Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Presence of Grace - Flannery O'Connor

Every now and then something so amazing comes along that it just makes your week. (Month! Year!) There are only two known recordings on Flannery O'Connor's voice. This is one of them. (Here is the other, btw, of her reading from her essay, "Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction.") It's so perfect and complete, I can scaresely believe it's true. For 37 minutes, she reads the entirety of "A Good Man Is Hard To Find." 

Living in the UK, I don't often get to hear the kind of Southern voice I love so much; the kind that scarcely makes it into any dramatic interpretations or impressions of Southern accents, but is what I hear in my mind when I think of my family and my childhood summers in Georgia. I was always very proud that Flannery O'Connor was from Georgia. And proud to be from there myself because that was where she was from. I don't care what anyone else might say while trying to be modern or clever, women writers with Georgia roots are where it's at, people. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Drinking on Friedrich Engels' Stoop - Primrose Hill

With all this unadulterated beautiful weather, I've found it impossible not to spend huge portions of every day outside, exploring all the places that are only fun in beautiful weather. It's really been amazing. I sleep with my windows open. I wake up to the sound of birds chirping. And the air fools me for a minute in my dream-state into thinking I've woken up somewhere in Los Angeles County... the air morning fresh with the scent of flowers and just a little bit of smog. 

Nothing like a beautiful day to make you want to day-drink with friends. I've hit up Hyde Park, Highbury Fields & Primrose Hill all in the last few days. Here is my little Friday afternoon spent with fellow academics and pseudo-Americans. We walked through Camden and over the bridge to Primrose Hill. We hung out in a pub on the steps of Friedrich Engels old house and ate organic licorice and drank tall boys and talked about boys. And, you know, ideas and stuff. We're phd students. We have range. 

I did not see any primroses. I did not see any celebrities. These being the two things I most expected to see there, for obvious reasons. What I did see was a fantastic skyline view and sunshine that just wouldn't quit. I forget how these Northern European summer days last forever. Already the sun isn't going down until after nine o'clock. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Royal Affair

No, not those royals. (Though I'll be talking about the Royal shenanigans this weekend.) What's going on with my Denmark kick these days? First Agnes Obel, and now Denmark is reeeeally wedging their way into my heart with a costume drama tale of forbidden royal romance and crazy kings! Is there anything better than that?!? I think not. 

I saw a billboard for this flick in the tube on my way to Hyde Park this weekend and knew I'd be seeing it as soon as possible (when it comes out June 15th). A Royal Affair is the tale of the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark and the poor girl, the British Caroline Mathilde, who married him, dealt with him and died tragically at age twenty-three.

She eventually gave birth to two children who were both recognized as the king's, but... this movie tells a different story. The king is cray-cray and they bring in a physician to deal with him and hopefully reconcile the king and queen. The physician is obviously rugged and capable and hot (at least, in the movie version. In real life, he at least had the virtues of being capable and sane.) Eventually, the physician's enlightenment ideas come into play and when the king's mental health deteriorates beyond hope, he ends up effectively runs the country. The whole thing devolves into chaos and and deposed authority and death at an early age... everything I could ever want!  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Your fight is not with them Yours is with your time here

Don't be scared to walk alone
Don't be scared to like it
There's no time that you must be home
Sleep where darkness falls
No, your fight is not with them
Yours is with your time here
Dream your dreams
But don't pretend
Make friends with what you are
Give your heart, then change your mind
You're allowed to do it
God knows it's been done to you
And somehow you got through it

Alive the age of worry
Smile in the age of worry
Go wild in the age of worry
and sing worry, why should I care?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Run Your Mouth... I Bet I Can Catch It

Damn fine job, Sara. I've never encountered a more seductive or sultry song about all the liars out there.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

My Vintage London

Let's just say I've spent quite a bit of time on this website examining its fascinating photos. Trafalgar Square in the 50's? Yes, please! I'm especially intrigued by the World War II photos. With the exception of Pearl Harbor, we never saw that war come into our cities like Europe did. I can't imagine taking shelter on the tube tracks or a massive zeppelin above the Thames. And even though there have been tons of movies illustrating these events, nothing is quite like seeing the man on the street's view of the real thing. Also, Bonus website! We're having a heat wave here in London, so here's a throw back to another heat wave-- of the 1920's.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Today We're Younger Than We're Ever Gonna Be - Links

Hey you guys. Hope you have a great weekend. I'm trying to make some major life decisions this weekend. Wish me luck. I wish you way more than that. Ten points if you know where that comes from. 

