Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Todd S. Purdum on Sarah Palin | vanityfair.com:

Whatever her political future, the emergence of Sarah Palin raises questions that will not soon go away. What does it say about the nature of modern American politics that a public official who often seems proud of what she does not know is not only accepted but applauded? What does her prominence say about the importance of having (or lacking) a record of achievement in public life? Why did so many skilled veterans of the Republican Party—long regarded as the more adroit team in presidential politics—keep loyally working for her election even after they privately realized she was casual about the truth and totally unfit for the vice-presidency? Perhaps most painful, how could John McCain, one of the cagiest survivors in contemporary politics—with a fine appreciation of life’s injustices and absurdities, a love for the sweep of history, and an overdeveloped sense of his own integrity and honor—ever have picked a person whose utter shortage of qualification for her proposed job all but disqualified him for his?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Froomkin firing - Paul Krugman Blog - NYTimes.com:

Thus we still live in an era in which you have to have been wrong to be respectable. You’re not considered serious about national security unless you were for invading Iraq; you’re not considered a serious political analyst unless you spent the last 3 years of the Bush administration predicting a Republican comeback; you’re not considered a serious economic analyst unless you dismissed the idea that the Bush Boom, such as it was, rested on a housing bubble.

That’s why the firing of Dan Froomkin now makes a perverse sort of sense. As long as the right was in power, he was in effect the Post’s designated moonbat, someone who attracted readers but didn’t threaten the self-esteem of the self-perceived serious people at the paper. But now he looks like someone who was right when the serious people were wrong — and that means he has to go.
Encounters of the third kind

Thursday, June 18, 2009

We're back in NYC for just a night, and headed up to Maine tomorrow for the second workshop of THE LAST CARGO CULT at Penobscot Theatre in Bangor, Maine. I'm really delighted to have Penobscot Theatre's support at such an early stage in the process, and it's very cool to be returning to where I come from in creating this piece.

The performance will be Wednesday, June 24th at 7pm. Full details are available

This could be another false alarm, but in theory (knock wood) a massive site migration will be occurring tomorrow for mikedaisey.com. Though I don't anticipate any outages or being frozen out of the site, the last time this was supposed to happen the site I got locked out for an unseemly amount of time. I'm posting this in case that should happen again...so if this post is still sitting at the top of the page days later, now you know why.
EC Girls (10)
On THE LAST CARGO CULT—first thoughts from an email I wrote:

I survived. I think we did well. As always, the first performance is like speaking into the darknesss, into the attention gathered together like lenses. Then the tracks dissolve, then the world dissolves, then I dissolve. It is the most terrifying place that is not a place at all, and the words cling and grapple as they pour out.

This one was born
unfocused but intense, more emotional and kinesthetic than expected. Higher personal stakes, more than I expected. Rebuilding everything before Maine—much work, but with direction and momentum.
The Arts | N.Y. director to replace Bartlett Sher at Intiman | Seattle Times Newspaper:

Intiman Theatre has named New York stage director Kate Whoriskey as its next artistic director.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Playbill News: David Hare's Power of Yes to Make World Premiere at London's National:

The production will begin performances in the Lyttelton Theatre Sept. 29, prior to an official opening Oct. 6, and then continue in repertory. It will be directed by Angus Jackson and designed by Bob Crowley.

According to press materials, on "15 September 2008, capitalism came to a grinding halt. As sub-prime mortgages and toxic securities continued to dominate the headlines, the National Theatre asked Hare to write an urgent and immediate work to be staged this autumn that sought to find out what had happened, and why.

"Afer meeting with many of the key players from the financial world, he has created this work, which is described as 'not so much a play as a jaw-dropping account of how, as the banks went bust, capitalism was replaced by a socialism that bailed out the rich alone.'"
Seattle in Motion at Sunset
Megachurch Musical | Slog | The Stranger:

Last weekend, 1,500 people flocked to Cedar Park to watch Generations, an original musical by Daniel Perrin, an evangelical pastor and doctor of worship studies (directed by Karen Lund of Taproot Theatre). Perrin spent 19 years writing his magnum opus, taking two research trips to Israel and one to Poland. The conceit of Generations: Jesus comes back to Nazi-occupied Warsaw to save the Jews. (Their souls, anyway—He did not offer to save their bodies.)

