Saturday, November 22, 2008


Remember the old meme about going to page 56 (or whatever) of the nearest book & typing in the 5th sentence (or what have you). It always seemed dull to me. But I am "facebook friends" with a boy (man, now, for sure) that I went to high school with. I had a huge crush on him but he was way out of my league AND younger than me. No dice.

He is a glass-blower now.

He posted the meme and got these results:
  • The color of joy.
  • Feeds on fish, small mammals, and other prey.
  • Our balance, the horizontals we want to achieve, come out of the interaction of movement in three planes: the knee moving forward, the elbow moving sideward, and the head moving upward.
  • In fact, several psychologists argue that the tendency to respond to items on the basis of characteristics other than content may be minimal.
  • It is the attachment to the results and the assumption of the existence of an actual responsible individual that cause the problems.
  • Brush border enzyme (embedded in the plasma membranes of microvilli).
  • More vigorous varieties of gourds can get quite heavy and are likely to need more substantial canes.
  • Although he is not actually discouraging interest in the flat, he likes the status quo.
  • My mother of course saw clean into the marrow of those dreams, and laughed.

My mother is no doubt laughing now.

Back to Junot Diaz....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pure Poetry, Alaska style

via Andrew Sullivan, a quotation from Sarah Palin's communications specialist, Kate Morgan:
Other issues facing the state — what some people consider to be inaccurate — how would I put that — listings of certain Alaskan animals as endangered or what is that second term that they use? They’re at risk? No… That’s not the technical term. Anyway, there’s two listings there specifically dealing with polar bears and there’s also the issue with beluga whales. So there’s different things and the issue there is of course wanting to provide a substantive lifestyle for our first Alaskans here which are the indigenous people and also wanting to protect our environment wanting to be good stewards to that and to take care of the animals that make Alaska. What it is however if they are improperly categorized then that can run snags on other types of development that would benefit not only people of Alaska but the world such as depending on certain kinds of drilling that we do off-shore either or people are in a hurry to list groups of whales as endangered or at risk than that might impede the progress that we’d be making to free or to lighten the the load that America has us obtaining oil from overseas. Emphasis added
I don't know whether to be amused or alarmed by the utter lack of knowledge--and lack of embarrassment about that lack. Or the free-floating "also" and "anyway" and "of course" as filler. Or all the sentences that begin one way and then veer off in an entirely new grammatical direction.

Putin may not be rearing his head, but literate people everywhere have their sights trained on Alaska. Oh Alaska!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Woolf's Play, "Freshwater"

It's a banner year for Woolf in New York. Here is yet *another* Woolfian theater piece upcoming, with a premier on January 25th. I've pasted in information from the press release. This is, they tell me, the first professional production of "Freshwater" in the U.S.
Women's Project and SITI Company present Virginia Woolf's Only Play
Directed by Anne Bogart
Previews Thursday, January 15, at 8:00pm
Opens on Woolf's 128th B'day Sunday, January 25, at 7:00pm
NEW YORK - Women's Project and SITI Company are not afraid of Virginia Woolf or of her only play never seen on a professional stage in New York, the 1923 comedy Freshwater. Freshwater will open on Virginia Woolf's 128th birthday, Sunday, January 25, at 7:00pm after beginning previews Thursday, January 15 (for a run through Sunday, February 15) at Women's Project, 424 West 55th Street.

Women's Project Producing Artistic Director Julie Crosby has wanted to produce Freshwater since first she discovered the comedy a dozen years ago while teaching at Columbia University. Anne Bogart, with whom Dr. Crosby worked on Laurie Anderson’s Songs & Stories from Moby Dick ten years ago, was the first director she approached for this adventurous project. Presented by Women's Project and Anne Bogart's SITI Company, Freshwater is a theatrical escapade set in a Victorian garden on a summer evening. Woolf, who wrote this play for friends and family, creates a deliberately witty and wacky universe peopled with a tribe of artists, friends and lovers in a playful mood. Written in 1923, revised in 1935, Freshwater has never been produced professionally in the United States. "The characters in Freshwater - Julia Cameron, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Ellen Terry and the others - had tremendous significance for the Bloomsbury Group, of which Woolf was a founding member," said director Bogart. "In this production, our challenge will be to channel the humor, intelligence, talent and giddiness of the original Bloomsbury group and deliver it to a 2009 audience."