- Stanley Kubrick's NYC Subway photos
- A sneak peak into next season of my favorite show, Homeland
- Some interesting ideas about intellectual property, fair use, youtube
- What if I lived here?
- As if anything could be better than Wolf Hall! You go, Hilary Mantel 
- More on that Nick Hanauer video/TED thing
- Oh, sigh. Let's keep talking about how the musical is dying
- Oh, and here's how some folks think it can be saved
- More on the sad state of theatre
- Crocheted Roberto Bolano! Just what you've always wanted
- Oooh, yes, WHY is literary fame so unpredictable??
- NPR has the full new Regina Spektor album, right here!
- Did you know homegirl doesn't write anything down??

Thursday, May 24, 2012

love, love, love

After a bit of stalking the Royal Court Theatre box office cancellation line, Gordon and I went to see the new play by Olivier Award winning writer, Mike Bartlett (for you New Yorkers, you can check out his play Cock at the Duke right now.) G had heard good things from his aunt, so we had high expectations. Well, I'll say this: the seats at the Royal Court are amazing. Which came in handy for a two and half hour show with two very long intervals. 

I don't want to come off as more harsh than I mean. I enjoyed much of the play-- that follows an extremely self-involved baby-boomer couple as they rationalize their behavior from the 60's to the early 90's to present day. I was truly excited about the cast (costume drama frequent Victoria Hamilton was the lead woman)-- especially the children, played by one of my faves, Claire Foy as well as George Rainsford. There were some really amazing moments and entire swatches of dialogue-- especially in the first two acts. And the show raised some really valid and interesting generational ideas, and what the responsibilities of parenthood are. 

But by Act III, the parents were so single-mindedly caught up in their own experience, so double-standard-y, so callous-- and to add insult to injury, self-congratulatory about those traits-- that the farce of their behavior was almost too much for me to take. This may be exactly what Mike Bartlett wanted, but I think he had some lose ends. Neither of the younger actors had more than one note to play after Act II and the brother relationship that dominated Act I is never brought back home in any satisfying way. 

A previous production of the show featured another costume drama fave, Daniela Denby-Ashe, and knowing that now, I keep going back and re-envisioning scenes with her in them. I'm guessing she'd be equally formidable, but a bit more sympathetic. 

I'm a very big fan of love. But to me, this show was not about love. Let alone love, love, love. Love is not anything like the selfish stuff I saw on stage last night. Or for that matter, what I see mostly walking around calling itself that these days.

In any case, I was thrilled to go &  still recommend the play to anyone lucky enough to swing some tickets. All the reviews have been favorable and there is much to appreciate. In fact, I think I enjoy the ruminating and dissecting as much as the watching. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

And for once in his life, it was quiet

No matter how you feel about John Mayer-- his antics, his music, or his personal growth project-- when he's on, he's on. Personally, I think his new album Born & Raised is pretty on. Especially this one song, which just forced me to pay attention. I believe that some songs are more special. Not necessarily better, but more special. They occupy a more real story telling space. A more specific truth. When people (often) ask, "why musicals" "why a song there?" it's nice to be able to point to examples-- even in pop music. The places where only the song could tell you exactly who that person is, in the shortest time, with the fewest, truest words. 

Walt Grace is a fictional character that John Mayer made up. That doesn't matter at all. I know exactly who he is. I'd know him on the street. I know the part of my own self that is him. And I know the part of John that is him. 

It's kind of a weird song, right? But to me, it's in the same way that Patty Grffin/Dixie Chicks - Top of the World is weird. And very very present. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Saturday at the Victoria and Albert Museum

On Saturday, my pal Helen invited me out for some Kensington fancy lunch and a trip to the ballgown exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Helen is a newer friend, but she was described by at least one close friend as "The Scottish Version" of me, so... pretty promising, right? She said she wasn't sure I'd want to go and I said, "Dude, you had me at Ball gown."