The result of Dr. Perrin's labors is a work of deep conviction and deep befuddlement—bombastic, evangelical dreckcellence. The music, played by a capable 22-member orchestra, sounds like Andrew Lloyd Webber and Meat Loaf spiked with klezmer and squeezed through a fine mesh of Christian pop. The plot scans like a three-way between Godspell, Cabaret, and a performance of Life of Brian by people who don't realize it's a joke.

The plot is confusing, to put it charitably: Jesus is a friendly local rabbi who lightly aids the folks behind the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In act two, the characters jump back in time to first-century Galilee for a scrambled tour of the Gospel's greatest hits. Flash-forward back to Warsaw, where the Nazis shoot Jesus. (Overheard in the pews: "Don't worry, He'll be back.") Jesus resurrects Himself and tells the lead Warsaw character: "Without God, all you have is a ghetto." The Jew converts, the music soars, and the woman behind me mutters: "Yes, Jesus! Awesome!" Generations seems to argue that the Holocaust was primarily a convenient time for Jews to find Jesus. (Because when isn't?)
June 15 Day 166
Obama: Some Federal Employees Are More Equal Than Others | Slog | The Stranger:

Could the Obama administration possibly be ANY MORE incompetent when it comes to gay issues? Let it leak that you're going "extend federal benefits" to the partners of gay federal employees, hope that this move mollifies furious gay rights organizations and activists still reeling from your DOMA betrayal, and THEN announce that—sorry!—the package of benefits doesn't include the single most important work-related benefit: health insurance.

Guess what? It's not an executive order, it's just a "presidential memorandum," which means this directive expires when Obama leaves office. Such fierce advocacy. So brave. And the package was pulled together not because the Obama administration had a secret plan all along to protect and expand the rights of gays and lesbians. Nope. The whole thing was hastily pulled together to save the DNC's big gay fundraiser next week.
The Kamaoa Wind Farm

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

And a show is born. Thank you so much, Woolly Mammoth and the lovely audiences in DC.

Double Arch

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Best autoresponder ever:

Marco.org - Trust, hostility, and the human side of Apple:

The last session of WWDC ‘09 yesterday was about publishing on the App Store. The content of sessions is under NDA, so I can’t tell you what it was about. So I’ll tell you what wasn’t in it: the audience Q&A session that succeeded nearly every other WWDC session and usually provided invaluable access to Apple employees and useful additional knowledge to attendees. The session itself blew through its lightweight examples quickly, ending 45 minutes early. The majority of the audience was clearly there for the Q&A. As people lined up at the microphones around the room, the presenter abruptly showed a simple slide with only “WWDC” in plain lettering, thanked us for coming, and bolted off the stage. The Apple engineers, usually staying around the stage for one-on-one questions, were gone. The lights came up instantly, and it was the only session that didn’t end in music. The audience was stunned.

It was a giant middle finger to iPhone developers. And that’s the closing impression that Apple gave us for WWDC. Clearly, they had absolutely no interest in fielding even a single question from the topic that we have the most questions about.

