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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I love the Brits!

GREEN BRIT THEATER REDUX (Click) -- lot of great links and an overview on theater in Great Britain and how folks are striving to make green theater.

Monday, June 28, 2010

SCREW BP

Today FaceBook shut down Bayou Lee's page Boycott BP. Two smaller pages have sprung up, and Lee started a new page here:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-bpARCO/138332356184294?created&ref=mf&v=wall#

The page had reached almost a million members when it was shut down.

BOYCOTT BP!

SUPER KUDOS

On the theater front, a great big hip hip hooray to Mike Bradwell for his post on the Guardian's theater blog today. Substitute the USA for Great Britain and the situation remains pretty much the same -- not-for-profit theater becoming corporate brothels -- though over the pond there is a lot more support generally for theater than here.

On the film front, kudos to my buddy Amos Poe for the super successful alternative fund raising success to finish his new interpretation of Dante's divine comedy. (Please see my post from last Friday for more info and links.) And kudos to everyone who donated.

Last but certainly not least, kudos (again) to Carlos Ruiz Zafon. The last time I wrote about him it was to praise his novel "The Shadow of the Wind". His new novel "The Angel's Game" recently came out in paperback. This should be on everyone's summer reading list. If you love literature, books, intrigue and great storytelling -- this book's for you!  (Both novels were translated from the Spanish by the estimable Lucia Graves.)

At 2 am this morning, when I closed the book and set it down, I had to marvel at the talent and daring of this writer. At a couple of points toward the end of the story, the hairs on the back of my neck rose. That seldom happens anymore when I read.

How Ruiz Zafon managed the exquisite narrative feat that is The Angel's Game is beyond me.

I liked this book so much that I want someone else to read it. So, here's my offer -- the first person to send me their name and snail mail address to uke jackson (at) uke jackson [dot] com (all one word -- you know how email addresses work, and how subterfuge such as this is necessary to avoid spammers and their bots) can have my copy free of charge. I'll pay the (media mail) postage. This offer is good for US readers only. Please tell me in the email if I can announce your name or not.

CAVEAT: reading this at night in the summertime, there are some pages where I squashed tiny flying bugs. I brushed away the minuscule carcasses, and the print is all intact. Just saying so whomever gets this copy doesn't think it's something more disgusting.

Check the comments section, where I will announce that there is a winner.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

AMOS POE -- 50 hours left!

My buddy Amos Poe says that if Obama had been president on 9/11 he would have put Al Qaeda in charge of the clean up operation at the WTC site. Though he was talking about the BP spill, this could be an analogy for the so-called bank reform Obomber is hustling -- and I choose that word advisedly -- through Congress. ("Congress" used to be a polite word for fucking. We playwrights can't help but think of these things.)


Amos, who is regarded as the father of No Wave Cinema, is in the throes of of putting together his cinematic version of Dante's Commedia Divina. It's sure to be brilliant because Amos is brilliant, a true genius. He and his production team are raising money on Kickstarter. Here's the link to his page:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1044939468/a-new-translation-of-dantes-la-commedia-by-the?ref=email
As you can see, he has already well exceeded his goal of $12,000. However, he can use more. The film will be in the Venice Film Festival, and other festivals, and all that costs money for travel, etc.

At this writing there are 50 hours left to join the effort to get this movie made properly. So, if any of the cinephiles and/or poetry lovers who read this blog would like to join Salman Rushdie, Debbie Harry, Patti Astor and a host of others in supporting this effort, please click and contribute.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1044939468/a-new-translation-of-dantes-la-commedia-by-the?ref=email

What are friends' blogs for, after all?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Don't Blame the Brits -- Follow their lead

The news from the gulf is devastating, and the absence of genuine leadership in this crisis is pathetic. Pray? Really? I'm still mulling over that one.

Okay, that's off my chest.

Now here's my point: Don't blame the British people due to corporate malfeasance (CM). We've got plenty of our own CM right here in the USA, and as I've pointed out before, we've got a huge energy-corporations-induced drinking water problem brewing right now thanks to the natural gas extraction industry.

We in the theater ought to take a look at two stories about our British counterparts and realize that those folks are light years ahead of us.


Here's a story about the Arcola Theatre in London, which powers its lighting grid with a hydrogen fuel cell. You remember fuel cells, right? Those thingies that the corporate media and energy industry perception managers tell us won't work, and if they do it would be decades before the technology would have practical applications. So much for that line of bovine excrement. And this story is 2 and a half years old!