Well, that panned out, and in fact, we spent so long at lunch that by the time we finally showed up at the V&A, the Ballgown exhibit was sold out for the day (it was opening day, after all. Oops.)

Even thwarted, we had a good time wandering around the beautiful gardens (I vowed to come back on a day with better weather to eat outside and actually catch the ballgowns.) I also have a tendency to like art museum gift shops better than the art itself. I know I'm not alone there. And I imagined coming back to the V&A's sprawling shop when I'm rich to deck out my house with their cool stuff. (One such cool print: London Fields: No Underground. Get Over It.  Word up. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

The New Favorites - Agnes Obel

Danish singer/songwriter Agnes Obel is kind of captivating, right? Why is she looking at me so intently? And who does she remind me of? Someone I can't quite place. Maybe that's part of the whole appeal. A kind of deja vu-- a do I know you from somewhere-ness. 

Maybe it's because she shares a birthday with my mother. I'm always intrigued and a little frightened of Scorpio women. At least at first. There's a lure, but you get the sense you shouldn't get too comfortable. With Agnes Obel though, it's tough not to put on "Philharmonics" and just relax. She even finds a way to further relax Elliot Smith in her cover of his "Between the Bars." You want to trust her. 

Especially when you find out her list on influences goes a little something like this: Roy Orbison, PJ Harvey, Joni Mitchell, Debussy, Ravel, Erik Satie, Alfred Hitchcock and Edgar Allan Poe. There's another famous Dane, who-- if he were living in contemporary times, not to mention, real-- might list that lot as inspirations too. Sounds like a bit of a recipe for Hamlet, no? Anyhoo.

The Scandos have really been taking over my musical consciousness for the past few years-- in totally different ways. But they are rapidly becoming the new classics for me. From Lykke Li, to First Aid Kit, to the once and forever favorite, Robyn. I'm adding Agnes to that list. Thanks, Scandinavia. Keep those hits coming. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Discoveries - A Hoxton Walk

Something about London feels actually infinite. In a way that no other city I've lived in-- not New York, not even Tokyo-- could even approach. Even your neighborhood, even the neighborhoods around you wind and weave in and out with side streets and alley ways and more tucked away than you could ever hope to inventory in any kind of comprehensive way. 

Even a trip to the NHS, two days in row--- they do make you wait-- can prove an adventure in walking and discovering how much is packed in the space between you and the next two overground stops. Dalston Junction to Haggerston to Hoxton. Once home to moated manor houses and the ambassador to Portugal with his own private Catholic Chapel. Once home to London's madhouses. It's easy to look at each repurposed warehouse In Hoxton and imagine a many-storied past.  Urban decay alongside Urban renewal. There's a lot to appreciate. But isn't there always? If you're paying attention? Hope you're having a lovely Sunday. Hope wherever you are, you're paying attention.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Would it be much better if I knew nothing about you

When I heard that Milo Greene was releasing the album version of my favorite song, 1957, on itunes early, I got pretty excited. I don't know that I'll ever like any version as much as the the downtown live version that first made me fall in love with this band, but I'm happy I have a whole album to look forward to later this summer. They are pretty awesome summer music. And I'm hoping there comes a day real real soon where I get to see them live. 

Enjoy! Hope you're having a great weekend! 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Rebuilt & Rebuilt Links

What a crazy week. I've been writing and schlepping and living. Love it. There's no stopping. Just rebuilding and rebuilding. That's how we do. Don't have much else to say. Let's go straight to the links. 

- this very cool room planner site
- insightful article about our over-propped lives
- remember when I said I thought I was Megan. More on Megan from Mad Men. 
- I have a LOT of pic apps for iphone. Why can't I find the one that does this.
- For several years, I've watched Grey's out of habit. Last night's finale, things finally got too tedious.
- I want this desk (slash everything from soooo badly.  
- Boobs!
- Suri's Burn Book!
- Nathan Hanauer's 'almost-banned' TED Talk. Short, but very valid: "Rich people like me don't create jobs. Jobs are a consequence of an eco-systemic feedback loop between customers and businesses. And when the middle classe thrive, businesses grow and hire. And business owners prosper."