This went far beyond reluctant tolerance. It’s hard to interpret it as anything else except blatant hostility.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pasties and a Smile
The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan:

Mock not. As the regime shut down other forms of communication, Twitter survived. With some remarkable results. Those rooftop chants that were becoming deafening in Tehran? A few hours ago, this concept of resistance was spread by a twitter message. Here's the Twitter from a Moussavi supporter:

ALL internet & mobile networks are cut. We ask everyone in Tehran to go onto their rooftops and shout ALAHO AKBAR in protest #IranElection

That a new information technology could be improvised for this purpose so swiftly is a sign of the times. It reveals in Iran what the Obama campaign revealed in the United States. You cannot stop people any longer. You cannot control them any longer. They can bypass your established media; they can broadcast to one another; they can organize as never before.
Golden Gate #1
The New Portable Mini-Computers from Apple Have Arrived, and They Make Phone Calls Also:

Per the new feature list: your "phone" can now take pictures, with variable focus, and video. You can also edit video. So to my understanding you can now go out with your phone, shoot a movie, edit it, and mail it in to Sundance or Tribeca Film Festival, then listen to music while you wait for the powers that be to call you back and tell you "you're in!". Then you can take a break and play a video game, before checking your blood pressure (about to be a star! in the public eye! feel stressed!), and even start making the music for the soundtrack to the new film because, of course, there's apps for that etc. etc., all on the same device.

Friday, June 12, 2009

standing tall
Check this out: Morgan Library goes into stacks, pulls out set designs | Upstaged | Time Out New York:

And if you haven’t dropped by since the Renzo Piano addition opened, the Morgan Library itself feels more than ever like a marvelous stage set, with J.P. Morgan’s blood-red sitting room pulsing in the middle of a chilly, elegant glass enclosure. After you’ve goggled at the Goncharova and the Bel Geddes and the Ming Cho Lee, be sure to spend some time in the old robber baron’s industrialist’s lair. After all, for a while there, America was his show, and he stage-managed us all.
Obama DOJ lies to Politico in defending hate brief against gays:

No. The Obama administration didn't just lie to Politico, Obama lied to our community, or he lied to the court. But you don't publicly call yourself a "fierce advocate" for gay rights, and then compare married gays to incest. You don't make your first official legal statement on gay rights an outright attack on the underpinnings of our entire civil rights.

Our president had a choice. And he chose to throw us under the bus, and then knife us for good measure.
Obama's Next Move | Slog | The Stranger:

Three days after Obama screws us again—if Obama screws us again—I can't imagine that gays and lesbians will be in the mood to pay $1000 a plate to attend the DNC's annual LGBT Leadership Council fundraiser. Fuck that shit. I would hope that Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, and Jared Polis— the three openly gay members of Congress—would have the sense, decency, and spine to pull out of this event.

Because if Obama defends DOMA in Boston—and it's hard to see him not doing it now—gays and lesbians should be picketing this event, not attending it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

We're headed down to DC today to hole up at our theatrical home in that fine city, WOOLLY MAMMOTH THEATRE, where we will be giving birth to THE LAST CARGO CULT on Monday. Details and tickets are here.

Posting may be spotty, as there is a lot to do.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Parabasis: TCG Conference Blogging: One Big Takeaway:

Institutional theaters (in fact, I'd just say TCG member theaters in general and of course there are numerous exceptions it's a big world out there) seem to think that they can do the exact same work they're currently doing, but market it differently (and in different ways) and younger audiences will magically show up. They are very, very, wrong about this. If they really actually want younger audiences to come, they need to change their programming before they change their messaging.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Sunday, June 07, 2009

At TCG I heard from many people asking what was new in my correspondence with Todd Olson. (Part one and part two.)

The answer is nothing—there has been only silence for well over a month from Mr. Olson since his last email to me, in which he stated:

On any of these subjects, if you could, even in the most philosophical way, talk about how you would bridge these chasms or restructure for better workability. If you can then let’s consider your consultancy begun. My promise to you is, if your answers sound like there is a hint of promise worth pursuing (and budget work started Monday, so I’m up for all good suggestions), I will enter into this relationship more, just as you suggested.

I responded
here, and I have heard nothing from Mr. Olson. I do not know if his offer was made in bad faith, but it would have been civil of him to at least send a simple email explaining why he has decided to drop the ball so entirely. I've taken him entirely seriously; it would have been polite for him to show a similar courtesy.