Here's a story about a theater that being built in London entirely out of recycled materials. Okay, it's a temporary structure, apparently, but so what. How often do you hear about these sorts of initiatives in the New York theater scene, or elsewhere in America. Mainly what you hear about is not-for-profit theater admins kissing corporate butt to get money.

Bravo for the Brits! And Boycott BP!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

GREAT NEWS!

This announcement that the Arena Stage is putting five playwrights on the payroll is great news! Finally someone has the gumption to put living playwrights to work writing plays, without strings and without dorky administrators standing between them and productions.
RTWTH (click for the article in the Washington Post)

Kudos to all involved!

Monday, June 21, 2010

"GASLAND" on HBO Tonight

Try to see "Gasland" on HBO tonight (Monday) at 9 p.m. EST. Then stay up to watch the filmmaker, Josh Fox, talk to John Stuart on the Daily Show at 11 on Comedy Central. Nothing funny about it. It's about the rush to tear up the country's available shale deposits for natural gas, wreaking havoc and poisoning the water table -- and us -- as usual.

You can't drink $$$ -- especially when they're in the pockets of greedy energy executives!

STOP THE HYDROFRACKING!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Democratic Socialism

I want to make sure I understand this. After Goldman Sachs encouraged finance chiefs in Greece to engage in risky behavior and circumvent their own laws, and the world economy subsequently crashed due to Goldman and the other Greedistas on Wall Street, we're now hearing that economic problems in Greece, Spain, Ireland and Portugal are proof positive that European style socialism doesn't work.

I guess that means the thieves in suits infesting lower Manhattan and corporate board rooms see wealth somewhere in the world that they haven't stolen yet. Once these monsters have all the money, all the mansions, all the sailboats, all the Hummers and other gas guzzlers, they will feel safe from the threat of other people having pensions and health care and food to eat and clean water to drink.

What bothers Wall Street bankers and other members of the corporate plutocracy seems to be that the socialism in Europe is democratic socialism. That means the people their voted those systems into place. That system was working fine until Wall Street poisoned it and then crashed the world economy.

Now, we're hearing about more growth as the answer. Growth for the sake of growth is how a cancer cell operates. That is what Wall Street and multinational corporations have become -- a huge cancer on the body politic of the world. We need to cut it out, remove it, kill it with chemicals if necessary.

Yesterday was the anniversary of Che's birthday. For a long time after I came home from the war in 1971 I kept a poster of him on my wall. I carried a pistol and considered myself ready for a revolution. Then I lived in Europe for awhile and saw what civilization really means. It is not about having the most money and the most toys and fuck everybody else.

I am a green democratic socialist, and I am proud of it. Too bad there is no one for whom I can vote in this country who embodies those ideals. Now I believe in nonviolent revolution. However, it's all lip service, a dramatist being dramatic. 

So, today I honor the memory of a true revolutionary. Happy Birthday, Che!


Monday, June 14, 2010

VAMPIRE BANKERS



Given that Treasury Secretary Geithner continues to fight reform for Wall Street bankers, his true masters, I thought it was time to repost this video we made last March.

Here's a link to a free download of the song on my web page.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

BALLANTINE BOOKS -- I WANT MY MONEY BACK!

The Passage by Justin Cronin is a book sabotaged by ineptitude. I've been an avid reader all my life. Never, in all those years, have I come across a story that falls apart because the author was sabotaged by his editor, proof reader and publisher -- until now.

The Passage is the first book of a trilogy of vampire stories, for which $1.75 million advance is being touted in the media. There was also a $3.75 million movie sale to Ridley Scott's production company. With that kind of money involved, you would think that someone would have bothered to proof read the damn thing.

First let me say that I was really enjoying the read. Justin Cronin is praised as a literary writer, whatever that is, in all the publicity for the book. Now he's supposed to be a commercial writer, and this is supposed to be THE beach read of the summer. Save your money. Beginning on page 268 of the 700 plus page tome, typographical errors cause breaks in the continuity of the story that were enough to make me throw the book across the room in disgust.