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Be still my tech-loving heart! An instagram camera that takes, edits and prints the pics right there. Please let this exist and please get me one! As of now, it's just a concept from ADR studios, but I'm hoping this gets put on shelves real real quick. ADR isn't the only company going after the idea. Breakfast, an NYC-based company is also doing a location-based instagram printing idea, but it's not quite as portable and mostly for party and event situations, or printers stationed in various places that you can print to using your location services on your iphone. They tried to fund the half a million dollar endeavor on kickstarter. It was unsuccessful, but maybe they'll try again. Wouldn't it be cool to have free picture printers in places throughout beautiful cities? Kind of like the "Play Me, I'm Yours" street pianos? Also not a shabby idea.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Listen all ya'll kiddos, this is Sabotage

If there's one thing I love, it's kids pretending to be adults. This MCA tribute featuring kids acting out the Sabotage video made my day. the words of one commenter on the video... "words cannot describe how this made my heart squish." I concur. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tigerlily Is Two!

My favorite weirdo kid is two! I was so crazy yesterday with meetings that I didn't devote the proper attention to the wonderful milestone that is another year of life for the kid I feel is somehow a little bit mine. Happy Birthday, Tigerlily! (Sorry this is a day late!)

I will never stop telling you and anyone who will listen what its like to watch someone being born. How peaceful it is, in spite of all those movies we've all seen with people screaming. I love that Tigerlily's birthday is so close to Mother's Day. And that my memories of her coming into the world, the idea of Emily as a mom, of me taking my place as the kind of surrogate mom that I myself was so fortunate to have a few of-- these new ideas are eclipsing my feelings of loss and sadness that have always marked that holiday for me. 

Emily says Tigerlily is a first-rate weirdo. And I say that's just her destiny. And ours. Thank you Miss Tiggs, for being born and giving me a glimpse of how great it is be a mother. Even if its just an eccentric Auntie-Mother a few times a year. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

London Reflected

Remember when I lamented London's lack of an New York Magazine equivalent? Well, I still think that. But I have to admit the Londonist is pretty great. From their Top Ten lists (you know I love lists) to their weekend activity breakdowns to their photo series, the site makes me appreciate London when I'm there and miss it when I'm away-- like today. 

I loved this series London Reflected. Way to accentuate the positives side of three weeks of straight pissing-down rain, guys. Also check out Aerial View London and London's Doors. Hope you're having a great start to the week!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Dreamy Scrapbook

Despite one of my best friends/most astute film critics I know calling it "a coffee table book of a movie" (and though I hated to admit it, I agreed) Jane Campion's Bright Star remains one of my favorite films. When I need to calm down or just generally feel better, I put it on while I try to sleep or just watch on these frequently rainy days. I watch for the scene with the billowing curtain, for when they sweep the tattered butterflies into the dust bin, most especially for all the moments when they read Keats's poems and letters. 

I suppose that's why I made my own scrap book out of Jane Campion's scrap book. Her site is now defunct, but it seems I'm not the only one who loved it's dreamy moods. Something about the fact that the site no longer exists seems fitting, doesn't it? Makes it all the more romantic? I think Keats himself would have appreciated that kind of ephermera. The same guy whose tomb says "here lies one whose name was writ in water."

As I contemplate a lot of big decisions coming up for me on this Mother's Day in the US, I wish I had a bit more time to daydream to Bright Star. At least this work and wind in St Andrews will keep me busy and  thoughts of mothers at bay. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Can You Do the Cannes Cannes?

Cannes is pretty much all I've had on the brain lately. And today, I'm off on a trip! But not to Cannes. Up to Scotland to satisfy that other side of my life-- the academic. I'm meeting with some other professors about the program and boy are they going to get an earful from me. (More on that later.) I've never been to Cannes, but France is sort of calling me back lately. And I have some friends who live around there, so perhaps I'll cash in some of my sky miles soon and make a trip. 

