Friday, March 31, 2006


Cintra Wilson in:


One night only!

Friday, April 7, 2006
Ars Nova

We've switched gears entirely, and now everything is bent toward a fabulous wedding, and following that, GREAT MEN OF GENIUS--both in Seattle, where I'm writing this from. The Seattle PI has this story today on the show, and I'm excited about the momentum building for it--it's going to be great fun.

Many thanks to everyone who came to the final night of THE UGLY AMERICAN at Ars Nova--if I owe you an email or a call, I apologize, as I'm a couple hundred emails in the hole, but I plan on digging out of the trench soon.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tonight's the last night:


Come on down if you're game--here are the details.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

ABC News: Woman With Perfect Memory Baffles Scientists:

James McGaugh is one of the world's leading experts on how the human memory system works. But these days, he admits he's stumped.

McGaugh's journey through an intellectual purgatory began six years ago when a woman now known only as AJ wrote him a letter detailing her astonishing ability to remember with remarkable clarity even trivial events that happened decades ago.

Give her any date, she said, and she could recall the day of the week, usually what the weather was like on that day, personal details of her life at that time, and major news events that occurred on that date.

Like any good scientist, McGaugh was initially skeptical. But not anymore.
Facebook's on the Block:

Facebook, the Web site where students around the world socialize and swap information, has put itself on the block, BusinessWeek Online has learned. The owners of the privately held company have turned down a $750 million offer and hope to fetch as much as $2 billion in a sale, senior industry executives familiar with the matter say.
Love At First Sight

It was a novelty-store and he went in just for the novelty
of it. She was in front of the counter, listening to the old
proprietor say: "I have here one of those illusion paintings,
a rare one. You either see a beautiful couple making love,
or a skull. They say this one was used by Freud himself on
his patients--if at first sight you see the couple, then you
a lover of life and love. But if you focus on the skull first,
you're closely involved with death, and there's not much hope
for you."
With that, the proprietor unwrapped the painting. They
both hesitated, looked at the picture, then at each other. They
both saw the skull. And have been together ever since.

Alan Ziegler

Monday, March 27, 2006

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Saturday, March 25, 2006

From an email exchange between my friend and colleague Aaron Landsman and theater practitioners living in Belarus, who are experiencing the terrible breakdown in fundamental liberties firsthand.

Dear Aaron,

thank you so much for your support and sorry that we didn't answer before...

It is awful... More than 500 people are arrested for the last five days in Minsk, 300 more in the regions. During the night the camp was destroyed. People are arrested. They stayed in different jails along the walls and nobody allowed them to go the toilet. We stayed there every night. Yesterday, when we were stayed for already eight hours and got absolutely freezed, we went home and in one hour I got a call that the camp is destroyed and all people are arrested.

I can not read news anymore because it is just awful. But EU and the states make just statements, but no real sanctions. I think, the sanctions will come into force only if we are killed right in the street. It is absolutely terrible.

Two our assistants to director of the "Free Theatre" are arrested.

People severely beaten up. Most of the people who are arrested in the previous three days are people who were trying to bring blankets, tents and warm clothes.

Your support really help us to continue our fight, but we are not sure for how long time we will have our strengths.


Nikolai Khalezin & Natasha Koliada

PS. as for the "Free Theatre" you can read more about us at our site

Phagwah Festival in Richmond Hill

Microsoft Vista: Not 'People Ready' -

Meanwhile, 500 tech buyers sat there in the dark, their eyes glazing over from the sheer mind-numbing pointlessness of most of this stuff. The audience laughed out loud when the Microsoft guy showed off a kludgey system that lets you fetch Outlook e-mail messages using voice commands from a cell phone.

The system has all the charm of those automated phone systems you encounter when you call customer service: Your call is very important to us. And while it is cool and futuristic to have a computer "read" your e-mail to you, uh, dude--we all have BlackBerrys anyway. In fact, many in the audience weren't even watching the voice-activated e-mail demo--they were checking mail on their BlackBerrys.

…Worst of all, I can't believe Microsoft actually held this big nonevent "event" only a few days before announcing another screw-up in Vista. If Ballmer knew he was about to announce a delay and still had this event, he's crazy. If he didn't know Vista was about to slip again, then Microsoft is in worse shape than anyone realizes.