To be clear: I didn't begin this conversation—it began with a challenge from Mr. Olson, delivered both to me and very publicly to
American Theatre magazine. He created the terms and the public nature of the conversation, and he set a hostile and dismissive tone in his first email.

Despite the inauspicious beginning, I think we've been able to spin some straw into gold—the discussion, as far as it has gone, has been interesting if not fruitful, and ignited discussions elsewhere with some substance to them. For what it was, it's been interesting.

If other artistic directors, managing directors, et al out there wish to ever open a discussion with me, the email link is always open. I don't bite unless provoked, and love a good discussion. I also do not post emails received without the permission of the writer, unless you've also sent the email to
American Theatre magazine or something of that nature. Ask around to your colleagues—I know many of them.

It would be great if this semi-ridiculous enterprise led to better, richer conversations in the future—that would be the best possible outcome.

Having given Mr. Olson over 30 days, I am going to assume he's forfeiting his "challenge" and this exchange will draw to a close. Hopefully the next time Mr. Olson offers the financial data on his institution to someone he has little respect for it will go more successfully for him.
Junk Yard Storm
Oh, and my own opinion on the Louise Kennedy/Michael Maso dustup?


First, I don't understand what was so terrible about Kennedy's review of PIRATES! I mean, it's clear—she hated the play, totally and completely.

But is this really that unusual? Are we getting so soft that we're all forgetting what bad reviews look like? The lady hated the show--it's going to hurt, she hated it. She's very clear about what kind of things she thinks aren't working, and acknowledges from the top that the audience is laughing and happy--but she thinks it is an insipid piece of crap.

This isn't interesting. It becomes weird when the Huntington's Managing Director posts about the unfairness of the review, its elitism and asks people to protest with letters to the newspaper.


Call me old school, but what happened to IGNORING a bad review? I've played Boston—the Globe is indeed powerful, but you can't undo the bad review by writing MORE about it, or calling for PROTESTS. I never would have read this review without this publicity the Huntington provided—now I have. I don't think that's the result Mr. Maso was looking for.

There isn't a case for this being a discriminatory review, and there's no cause to make people band together united to support PIRATES! because of the review—that's crazy. Instead all they've managed to do is draw A LOT of attention to a deeply unfavorable review, which is sad for them because apparently they have lots of other reviews which are good. It's a total messaging clusterfuck.

I also believe Ms. Kennedy (disclosure: Ms. Kennedy has reviewed my work) is going to inevitably have a negative experience associated with being at the Huntington Theatre after this event. A critic is supposed to do their best to be impartial, but no one is a saint--this can't POSSIBLY be a good idea with someone Mr. Maso calls "the most powerful critic in New England".

I make fun of the word "professionalism" in the theater often, because it is often used as code for paying people nothing and relying on them not to say a peep.

But this is a failure of professionalism, pure and simple.

Don't comment on reviews. Then, when you think you should...don't comment on reviews. And when it seems like you couldn't lose, and that you MUST say something: don't comment on reviews. This is Theater Publicity 101, people.

from the TONY blog:

I know exactly how she feels. There are few people lonelier (the last guy off the Moon and onto the Lunar Lander?) than the unamused audience member having his chair kicked by a flailing, hiccuping laugher behind him. I myself sat through Christopher Durang’s Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them, grinding my molars into featureless stubs. And I started out not hating it—it just wasn’t my cup of tea. But as the man next to me actually slapped his thighs, mild dislike transformed into irritation, and then into angry disbelief, and then bang! I had a full-blown case of the “Everybody is crazy and perhaps there isn’t any hope for us after all”s.

Pew Pew Pew Pew!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Theatre Vertigo :: Anonymous Theatre 2009:


A play is selected. Auditions are held. The play is cast. The actors are sworn to secrecy. No one in the cast knows who their fellow performers will be, and they do not reveal their participation in the project to anyone. The actors rehearse one-on-one with the director. Then, on the night of the performance, the cast arrives in street clothes and enters the theatre as if they are members of the audience. They take their seats. They read their programs, chat with their neighbors, and in all ways behave like normal audience members. The house lights dim and the play begins, with each actor delivering his or her first line from the audience. The cast members discover one another's identity for the first time, in front of a live audience!