While I travel ever-so-glamorously by bus, I thought you might enjoy these shorts made by the company I've been working for. I've embedded one below and here's another in French, if you're feeling sassy. Hope you have a great Saturday!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Will it Ever Stop Raining? Friday Links

Still raining here in London. You know it's bad when you attempt an escape to Scotland for better weather. Which is exactly what I'm doing this weekend when I head up to St Andrews for my year-end phd meeting. A little coastal sunshine will hopefully be a good replacement for... Rome. Here's the links!

- The 10 Most Insufferable Men of TV. Thanks, Riese. I love the mashed potatoes & dry wall.
- Musical Pat Kiernan
- It's Foster Kamer day! Here's his excellent piece on why Pippa should move to Brooklyn
- This! You gotta love those Keenan-Bolgers
- Obviously I love Paddington. This movie possibility made my day.
- I've got these BA sky miles burning a whole in my pocket. Man, I want to travel.
- The Granta British Issue Came out yesterday. Check out this wild promo video they made for it. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

London On Foot - Chelsea Embankment

So you might have heard by now that I've started some part time work for an independent film production company called Morphe Films (Please give them a little 'like' if you like). Their offices are in the Chelsea Embankment, on the other side of London from me, so I have about an hour long commute. I've been enjoying the chance to read on the subway for long periods of time, as was my custom in New York. But the best part of the journey is the nearly twenty minute walk from Sloane Square through Chelsea to Cheyne Place

Recently, I've found some cool websites about walking London. But my favorite is this little blog who even did an entry about my daily walking area. Through them, I also found this cool little Walking London vid. Enjoy! It's almost the weekend. 

I also like this Hampstead Walk- another of my favorite London places.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Some Thoughts on Maurice Sendak and North Carolina

Are there any children of the 80s not deeply impressed upon by Where the Wild Things Are? Rest in peace, Maurice Sendak. He passed away yesterday due to complications from a stroke. Also yesterday, the state of North Carolina passed an amendment banning gay marriage. The last time North Carolina made an amendment to their constitution regarding marriage, it was to ban interracial marriage. 

Maurice Sendak never told his parents he was gay. But he lived with his partner for 50 years. In New York, he could have been married. In North Carolina, it would have been illegal. I have a hard time even being able to move past that. 

Thanks for the memories, Maurice. 

“Certainly we want to protect our children from new and painful experiences that are beyond their emotional comprehension and that intensify anxiety; and to a point we can prevent premature exposure to such experiences. That is obvious. But what is just as obvious — and what is too often overlooked — is the fact that from their earliest years children live on familiar terms with disrupting emotions, fear and anxiety are an intrinsic part of their everyday lives, they continually cope with frustrations as best they can. And it is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming Wild Things.” 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Echo Friendly - Same Mistakes

Watching HBO's Girls, so far, has been an exercise in ambivalence or at least fence-sitting for me. Until last night when I think the central issues of the show were crystallized better than the show had done up until then. 

I still think Lena Dunham doesn't need to write, produce, and direct every episode, (over. kill.) but if she's responsible for the selection of the awesome Echo Friendly song, "Same Mistakes," then I'd be pleased to see her name as music supervisor as well. Excellent choice. 

I can't wait for this Greenpoint-based duo's full album. I'm rocking this tune on a rainy, allegedly Spring London morning on my way from Dalston to Chelsea for work. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Weekend in the Country

Many thanks to the birthday girl, Susie, for being born so we could celebrate at the lovely Dripwell House in Northamptonshire! About 20 of us headed North or South (depending) for "camping," dining, and reels. We had delicious meals, a 1982 vintage port (1982 clearly being the world's most superior year) got a little rowdy during the reels and got no sleep. Just the way a weekend in the country should be! 

As per usual, I was thrown all over the dance floor and have the arm bruises to prove it. But despite the sore joints and lack of sleep, good friends and a good long walk (with lambs!) can make everything better. Kudos to Susie and fam for the awesome time. Non-kudos to the British rail system who routed and re-routed us about 4 times through Rugby, etc etc and made a 1:15 trip back to London last four hours. At least we got to nap! Hope you're all having a great start to your week!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

You Can't Handle the Tooth - Curious Johnson

So I know I've been promising you there was a toothfairy musical for... um, years. But we're finally ready to show you a song from our klutzy, matchmaking toothfairy musical. It's a bit ELF meets The Little Mermaid, which is partially why we got crazypants singer and former Broadway Ariel herself, Chelsea Morgan Stock to sing "Why Not Me" with adorable Kathy as The Kid. 