Storytelling in book form requires that the narrative flow be uninterrupted by insane distractions in the text. That's what happens in this book. Apparently sentences or whole paragraphs are dropped. Sentences are repeated. A sentence ends on one page and the next page begins at the end of another sentence (paragraph?) with the word "up?" This happened several pages in a row and I quit reading.

At first I tried to read through, but as these repeated errors occur at the outset of a new arc in the narrative, it became too damn distracting. No wonder there are all sorts of horror stories about the state of American publishing. Is anybody doing their jobs anymore? Somebody certainly screwed the pooch on this one. This is a book, not a blog!

I have no idea how something like this is fixed. Do they recall all the books from the bookstores and reprint it? What a waste that would/will be -- resources, money, ecology.

George Stephanopoulos touted it on his morning show. Obviously, he did not read it. Stephen King called in to praise it during the broadcast. He must have read the galleys. (In any case, this book is not "The Stand". It seemed to be going more like "The Postman" when it fell apart due to the errors -- though I have no idea where it actually goes, story-wise,)

I feel bad for Justin Cronin -- unless he didn't proof his own galleys. I feel worse for anyone who plunks down $27 for this book.

Too bad. I was really getting into it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Unknown Playwright really is unknown

So, last Sunday I got up early and drove into Manhattan to attend a seminar on producing for Off Broadway theater. I went with a couple friends who have expressed interest in producing "Cafe Lysistrata".

While there I met a couple of active commercial producers. One of them, a very nice lady, explained to me why it is difficult these days for someone like me: "You're an unknown playwright," she said. "Theater owners want known quantities."

Instead of asking her if she was a reader of my blog, I protested and did the most absurd thing -- I recited parts of my resume. That's what happens when I get up too early.

As to the seminar, I can't say I learned very much. I've heard it all before -- at other seminars and a number of years ago when I took a 20 week course with the Commercial Theater Institute called "Producing for the Commercial Theater." A lot of good that did me.

However, my two friends both felt that seminar was very helpful and thought-provoking. So, maybe it was worthwhile. Maybe we'll see a production of "Cafe Lysistrata" sooner rather than never.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

BUFFERS BENEFIT US ALL -- from the Delaware Riverkeeper

Buffers Benefit Us All — Write your letter today

Support new regulations requiring forested buffers — native trees, shrubs and ground covering plants — on all of Pennsylvania’s high quality streams.

Buffers prevent pollution, prevent and reduce flood damages, reduce the cost of municipal public services while increase municipal tax revenues, increase the market value and marketability of homes, and beautify our communities.

Write your letter today.

http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/act-now/urgent-details.aspx?Id=34


Maya K. van Rossum
the Delaware Riverkeeper

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://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/join/membership.asp

Friday, June 4, 2010

IXION'S WEIMAR BURLESQUE

Last night at Coney Island's "Sideshows by the Seashore" the Ixion Burlesque production of "Weimar Burlesque" had its world premier.

As always, special thanks to our photographer Michael C. Anton (He's really a cartographer.)


Uke Jackson and the maestro of the evening,
Albert Garzon



The author and the lovely Josephine St. James




With Rosabelle Selavy


Uke Jackson with some burlesque fans



The Unknown Playwright and Hudson Jewel


With the chanteuse Adrian Hartley, who interpreted Weill's song for the audience.



Uke and Mlle Lena




The author with Tess Trueheart

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

WEIMAR BURLESQUE


This Thursday June 3, at 9 pm, Ixion Burlesque, the world's oldest burlesque troupe, under the direction of Albert Garzon, will perform "Weimar Burlesque" at Sideshows by the Seashore in Coney Island.

I wrote the dialogue between the songs after reading Weill's bio and a book of letters between the composer and Lotte Lenya, his wife. There are some lovely dancers lined up.

FROM THE FACEBOOK PAGE (click to RSVP)
IXION's "Weimar Burlesque" brings to life Kurt Weill's music written in Germany between 1927 and 1934. The cast of Cabaret Dancers includes many new faces: AUDREY BLOOM, HUDSON JEWEL, MLLE LENA, ROSABELLE SELAVY, JOSEPHINE ST. JAMES and TESS TRUEHART. Vocalist ADRIAN HARTLEY sings as Lotte Lenya with MARK KIRBY on drums and ALBERT GARZON on piano, as Kurt Weill. The script by Uke Jackson is largely drawn from the couple's letters, making this event the latest of Ixion Burlesque's historical recreations.