Friday, June 05, 2009

The question from Isaac was, what is the biggest problem facing American theater today?


On a archly related note...I am at TCG today. If you are too, look for me. I will have a muffin and a badge.
Concessions - Film:

Not only are Lucas and Moore still employed and roaming unshackled on city streets (THAT MY TAXES PAY FOR!), they're behind The Hangover, the new R-rated comedy that is so outrageous and so busy generating so much buzz that a sequel is already in the works. Hollywood, you are really a piece of shit, do you know that? Who pooped you out and called you an industry, Hollywood? Because whoever pooped you out called, Hollywood, on the toilet phone, and they want their poop back. (What? Why would someone want their poop back? Not my problem! Fertilizer? Sentimental value? For their records? Listen, shut up.)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Manhattan Users Guide:

Not much could be better than hearing what's on the mind of the great monologist Mike Daisey unless what's on his mind is bacon. That is the unbeatable combo at Joe's Pub, June 8th, 9:30pm, $20. And here's a program note we bet you've never seen before: "Bacon will be cooked and served by the performer during the performance."
Moon over Capones
Sneak Peek Of Daisey's THE LAST CARGO CULT Held At Woolly Mammoth 6/15:

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company announces a one-night-only sneak peek performance of The Last Cargo Cult, a new work created and performed by monologuist Mike Daisey (If You See Something Say Something, How Theatre Failed America). Directed by Jean-Michele Gregory, this performance of The Last Cargo Cult will be on Monday, June 15 at 7pm. All tickets are $15 and available at 202-393-3939 or www.woollymammoth.net.

The production will be performed from January 11 to February 7, 2010 as part of Season 30, Woolly Mammoth's 30th Season.

"Woolly Mammoth has become a home for our work, and we couldn't be happier," stated Mike Daisey. "Woolly was the first theater in the nation to commit to The Last Cargo Cult, and it is fantastic to be giving birth to the monologue on their stage this June. Jean-Michele and I are neck-deep in research from my journey to the distant South Pacific, and this first performance at Woolly is really when the show will come alive for the first time-we're absolutely delighted to bring this story of erupting volcanoes, feral pigs, mind-altering drugs and macroeconomics to DC audiences first!"

Fearless autobiographer and gonzo journalist Mike Daisey has traveled to a tiny South Pacific island to take part in the annual festival of the "John Frum Cult." Worshippers of cargo left behind by American G.I.'s, these islanders build meticulous bamboo replicas of Western engineering, re-enact scenes from internet broadcasts, and summon American power through sympathetic magic. What does our economic crisis mean to them, and what can they teach us about wealth and wishful thinking?
153::365 Bolete in the woods...
Q&A: Mark Bittman, author of Food Matters - The Appetizer:

Three main things that people are neurotic about are sleep, sex and food. Every time you feel tired, you don’t run off and take a nap. Every time you want to have sex, you don’t run off and have sex. But we’ve become accustomed to every time we want something to eat, we go get something to eat. There are vending machines, fast food places, every store sells food, you can call and get food delivered. It’s just food, food, food everywhere and most of that food is not really that good. What’s good is food that you cook at home and food you prepare yourself.
Budget Airline to Charge for Toilet Use - The Lede Blog - NYTimes.com:

Faced with an annual loss for the first time in two decades, Ryanair, the European budget airline, confirmed on Tuesday that it plans to start charging passengers for the luxury of using the toilet on its jets.

Mr. O’Leary added that Boeing’s research department should have time to focus on his new toilet concept soon, since the “war in Iraq and Afghanistan is winding down.” Presumably he is also hoping they will start applying themselves to making a pilotless drone with seats for 200 as well.