In the actual Curious Johnson: The Toothfairy Musical (that's her name, the Toothfairy) The Kid is a boy, and on an accidental encounter with said kid, whose mom has recently died, our matchmaking fairy falls in love with the kid's young, studly dad. Also, tries to get the kid one more day to spend with his mom. Problems ensue. 

But before that, the Smartass Kid and the Smartass Fairy engage in a Believe-Off when the kid says he doesn't believe in magical creatures. There are still some tweaks I want to make on this. But, eff it, let's go on a believing spree! Just one more thing: TWO ceiling-high key changes, thank you very much, Miss Stock. Okay. Chelsea, Kathy, hit it:

Saturday, May 5, 2012

"Release Me" into wonderwild - New Nic & Alix

Of all the songs we had on deck (and of all the songs we PREMIERED!) at Lincoln Center, I was perhaps most excited to let this one out of the bag. I'm super proud out it. Perhaps because it did not come easy. I'm normally a fast writer. I edit for a long time, but the primary chunk, the main idea-- the heart and soul of what the song's lyrics are going to be-- pretty much all happen in about fifteen minutes. That sort of makes me feel like a brat just saying it, but it's mostly a "don't force it" kind of situation.

Anyhow. This was not one of those fifteen minutes get in/get out kind of things. We knew we wanted a song about a certain feeling of change that Alix feels when she's brought to the brink. Years of stress and hiding her son's illness and just in-your-bones fear that she'd lose the son and heir she waited ten years for. The political scene is precarious and relies heavily on her son being perceived as the future of Russia. 

Also, she's a bit of a religious zealot. Highly interested in mystics, etc, but I mean, cut her some slack. I'd probably be pretty desperate to put my faith in anything I thought would work if I had a sick kid too. 

When the song begins, she's been told it's basically the end for Alexei and only a matter of time before he's gone. She's essentially begging for grace. And then, mid way through the song, she receives a telegram from a mystic who would change the course of her family's lives. The telegram was simple: just to leave the boy alone; to not fuss over him too much. And sure enough, his health improved and from that moment on, Grigori Rasputin was adopted into the Romanov family with catastrophic results. 

We wanted to simulate the feeling of a telegraph and morse code signals, so listen for that. And Steven and I kept circling around what the central 'idea' of the song should be. I kept saying, nope, nope, not quite right; a little too general. And finally, I had it and went away to birth this one. A difficult labor. But happy with the results. I felt a bit like the emotions expressed in the lyrics themselves by the time I was done. 

I wish I'd filmed the sound check which was pretty much flawless. This is marathon, labor of love five minute anthem to sing. And we're still streamlining scansion and tempos. Also, it's a good lesson to not have favorites in your own lyrics. Lyrics will always be flubbed for the rest of time and eternity. And chances are, if you have favorites, it'll be those. "So many prayers unanswered, bargains made and nights unslept, your words fold the space between promises broken and kept" will turn into a repeat of the last line. And no one will know but you. 

The best thing about Autumn is that I cease to care about what I wrote and only feel the emotion of her performance. Which is... the point, actually. Which she has always, always been a master of. Every time. I look forward to much much more of this song and Autumn. And this show and Autumn. of the most beautiful people all around, of all time. 

Like Nic & Alix on facebook here. Photos by Daniel Robinson

Friday, May 4, 2012

Gettin' Busy Friday Links

Being busy is so much more fun than relaxing. I'd always rather have too much to do than not enough. Let's get to work! I've got some exciting things coming up-- more info forthcoming-- and I'm off to the country this weekend. Today I was asked which Mad Men character I thought I was... and to the surprise of myself... I answered Megan. For the record, I think my eventual goal is to be Bert Cooper. 