Friday, March 24, 2006



Full ticket details here.
Logged Hours: My lunch with Frank McCourt (or, why teaching is a thankless job):

Me: Mr. McCourt, do you keep in touch with any of your former students?
FMcC: They keep in touch with me.
Lunch guests: (laughter)
Mrs. FMcC: Tell her about the Moose story, Frank!
FMcC: Oh, the Moose story.
Lunch guests: Yeah! Moose story! Yeah! (incomprehensible mumbling)
FMcC: Alright, alright. So I was walking along the street one day, and I ran into one of my old students, who came up to me. He said, "Hey, Mr. McCourt! Remember me? I was one of your students!" and I said, "Yeah, Moose Klein, I remember you." So he says, "Yeah! I was in your class at Stuy!" and I said, "Yes, Moose, I know."
"I was in your creative writing class!"
"YES, Moose, I know."
"I was in your creative writing class for a year and a half!"
"Moose! I know!"
"Yeah, I was in your class for a year and a half, and because of that I'm a poet. And now I'm starving, so FUCK YOU!"

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Lila's Halo of Disfigurement
Originally uploaded by chauss513.
The Stranger | Seattle | Arts | In Arts News | In Art News:

Becky was the first artist I ever wrote about. She was the brilliant, nonconforming valedictorian of our drab suburban high school, and when we went to the same college, I reviewed her beguiling photographic portraits for the campus newspaper. That was 11 years ago. Last week, I stayed with her in New York, where I went to navigate the sea of contemporary art at the Whitney Biennial and the Armory Show. Becky stayed home. She is an unhappy, financially struggling, full-time mother of two, contemplating whether she should simply lower her expectations. She is no longer an artist, and art is no longer in tune with her life.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Titelbild Neu
Bruce Bethke | Freelance Writer:

So the Deal with the Devil works like this: in exchange for your writer's soul, you get offered the chance to do a book that is almost guaranteed to be a huge, best-selling, commercial success. Confronted with this, most writers think "Okay, I'll do just one. Then, once I've got a best-seller on my resumé and the fans know who I am, I'll go back to doing "real" books."

Of course, as in all deals with the devil, there's at least one hidden catch, and the most important one is this: if the book is a huge, commercial, best-selling success, it gets credited to the media franchise that spawned it, whereas if the book tanks, it gets blamed on the writer. The other major catch is that there turns out to be little or no cross-over in readership. People who buy media tie-in books very rarely pay attention to books set outside of their favorite movie or TV universe. For example, Mike Stackpole tells me that fans send him email messages all the time gushing, "I've read ALL your books!" when what they really mean is that they've read all his STAR WARS books, and have absolutely no clue that he's written anything else and no interest in anything else in any case.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Monday, March 20, 2006

Internet Archive: Details: Experiments in the Revival of Organisms:

This disturbing film records the successful experiments in the resuscitation of life to dead animals (dogs), as conducted by Dr. S.S. Bryukhonenko at the Institute of Experimental Physiology and Therapy, Voronezh, U.S.S.R. Director: D.I. Yashin. Camera: E.V. Kashina. Narrator: Professor Walter B. Cannon. Introduced by Professor J.B.S. Haldane.
The Surprising Truth About Ugly Websites:

Ugliness has never looked better. I have spent the last few days examining a surprising trend in web design that has made ugly websites look absolutely irresistible. No, its not the bolded, 18 point Times New Roman font shouting at me as I access the page that has me excited, nor is it the harsh colors that have actually managed to make my eyes hurt and distort my vision. In fact, its not even that logo which is so pixelated from being processed, resized, saved, and edited so many times that it appears to be blurred to protect the identity of the company who owns the website that has me singing the praises of ugly websites. What is it?

Ugly sells.

That's right – ugly websites are surprisingly effective in making money. As a person who puts business before technology, a profitable website is a website is an unbelievably attractive website to me.
Wild Life in First Hill

The landing between floors looks out onto a veranda. "This veranda, that's where they used to put the bears. About 1910, a logger came to the front door and had a baby bear in each hand. They were newborns. He gave them to my great-grandmother. Pretty soon they were just galloping around the house. That veranda was their playpen.

"Family members would take them for a walk around the neighborhood. They were black bears. They got to be big in about 10 months. They were very friendly. Never threatened anybody, but they didn't know their own strength. They were so glad to see anybody who came to the front door, they'd just throw themselves on people like a dog.

