my writing and making a career out of parsing my unpublished works. That’s how I thought back then. (I kept all the scripts, though; seems I can don’t have it in me to throw out a script.—yet.) Nowadays I just shake my head in wonder at my persistence.

I just look at the new accumulation and want to cry but don’t. Someday I’ll get an assistant and try and make sense of it all. Or not.

I can only hope this new agent does some serious selling for me. The weird thing is that I still can’t stop writing. It’s like breathing for me. I get up and do it again. Sometimes I wish I’d never been published or produced. I would have quit by now. Sometimes, it takes all my will power to deny myself the needle and spoon.

Yeah. Insane.

Monday, May 10, 2010

BOYCOTT BP

Yesterday, coming home from my brother's house, I noticed cars lined up to get gas at a BP station. A mile down the road, the Sunoco had no lines -- gas was a penny more per gallon there. Sunoco is no great shakes, as a corporate behemoth. But come on, people -- we can do better than saving 20 cents, or 40 cents, or 50 cents on a tank of gas.

The reason there was no blow out valve on BP's oil rig is that the Bush administration allowed it to be built without one. A blow out valve would have stopped the oil spewing from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico pretty much immediately. BP saved a mere half million dollars by not having the valve. That might sound like a lot of money to you or me but it's chump change to these pigs in corporate offices.

Please join me and help put these bastards out of business. Please help spread the word.

Click here to join the Face Book group 1,000,000 People Promise to Boycott BP Forever.

BOYCOTT BP.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

On the nature of open-mindedness and atheism

Derek Sivers is an internet success story. He created a way for musicians to sell their music over the internet without a major label. Then he sold it to a corporation and made himself a bundle of money in the process. (FULL DISCLOSURE: I use this service for selling CDs for the New York Ukulele Ensemble. The music, in case you're interested, is also available here on iTunes. There are also some free downloads on my website.)

Derek took all the money from the sale of the company (more than $20 million, as I recall) and established a not-for-profit foundation for music education. In short, Derek is a great guy. I've never met him in person but we correspond on occasion. He recently got married and, even though he's on an extended honeymoon, has posted an occasional blog story.


In his most recent blog, he recounts a conversation he and his bride overheard in an Oregon restaurant.

He sums up his response as being happy we live in an age when information accessibility make learning easier. And that is a great thing, no doubt. But I think it also about open-mindedness. Read it for yourself here and decide.

Thanks, Derek!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

More from the Delaware Riverkeeper

For Immediate Release                                                      
May 6, 2010                                                                                  
                                                                                                   

Delaware River Basin Commission
Declares Moratorium on Shale Gas Production Wells
 
West Trenton - May 6, 2010 - The Delaware River Basin Commission placed a moratorium on shale gas production wells in the Delaware River Basin.  By unanimous vote at the Commission's regularly scheduled meeting today the Commission decided to postpone action on all shale gas well "dockets" under their jurisdiction until the Commission adopts the natural gas-specific regulations they are developing.  They also voted to direct staff to begin the public rulemaking process for natural gas well pads.
 
The moratorium does NOT apply to water withdrawal applications for gas well development.   The Commission claims they already have sufficient regulations in place to consider water withdrawal applications for natural gas development.  The moratorium also does not apply to exploratory or test wells at this time because the Commission does not “docket” (permit) them; they have decided not to include test wells in their regulatory process, an oversight being vigorously protested by Delaware Riverkeeper Network and others.
 
"We applaud the DRBC for taking this precautionary approach to gas drilling in the Delaware River Watershed. Now rules to protect the Delaware River and its Watershed from degradation and pollution from shale gas development can be put in place prior to the drilling of gas production wells," said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper.
 
"The Commission should next recognize that it must include all natural gas related projects in its rulemaking, including water withdrawals, and that this moratorium should stop all drilling, closing the current loophole that will allow 'exploratory' or 'non-shale' drilling to surge ahead of DRBC regulation. The DRBC has taken a sensible and laudable step today towards keeping gas drilling from running wild here so that a cumulative study of impacts and rulemaking can happen first. The public fought for this "pause button" and the DRBC listened. We will continue to fight for a full moratorium", said van Rossum.
 
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Delaware Riverkeeper Network
300 Pond Street, Second Floor
Bristol, PA 19007
(215) 369-1188 EXT
(215) 369-1181 FAX
Remember the River
   www.delawareriverkeeper.org/remember
The "clean natural gas" touted on television these days comes at the expense of clean drinking water. Dick Cheney put an exception to the Clean Water Act in the 2005 Energy Bill,This exception allows gas companies to pump a chemical cocktail that includes benzene into the ground as part of "non conventional hydrofracturing". 85% of the chemicals remain in the ground. People's wells in northeast Pennsylvania are already testing as poisoned, and families are becoming sick. This is all about profit now for greedy energy executives, just like the Gulf of Mexico oil well crisis. Only 10% of the gas is extracted under this process. Plain and simple, it's not "clean natural gas" if it poisons drinking water.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Writing

Writing another novel. Got a new agent. Busy. Sort of another hiatus.