This week, I also successfully mimicked by my favorite meat sauce and Tagliatelle dish from Market. Moments where I expand my culinary repertoire and don't poison myself are always little jewels in my life. So are the moments when you connect with people who get you and who you get in return. Big things coming up! In the meantime, enjoy the best of what the internet had to offer this week:

- Mad Men vs Game of Thrones drink off. Seems close, but guess who wins. 
- Hate-watching Smash. I agree with every word of this. 
- Yes to ideas, but I still think they need prizes. Thanks.
- Awesome guide to instagram filters so you can shoot like your fave director.
- Things Franzen actually likes
- Speaking of which, NOOOOOO... HBO cancelled the The Corrections. So depressed. 
- Downton Delirium in Granta
- Letters of Note. Memorable letters. I found this while reading a snarky Harlan Ellison letter. 
- One of my fave bands, Milo Greene, is finally releasing an actual album this summer. Here's the first single. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Diva President at Lincoln Center

They say you can please some of the people all the time, or all of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time. This is especially true in lessons of popularity and politics. The answer to this dilemma is to be Beyonce. Which is what our character, Nikki, decides to do in VOTE! 

Here is the fiercely hoop-earring'ed Nikki Kimbrough & Co jamming out "Diva Prez" last month at Lincoln Center. 

Photo by Shoot Me Peter

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Road Turns, I Grow: Knock for Knock

Some things make me miss Japan... and this is one of them. A friend of mine posted this the other day, and even though I have no interest in cycling per se,  I was totally drawn to it. I miss the light in Tokyo. I miss the lonely crowds. I miss how the city occupies the strange space between the masculine and feminine. This time of year, when everything is made pink by scattered sakura. 

Maybe I've just been to jealous and living vicariously through Jon Schu's recent trip to Tokyo, but I loved this video, Knock for Knock. I loved the music by Glaswegian band Mogwai.  I especially loved the animation at the end by Rebecca Strickson . And the subtle shift into English. I miss speaking Japanese. Everything sounds like poetry in Japanese. Who wants to go back with me?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Some Thoughts on Juxtaposition on Tony Nomination Day

Happy Tony Nomination Day, everyone! I couldn't be happier for the folks from Once, who racked up 10 nominations, for Celia Keenan-Bolger, and most especially for the wonderful Jeremy Jordan on his Best Actor nomination for Newsies. Couldn't happen to a nicer or more talented guy. (Check him out singing in one of my favorite recordings of our songs ever, right here #3.)

The Tonys are a nice yearly reminder of why we're still in this game. Why we struggle on. Another set of folks who have a real knack for reminding us all where the inspiration is are the title of show folks, seen below singing about their "First Time" at a Broadway Show. Susan & Hunter's first shows are two of my favorites-- two shows that never fail to make me cry, but for very different reasons. 

The below is also an amazing lesson in juxtaposition. And how the right juxtaposition creates a kind of really special synergy. Anymore, it's hard to create something completely new that makes people feel something. But that is the point and always will be. To make people feel something. The real feeling of what it means to be alive-- which, let's be real: equal parts Annie & Angels in America is about as close a metaphorical cocktail for that as I can think of. 

What starts as comedy here, as something so light-hearted, something that takes itself so lightly becomes the reason. The reason why we do this. The life and death, and the life and art juxtaposition. 

I dare you to watch them hold up Annie next to Angels in America-- talk about Summer & Fall, the sun will come out "Tomorrow" and the light in Central Park at Bethesda Fountain and living with and dying from AIDS-- and not feel what they want you to feel. And not feel what you felt the first time you ever hoped to make a difference by working anywhere in the arts in a modern society that increasingly doesn't take what we do seriously or lightly. I dare you to do this-- the moment at 6:41 when Heidi's voice cracks after what Jeff just said, the moment just after that when "ice in the pipes" has the double force of both Jeff and Susan, and how the key change happens on "but in the Summer..." 

I was not prepared to feel what I felt at this juxtaposition. That's why it works. The silly art folks willing to try anything to throw us off our carefully guarded balance, to get in there and make us feel something. 

We are not going away. The World only spins forward. The sun will come out tomorrow. The great work begins. Leapin' Lizards. 

Why Stop Now?

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