"So my grandfather took them to Woodland Park. Later, my mother would take me to the park and point them out and say, 'There, dear. There's our bear.'
Yahoo! TV News & Gossip -:

"South Park" has declared war on Scientology. Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of the animated satire, are digging in against the celebrity-endorsed religion after a controversial episode mocking outspoken Scientologist Tom Cruise was yanked abruptly from the schedule Wednesday with an Internet report saying it was covert warfare by Cruise that led to its departure.

"So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun!" the "South Park" creators said in a statement Friday in Daily Variety. "Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies... You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail!"

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Boing Boing: Marvel Comics: stealing our language:

Marvel Comics is continuing in its bid to steal the word "super-hero" from the public domain and put it in a lock-box to which it will control the key. Marvel and DC comics jointly filed a trademark on the word "super-hero." They use this mark to legally harass indie comic companies that make competing comic books.

A trademark's enforceability hinges on whether the public is likely to associate a word or mark with a given company -- in other words, when you hear the word "super-hero," if you think "Marvel and DC," then Marvel will be able to go on censoring and eliminating its competition.

One way of accomplishing this dirty bit of mind-control is by adding a ™ symbol after the word "Super-Hero." That TM lets the world know that you claim ownership over the word it accompanies. If you can get other people to do it, too, eventually you may in fact get the world to believe that the word is your property -- and then, it becomes your property.
An Actress Upstaging Her Talent and Ibsen - New York Times:

This quixotic idea arose after a recent visit to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where I witnessed Cate Blanchett and the Sydney Theater Company merrily desecrate Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler" before an audience that didn't seem to notice (or care) that a classic play was being publicly kneecapped.

On the strength of Ms. Blanchett's film-derived fame, the monthlong run of the production is entirely sold out. Forlorn-looking youngsters are lining up for returns at every performance. The audience buzzes with anticipation before the lights go down and rises to its feet with delight when the famous gunshot brings Hedda's torment to an end. They are obviously happy to play their ordained role in this event, which is less a serious interpretation of a classic text than a public encounter with a real live movie star.

Avid theatergoers who have not managed to obtain a ticket shouldn't lose any sleep. What they're missing is Ibsen transformed into a three-ring circus, with Ms. Blanchett presiding in the center ring, giving a performance that would be merely silly and self-indulgent if it were not also scandalous.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Nostalgic, kickass rock video of the day:

Blondie - Picture This (Live 1978)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Explaining the faux Irish pub revolution:

Ireland, as much of the world knows it, was invented in 1991. That year, the Irish Pub Company formed with a mission to populate the world with authentic Irish bars. Whether you are in Kazkhstan or the Canary Islands, you can now hear the lilt of an Irish brogue over the sound of the Pogues as you wait for your Guinness to settle. A Gaelic road sign may hang above the wooden bar and a fiddle may be lying in a corner. As you gaze around, you might think of the Irish—O, that friendly, hard-drinking, sweater-wearing people!—and smile. Your smile has been carefully calculated.

IPCo's designers claim to have "developed ways of re-creating Irish pubs which would be successful, culturally and commercially, anywhere in the world." To wit, they offer five basic styles: The "Country Cottage," with its timber beams and stone floors, is supposed to resemble a rural house that gradually became a commercial establishment. The "Gaelic" design features rough-hewn doors and murals based on Irish folklore. You might, instead, choose the "Traditional Pub Shop," which includes a fake store (like an apothecary), or the "Brewery" style, which includes empty casks and other brewery detritus, or "Victorian Dublin," an upscale stained-glass joint. IPCo will assemble your chosen pub in Ireland. Then they'll bring the whole thing to your space and set it up. All you have to do is some basic prep, and voilà! Ireland arrives in Dubai. (IPCo has built several pubs and a mock village there.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Schneier on Security: Basketball Prank:

Victoria was a hoax UCLA co-ed, created by Cal's Rally Committee. For the previous week, "she" had been chatting with Gabe Pruitt, USC's starting guard, over AOL Instant Messenger. It got serious. Pruitt and several of his teammates made plans to go to Westwood after the game so that they could party with Victoria and her friends.

On Saturday, at the game, when Pruitt was introduced in the starting lineup, the chants began: "Victoria, Victoria." One of the fans held up a sign with her phone number.

The look on Pruitt's face when he turned to the bench after the first Victoria chant was priceless. The expression was unlike anything ever seen in collegiate or pro sports. Never did a chant by the opposing crowd have such an impact on a visiting player. Pruitt was in total shock. (This is the only picture I could find.)