The Daily Mail reports that Ryanair plans to “scrap all of its airport check-in desks” later this year and charge passengers for the privilege of checking themselves in online. What’s next, having passengers load their own bags onto the aircraft? Well, yes. The Mail reports that “new baggage measures, which would see passengers replace baggage handlers to load luggage onto aircraft” are “under discussion” at Ryanair.
sheila callaghan: MY COMMENTS ARE FUCKED.:

If you were holding your breath for my play LASCIVIOUS SOMETHING at the Cherry Lane this summer, don't. Even though they were supposedly raising money for a year to produce this play, and even though this show was two years in the making over there, and even though I have been plugging it in every publication I've been mentioned in this season, AND even though our whole creative team had been assembled and other jobs were passed on, the funds somehow went to their other show. So, no dough=no Callaghan. And they gave me ZERO notice, so I couldn't find another home for the play in time. So. I don't know when my next NYC show will be, but I DO know that I'm done for 2009 in my home city.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Brand New: Bing sets New Record in Horizontal Scaling:

This is like setting the resolution of your screen to 6,000 pixels wide by 1,000 high. I can’t even imagine how someone arrives at a design solution like this. The shapes resulting from the strenuous horizontal scaling are simply too unflattering and unattractive. There is bad taste and then there is this. What was going through the designer’s mind? “I’ll scale it a little bit. Hmmm, maybe just a little more. More. More. I have so much power. I’m drunk in scaling power. More. More. Scale it more. Don’t stop. Do it. Okay, that’s enough.”
Daring Fireball Linked List: Purported Revenue for Apple's Fifth Avenue Store: $440M:

As quick point of reference, Palm had $1.3 billion in revenue for 2008. So Palm’s entire worldwide revenue was just three times more than the revenue Apple booked from this one 10,000 square foot store.

Perhaps you have never seen Cynthia Hopkins. Perhaps you missed the last two parts of her Accidental Trilogy. Perhaps you didn't read the glowing New York Times review.


Perhaps you have missed almost all of these unforgettable performances. Perhaps time is running short, and you don't understand how a space opera could be about more than fiction, and unfold the dark secrets of one woman's life, work, and obsessions.


Perhaps there is something happening in a warehouse on the East River that could shake awake your belief in what is possible in the theater, fulfill the old promise that one person's singular vision can still make and matter.


Perhaps whatever you are imagining it is, it is better than that. Perhaps that's a promise.


Perhaps you should go now and see it.
Aaron Nace Goes Splat

AFTER years of pretending to "honor excellence in the theater," Tony officials are finally com ing clean about their true calling: making money for the backers of big musicals -- and trying, however ineptly, to jack up ratings for CBS.

How else to interpret the decision to eliminate from Sunday's Tony telecast a bunch of what are patronizingly called "creative awards" and put in their place musical numbers from touring productions of "Jersey Boys," "Mamma Mia!" and -- here's a good reason to switch channels -- "Legally Blonde"?

Tony officials announced this week that the awards for things such as lighting, sets and costumes -- all insignificant components of a Broadway show, as anyone who works in the theater can attest -- will not make the broadcast.

And that's not all.

Also banned from prime time are the awards for choreography, book of a musical and revival of a play.
FBi photoshoot
"I have had many successes and many failures in my life. My successes have always been for different reasons, but my failures have always been for the same reason: I said yes when I meant no."

Moss Hart
flag of the bricksteroids

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan:

1. The income of the ultra-poor is not only low, but highly variable. They rarely have regular jobs in a "sweatshop." Instead, they desperately cobble together income from many different sources. Many days they earn nothing at all.

2. No one, no matter how poor, lives "hand to mouth." Even the poorest people save money, make investments, and plan ahead.

3. The poor also borrow a lot of money. Who would lend to them? For the most part, other poor people - family, savings clubs, small-time loan-sharks. The rates are astronomical - 20% per month is pretty common.

4. Even the poorest people spend a lot of money on things other than food. One of their main reasons for saving and borrowing is to pay for relatively lavish weddings and funerals.
Stanley Park, Vancouver
Today The Stranger Suggests | Slog | The Stranger:

Passing Strange is a musical in name only. Really it's an autobiographical concert by the soulful, rotund, endlessly charming Stew. Imagine Reggie Watts crossed with Mike Daisey, hooked up with a backing band. And actors. The results, filmed by Spike Lee (here atoning for Bamboozled), are soul-shaking.
Live Arts & Fringe Festival Blog: Previews, Previews, Previews!:

Mike Daisey (How Theater Failed America, The Last Cargo Cult) is one of America's few true raconteurs, and perhaps the only one who brings together disparate tales in a way that yields genuine insights about life and art. To get a taste of what's in store for you this September, check out these YouTube excerpts from How Theater Failed America. But he's not talking about us. We won't fail you, I promise.
Ex-Wall Street Trader Now Works Where He Used to Eat - Gothamist: New York City News, Food, Arts & Events:

There's a harrowing story in the Wall Street Journal today about a guy who's gone from ordering filet mignon at midtown's Palm Restaurant to working there. No schadenfruede here; Carlos Araya, the son of a cab driver from Queens, worked his way up to become a successful crude oil trader on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The father of two young girls, he lost his job in 2007 when the financial industry got necklaced with a flaming tire. Now he's a host at The Palm.
Queen West Catwalk (16)
Op-Ed Contributor - Desperately Seeking Susan - Ricky Jay - NYTimes.com:

It is not only physical appearance that colors our expectations, but also class, education and location.

Thomas Britton, a low-born 17th-century seller of charcoal, was an autodidact who became an antiquarian book and music collector and an expert on chemistry. Every Thursday evening for nearly 40 years he hosted, on the second story above his coal shop, the most important salon concerts of the day. At this unlikely venue Handel and other notables played for music lovers of all strata of society.

And two years ago the renowned classical violinist Joshua Bell performed as a busker in the Washington subway, and was almost completely ignored as he played for free.
Lost America in London!
FT.com / Comment / Opinion - History lesson for economists in thrall to Keynes:

The policy mistake has already been made – to adopt the fiscal policy of a world war to fight a recession. In the absence of credible commitments to end the chronic US structural deficit, there will be further upward pressure on interest rates, despite the glut of global savings. It was Keynes who noted that “even the most practical man of affairs is usually in the thrall of the ideas of some long-dead economist”. Today the long-dead economist is Keynes, and it is professors of economics, not practical men, who are in thrall to his ideas.
post (detail)
Village Voice - Mysteries of the Unexplained: Bacon! @ Joe's Pub - Events:

Dr. Atkins would be proud. The notoriously sweaty comic monologist Mike Daisey is heating up the frying pan for his latest one-man show, Mysteries of the Unexplained: Bacon! In Daisey's "Mysteries" series, he tackles "trivial elements of the modern world," like Facebook, and, in this case, thin, smoked slices of the back and sides of a hog—and all that has to do with the world. Swine flu and Hasidic Jews are just some of the proposed topics for Daisey's signature rants, during which he will actually be cooking the ever popular breakfast side dish. It doesn't get more treyf than that.
Clarissa said that this was the best vacation ever...

Monday, June 01, 2009


It came to me the other day:
Were I to die, no one would say,
"Oh what a shame! So young, so full
Of promise - depths unplumbable!"

Instead, a shrug and tearless eyes
Will greet my overdue demise;
The wide response will be, I know,
"I thought he died a while ago."

For life's a shabby subterfuge,
And death is real, and dark, and huge.
The shock of it will register
Nowhere but where it will occur.

John Updike
manhattanhenge 2009

Research trips can be a blessing and a curse: the blessing in that visiting an actual place surpasses what you can get from video and photos alone, the curse in being too much a slave to the actual place. Imagination and feeling should dictate everything, not reality.
Hair Braiding and Little Girl