Anne Bogart, one of the most celebrated directors of our time, is the Artistic Director of SITI Company, which she founded with Japanese director Tadashi Suzuki in 1992. A professor at Columbia University, she runs the Graduate Directing Program. Recent works with SITI include Who Do You Think You Are, Radio Macbeth, Hotel Cassiopeia, Intimations for Saxophone, Death and the Ploughman, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, La Dispute, Score, bobrauschenbergamerica, Room, War of the Worlds, Cabin Pressure, War of the Worlds - The Radio Play, Alice’s Adventures, Culture of Desire, Bob, Going, Going, Gone, Small Lives/Big Dreams, The Medium, Noel Coward's Hayfever and Private Lives, August Strindberg’s Miss Julie, and Charles Mee's Orestes. She is the author of a book of essays entitled A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art and Theater and the co-author with Tina Landau of The Viewpoints Book: A Practical Guide to Viewpoints and Composition. Her newest book of essays is And Then You Act: Making Art in an Unpredictable World.

Women's Project in collaboration with SITI Company presents
Virginia Woolf's FRESHWATER
Directed by Anne Bogart
January 15 - February 15, 2009
Visit for details!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Obama Mix

A week ago, I sat in my office, knowing that it would be a L-O-N-G weekend of hope and worry. I needed a new mix for my iPhone to get me through Tuesday and beyond. I decided to make an Obama mix that would make me feel fierce and inspired; something to give me the courage to keep working whilst awaiting election results, something to boost me at the end of a long day, something both tough and idealistic. I started with the Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” and knew I would end with Springsteen’s “The Rising.” Lots of the Jackson 5 in the middle because that’s been sounding good to me lately. Today, I added the Sondheim song that I blogged about yesterday and Shirley Horn’s version of “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” I did download CocoaTea’s reggae hit and the new, but they’re not the best parts of the list in my view: still, it was worth the .99 cents times two to have those little snapshots in song. The playlist is swelling and I expect it to be in heavy rotation until January 20.

Some highlights:
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly--Ennio Morricone—because that whistling makes me feel tough.
  • The James Bond Theme (Original Version)--City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra—you have no idea how awesome, in a Clark Kentish way, it feels to be riding a crowded train in my little jacket, burdened down with groceries and papers to grade, with James Bond blasting in my ears. Besides, like Obama, it's just cool. And a little nerdy.
  • La Ronda--Marta G√≥mez—a gorgeous acoustic song, “Dame un besito…”
  • Green Light (feat. Andre 3000)--John Legend—the Starbucks freebie (with $4.06 latte) a few weeks back, but it features the line “Even Steven Wonder got down sometimes” which makes me smile so hard.
  • Galveston--Glen Campbell—which I downloaded when the hurricane hit. It’s a great retro-country song and it reminds me to remember Katrina, to remember the neediest.
  • A Prayer For Our Time--Vusi Mahlasela—I love Mahlasela’s sweet sincerity and this came up when I was searching for the Sondheim so I added it in.
Other suggestions? Several friends sent me links to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”—the Rufus Wainwright version, or a friend singing it himself. What songs have you been singing to celebrate?

I’ll close with a disclaimer: I continue to be proud and amazed at how many of my friends and acquaintances worked at all levels of the campaign. No such work here: with two jobs and two little ones, it was all I could do to boost Obama from this little blog, blog once in a while over at DailyKos, and send all my spare change to Barack. I did what I could. I'm relieved my little was enough and I'm SO grateful to all who did more.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Yes we did! Still smiling edition

Well, we did it: President-elect Obama. What a great week.

I'm still exhausted and overwhelmed. And just now, in my little stolen hour (my husband took the kids to the park), I'm listening to Jonathan Schwartz' very old-fashioned standards on WNYC. Critics say it's like being stuck all afternoon at a stuffy great-aunt's house, but I love all the Sinatra and Sondheim.

He's been playing a version of "It's not Easy Being Green" for weeks, one in which the singer stops to talk & says, "Maybe one day, we'll even have a green president. Hmmm...a president of color...." It's very dear--just as dear and touching as the song has been for 40 years.

Today, though, he opened with Sondheim: "Our Time" from "Merrily We Roll Along."
Something is stirring,
Shifting ground …
It's just begun.
Edges are blurring
All around,
And yesterday is done.

Feel the flow,
Hear what's happening:
We're what's happening.
Don't you know?
We're the movers and we're the shapers.
We're the names in tomorrow's papers.
Up to us, man, to show 'em …

Oh, I'm weeping like a baby. And not for the first time this week. So happy. So relieved.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Yes we can! Hooray! Believe it, dream it, do it.


I did.