The chant "Victoria" lasted all night. To add to his embarrassment, transcripts of their IM conversations were handed out to the bench before the game: "You look like you have a very fit body." "Now I want to c u so bad."

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Reading About Reading: Naomi Wolf, YA Slut - Gawker:

We practically soiled our Sevens, dirtied our DVF and tarnished our town car with excitement over Naomi Wolf’s essay on the rise in popularity of young adult slut fiction, aka books in the “Gossip Girl,” “A-List” and “Clique” series. We’re not gonna front here; we’ve definitely, definitely spent some hours in the young adult section of the bookstore, sitting up against a wall with a Gossip Girl book strategically masked by a copy of the New Republic. Call it soft-core porn, call it cliterature, but there’s nothing like reading about a bulimic 16-year-old Spence girl having sex in the service elevator of her Fifth Avenue apartment building, high on her alcoholic mother’s Percocet.
Veronicavarlow Arts & Entertainment | SXSW starts to swing:

Undoubtedly "Danny Roane" has cult-movie potential, but all the reasons that might happen are bad ones. Let's put it this way: James Van Der Beek plays himself in this film, or at least himself playing the lead character in Danny's autobiographical film, an alcoholic actor suffering from an unexplained bloody anal discharge. Not enough butt for you? Later in the film we see Dick himself passed out naked on TV actress Maura Tierney's front lawn, with a black Labrador eagerly exploring his hindquarters. Like most other reporters, I fled the Austin Convention Center's hall after the screening, and so missed the Q&A session in which Dick reportedly humped an audience member's head while mumbling vile obscenities. Maybe that'll show up on DVD, fans -- but some distributor will have to buy the film first.
Guardian Unlimited Books | News | Blood on the red carpet:

The people connected with Brokeback Mountain, including me, hoped that, having been nominated for eight Academy awards, it would get Best Picture as it had at the funny, lively Independent Spirit awards the day before. (If you are looking for smart judging based on merit, skip the Academy Awards next year and pay attention to the Independent Spirit choices.) We should have known conservative heffalump academy voters would have rather different ideas of what was stirring contemporary culture. Roughly 6,000 film industry voters, most in the Los Angeles area, many living cloistered lives behind wrought-iron gates or in deluxe rest-homes, out of touch not only with the shifting larger culture and the yeasty ferment that is America these days, but also out of touch with their own segregated city, decide which films are good. And rumour has it that Lions Gate inundated the academy voters with DVD copies of Trash - excuse me - Crash a few weeks before the ballot deadline. Next year we can look to the awards for controversial themes on the punishment of adulterers with a branding iron in the shape of the letter A, runaway slaves, and the debate over free silver.
Wal-Mart and the Shanghai Pirates:

When executives from Warner Bros. heard Wal-Mart's DVD-to-order proposal in Bentonville, Ark., last year, one of its home entertainment executives pointed out that, with present technology, the delay for the customer might be as long as a half hour before he could pick up the DVD. "Great. Could you make it an hour?" the Wal-Mart executive shot back. From the point of view of Wal-Mart, the DVD need not make money itself, as long as it serves to draw—and keep—potential customers in its stores. The remaining issue is the amount of the licensing fee per copy that the studios will charge. The current proposal under discussion of $3 to $4 for older movies is not much below what the studios are now getting (after manufacturing costs) for the DVDs they sell to Wal-Mart. But once the studios agree to the scheme, they would be hard-pressed to resist pressure from Wal-Mart to reduce the licensing fee, since this costless stream of revenue could not be easily replaced. As one savvy Paramount executive points out, "There would be nothing to stop Wal-Mart from playing studios off against each other and drive the license fee down and down on titles until it's just pocket change." If Wal-Mart succeeds in this enterprise—and it rarely fails—it will close much of the gap with the Shanghai pirates.
Isaac Hayes Quits 'South Park' - Yahoo! News:

Isaac Hayes has quit "South Park," where he voices Chef, saying he can no longer stomach its take on religion.

Hayes, who has played the ladies' man/school cook in the animated Comedy Central satire since 1997, said in a statement Monday that he feels a line has been crossed.

"South Park" co-creator Matt Stone responded sharply in an interview with The Associated Press Monday, saying, "This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem — and he's cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians."