Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lady Gaga | HiLobrow:

I’m just going to go ahead and pronounce the “Telephone” video by LADY GAGA (born 1986) and Beyoncé the most impressive avant-garde film of the year: nine and a half minutes of glorious, relentless WTF, all the star-power and spectacle and verfremdungseffekt of a Matthew Barney movie with zero tolerance for boringness. Every shot begs to be unpacked in a master’s dissertation. If an artist is someone who has license to do what the rest of us only dream of doing, Gaga has taken on the challenge of doing what most other artists only dream of doing: out-Madonnaing Madonna; dressing so magnificently that it was possible to compile a list of her “100 hottest outfits of 2009″; commissioning Beyoncé to far outshine her on her own song; treating the most mean-spirited rumor about her like it’s absolutely hilarious; successfully selling a deliberate, loving, and merciless parody of mass culture as the thing itself. Everything she does is worthy of rapt attention, with the possible exception of her actual music.
The Theocons Dig In, Ctd - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan:

This is why the developments of the last two weeks have been so earth-shattering. Because they reveal that one of the countless bishops and archbishops who treated child-rape as a possible embarrassment for the church and a problem for the priest - rather than as a horrifying betrayal, crime and danger to children and families - now runs the whole show. So not only is he part of the problem, his refusal to concede that he was part of the problem compounds the problem.

This is about trust and minimal moral accountability. Minimal. What responsibility does the Pope have for the subsequent child rapes committed by the priest he reassigned? How many violated children does he have on his conscience? And how can responsibility for and complicity in those crimes - those indelible wounds in the souls of children - be dismissed, however many years later, as "petty gossip"?

Catholics are being asked move on from the fact that the Pope himself personally let a child-molester go on to rape other children. Personally, I can no more move on from that fact without some accountability than I can from the fact that the president of the United States authorized the brutal torture of human beings.


Monday, March 29, 2010

How Lady Gaga Became the World's Biggest Pop Star -- New York Magazine:

The “Just Dance” video, shot a few miles from the Roosevelt, features Gaga shimmying with a disco ball in her hands while her friends drape themselves on a couch nearby—though most of those people were extras, not real friends. She didn’t know many people on the West Coast. “I don’t like Los Angeles,” she told me. “The people are awful and terribly shallow, and everybody wants to be famous but nobody wants to play the game. I’m from New York. I will kill to get what I need.”
March in Norway
MacNN | Jobs' health worth $25 billion to Apple?:

The health of Steve Jobs may be extremely critical to Apple's monetary worth, a new Barron's report claims. Compiling its annual 30 Most Respected CEOs list, on which Jobs is present, the publication notes that stock value dropped when word came out of the CEO's medical problems; the executive was forced to take a six-month leave of absence during 2009. Particularly considering that Apple's market value recently topped $200 billion, Jobs' life is estimated by Barron's to be worth about $25 billion.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Taking Things Seriously
Op-Ed Columnist - The Rage Is Not About Health Care -

The week before the health care vote, The Times reported that births to Asian, black and Hispanic women accounted for 48 percent of all births in America in the 12 months ending in July 2008. By 2012, the next presidential election year, non-Hispanic white births will be in the minority. The Tea Party movement is virtually all white. The Republicans haven’t had a single African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003 and have had only three in total since 1935. Their anxieties about a rapidly changing America are well-grounded.
Briefly Noted - Parabasis:

When people hear about my theatre background, the following conversation happens, almost word for word:

PERSON A: You know, Minneapolis is a great theatre town.

ISAAC: That's what I've heard. I have a friend who did the Jerome recently and several other friends who have lived or done work in the Twin Cities recently, and they all loved it.

PERSON A: You know, the Guthrie has a great building.

ISAAC: Really?

PERSON A: Yeah, it's a really world class building.

Never in this conversation is the work that is done at the Guthrie mentioned. And, indeed, I get the sense that the people I'm talking to have never actually seen anything at the Guthrie.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Temple in the City - 3
My Way News - Palin to tea party rally: Don't sit down, shut up:

Now a Fox News analyst and potential 2012 presidential candidate, Palin faced criticism after posting a map on her Facebook page that had circles and cross hairs over 20 Democratic districts. She also sent a tweet saying, "Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!"

She said Saturday she wasn't inciting violence, just trying to inspire people to get involved.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Theater review: Mike Daisey’s monologue mashup “The Last Cargo Cult” at the Alliance Theatre |

Daisey is not a minimalist. He’s big voice with big ideas, a mashup of the hypnotic narrative skills of a Spalding Grey and the power of an Old Testament apocalyptic prophet, here to give us a reality check, even if it’s too big for us to cash.
Mike Daisey throttles American consumerism in The Last Cargo Cult | Atlanta | A&E | Theater Review:

Daisey proves to be more than just a funny comedian and a spellbinding storyteller: He's also an inquisitive thinker with a rich perspective on social structures. Daisey lays out how money can intrude on practically any kind of relationship or activity despite essentially being devoid of meaning or value (particularly since the gold standard no longer backs up dollars). Huge banks behaved irrationally by sinking incalculable fortunes into wispy financial instruments like derivatives, then turned around to offer the craven excuse, "How could we have known that a system without morals or ethics was unstable?"
Sin Or Crime? - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan:

We all know this game is now over. The current Pope is now found directly responsible for two clear incidents of covering up or ignoring child abuse and rape. As head of the organization that took responsibility for investigating these cases for so long, his complicity in this vast and twisted criminal conspiracy is not in dispute. If he were the head of a secular organization, he would have already resigned and be cooperating with the police.

But he is the Vicar of Christ on earth.

It's hard to imagine a deeper crisis for the Catholic hierarchy than this. If the church is to survive - and it will because it is the vessel of eternal truth - it will have to go through a wrenching transformation.

Beginning with the resignation of this Pope and an end to priestly celibacy.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Late Air
Public and Roundabout Change Policy in Playwrights’ Favor -

Leaders of the Public said in interviews that they were immediately altering their policy on so-called subsidiary rights to help provide “a living wage” to playwrights, who often turn to writing for film and television for their livelihood. While the Public previously took an average of 10 percent of royalties for productions mounted over a 10-year period, it will now forgo that percentage until playwrights earn $75,000 in royalties from runs elsewhere. The policy change will mean a loss of at least $100,000 in annual income for the Public, which has an operating budget of $19 million. “The playwright needs the money more than the Public does,” said Oskar Eustis, the Public’s artistic director.
Brutalist #1
How We Failed Theater – Art & Seek – A service from KERA for North Texas:

Daisey wasn't that impressed; at best, a million-dollar endowment would give an annual return of $50,000 — enough to keep one actor fed. Turns out, though, that the Brierleys' gift is not designed to underwrite an actor's salary. It's meant, as the DTC's press release said, to " support DTC’s artistic programming, which includes its commitment to productions of classics, new plays and musicals of the highest caliber, meaningful community partnerships, and a resident company of professional actors."

But let's back up. Objecting to Mike Daisey's arguments about theaters can put one in the awkward position of seeming to defend buildings over people. In fact, that kind of either/or thinking is one of my reservations about his otherwise rousing solo show.

Selbstportrait 002

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Seattle Rep Blog » Blog Archive » On Replacing an Actor at First Rehearsal:

One production here at The Rep, for instance, required replacing three actors going into tech (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom). Or there was the time an actor called me the night before the New York Times was scheduled to review a play at New York Theatre Workshop to say he was going to LA in the morning to audition for a pilot. Or there was the time when an actor broke her leg on stage (careful how you wish an actor luck) at final dress. Or the time two dancers fell into the pit at Arena Stage at the second preview of On The Town. Or, during RENT when the playwright died after the dress rehearsal (rest in peace Jonathan).

Shit happens in theater. And as one of my mentors always said to me, the answer is always right under your nose.
Big Horn
Theater: The Last Cargo Cult | Atlanta | See & Do | See & Do:

What do remote Pacific Islanders have to do with the American financial system? Practically everything, according to Mike Daisey in THE LAST CARGO CULT. The scathing, frequently hilarious monologue uses the phenomenon of tribal "cargo cults," which worship more technologically advanced society, as a means of skewering American materialism and the recent economic collapse. Daisey's larger-than-life delivery can take a description of buying IKEA furniture to near-operatic heights.
Tumuli Park 04: Burial mounds, South Korea
Lost Exile | Culture | Vanity Fair:

According to Doug Steele, the bar’s Canadian owner, “at the Duck you got laid even if you didn’t want to.” On Ladies’ Night, the doors opened at seven p.m., but the only people let in were women, as long as they were at least 16 years old. They’d drink for free. At nine, the men were allowed in. It wasn’t until the metro stations opened the next morning that it ended, and in the meantime, anything went. “Orgiastic” is an insufficient description. The only appropriate word seems to be Caligulan, and not just because the Duck was situated steps from Lubyanka, the former prison and Soviet torture chamber that now housed the F.S.B. The action was mostly elevated, according to Vlad Baseav, an early Exile general manager, with women and men alike dancing on the bar and on the tables, disrobing on the bar and on the tables, having sex on the bar and on the tables, fighting on the bar and on the tables, and then crashing in various states of undress onto the floor scrum. “They would get up and continue dancing, blood everywhere,” Baseav says. Steele recalls a night when the deputy head of a Moscow police unit, drunk beyond all reckoning, emptied his pistol into the ceiling and made everybody lie on the floor for three hours. Lavelle claims he saw a man stabbed to death next to him one night. “No one thought it was unusual.”
Tumuli Park 03: Burial mounds, South Korea

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

FrontRow » Blog Archive » Mike Daisey: Dallas Theater Center Gift Good, But Not Enough On Its Own:

UPDATE: From the DTC:

An acting company-specific endowment does not exist, and the Brierley’s gift does not exclusively support the acting company. Rather, as stated in the press release, it “will support DTC’s artistic programming, which includes its commitment to productions of classics, new plays and musicals of the highest caliber, meaningful community partnerships, and a resident company of professional actors.”

The acting company is a part of DTC’s artistic programming, and the Brierley’s gift will support the artistic programming as a whole. DTC renamed the resident acting company to the Brierley Resident Acting Company to acknowledge the gift and honor the Brierleys.

Unfortunate—not only is this not a lockboxed endowment for artist salaries, but there is no endowment to speak of that is specified for salaries.

It's still good news—don't get me wrong—but this points up the importance of holding the line for real change, and that we're a long way off. It's too bad the naming rights for the acting company were sold off for money that is not specified to go only to actor salaries.
Rust never sleeps
FrontRow » Blog Archive » Brierleys Gift $1 million to Dallas Theater Center’s Acting Company:

When Mike Daisey was in town, he criticized the current state of the American theater. One of his complaints: how come the money spent on fancy buildings for theater didn’t go to endow resident acting companies? Well the Dallas Theater Center has a really fancy building, but thanks to a gift from Diane and Hal Brierley, they now have an extra $1 million for their acting company. The gift from the longtime Dallas arts patrons means the company will now be called the Diane and Hal Brierley Resident Acting Company.

I heard from Kevin Moriarty, the AD at Dallas Theater Center, that this was coming down the pike—I am delighted.

At the same time, let's make no mistake—in these economic times with careful stewardship, I've been told that a 5% return on an endowment is a rough guideline for back of the envelope calculations. At $1 million, that gift should then generate $50,000 a year for the actors—enough to pay one person's salary, or not quite two at the low, low rates actors are accustomed to in the American theater.

It is good news, and the right kind of news, but it is a starting point—not the end—for this conversation.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Yesterday... - Parabasis:

Since pundits are unlikely to talk about it, I just thought I'd briefly mention what a truly huge thing the Democrats did for the arts yesterday. One of the most expensive aspects of moving from day job to freelance life is having to pay for your own health insurance. One of the scariest things is how bad most of the affordable health insurance out there is.

This is a far far greater act of supporting the arts than anything that Obama will be able to accomplish in terms of increasing NEA funding.

green light
Exclusive: How Google's Eric Schmidt Lost His Mistress, His Partner and Steve Jobs - Eric Schmidt - Gawker:

Schmidt's feelings for Jobs had gone beyond admiration long ago: He wanted his approval, and even his friendship. Schmidt knew how to make a large enterprise like Google function more efficiently, but Jobs seemed able to change the whole world for the better. Brin and Page, who operate with Schmidt as Google's executive triumvirate, were big fans. They considered Jobs a mentor, very openly cited him as a role model, visited his office and (in the case of Brin) even went on walks with the charismatic Apple co-founder, according to Stone's Times article.

Schmidt's own regard for Jobs ran so deep that, in a statement provided to the Times when it covered his feud with the Apple CEO, Schmidt called Jobs "the best CEO in the world today."

And yet, even when the relationship between the two men was warmer, Schmidt felt spurned. He never did manage to finagle a long-sought dinner invitation to Jobs' home, we're told, though the Times said the two "dined together on several occasions," presumably over lunch or in a group setting. But Schmidt's inability to get the sort of attention he sought "broke" him, said our source.

What is next for the Brin-Schmidt relationship is unclear. But it's hard not to look at history for clues, and to brace for the explosion.

Not that we hope for such an end. Jaded gossips that we are, we can't help but feel a twinge of empathy for Schmidt. The Google boss might have hypocritical views on privacy and an all-too-arrogant approach to users' concerns, but he aches for true friends. "I don't think he had any," our source said. It's a feeling of empty loneliness familiar to many of us who are enmeshed in social networks and broadband grids, blogs and microblogs, emails and IMs, sending so many messages and making so few connections.

Why This Moment Matters - Politics - The Atlantic:

That is how the entire rest of the developed world operates, as noted yesterday. It is the way the United States operates in most realms other than health coverage. Of course all older people are eligible for Medicare. Of course all drivers must have auto insurance. Of course all children must have a public school they can attend. Etc. Such "of course" rules offer protection for individuals but even more important, they reduce the overall costs to society, compared with one in which extreme risks are uncontained. The simplest proof is, again, Medicare: Does anyone think American life would be better now, on an individual or a collective level, if we were in an environment in which older people might have to beg for treatment as charity cases when they ran out of cash? And in which everyone had to spend the preceding years worried about that fate?

There are countless areas in which America does it one way and everyone else does it another, and I say: I prefer the American way. Our practice on medical coverage is not one of these. Despite everything that is wrong with this bill and the thousand adjustments that will be necessary in the years to come, this is a very important step.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


CNN Political Ticker: Protesters hurl slurs and spit at Democrats «:

Civil rights icon and veteran Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, said anti-health care bill protesters Saturday repeatedly yelled the "N" word at him as he left a heath care meeting and walked to the Capitol.

"I haven't seen heard anything like this in more than 40 years, maybe 45." Lewis said. "Since the march from Selma to Montgomery really."

"Yeah, but it's okay," Lewis added. "I've faced this before. So, it reminded me of the 60's. There's a lot of downright hate and anger and people are just being downright mean."

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The History of the Honey Trap – By Phillip Knightley | Foreign Policy:

In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu, an Israeli technician who had worked in Israel's Dimona nuclear facility, went to the British newspapers with his claim that Israel had developed atomic bombs. His statement was starkly at odds with Israel's official policy of nuclear ambiguity -- and he had photos to prove it.

The period of negotiation among the newspapers was tense, and at one point the London Sunday Times was keeping Vanunu hidden in a secret location in suburban London while it attempted to verify his story. But Vanunu got restless. He announced to his minders at the paper that he had met a young woman while visiting tourist attractions in London and that they were planning a romantic weekend in Rome.

The newspaper felt it had no right to prevent Vanunu from leaving. It was a huge mistake: Soon after arriving in Rome with his lady friend, Vanunu was seized by Mossad officers, forcibly drugged, and smuggled out of Italy by ship to Israel, where he was eventually put on trial for treason. Vanunu served 18 years in jail, 11 years of it in solitary confinement. Released in 2004, he is still confined to Israel under tight restrictions, which include not being allowed to meet with foreigners or talk about his experiences. Britain has never held an inquiry into the affair.

The woman who set the honey trap was a Mossad officer, Cheryl Ben Tov, code-named "Cindy." Born in Orlando, Fla., she was married to an officer of the Israeli security service. After the operation, she was given a new identity to prevent reprisals, and eventually she left Israel to return to the United States. But her role in the Vanunu affair was vital. The Mossad could not have risked a diplomatic incident by kidnapping Vanunu from British soil, so he had to be lured abroad -- an audacious undertaking, but in this case a successful one.
London at night 009
Yes. Another Backup Lecture. | 43 Folders:

The Holy Trinity


* If it’s not automated, it’s not a real backup.
* If it’s not redundant, it’s not a real backup.
* If it’s not regularly rotated off-site, it’s not a real backup.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Schneier on Security: Mark Twain on Risk Analysis:

"I hunted up statistics, and was amazed to find that after all the glaring newspaper headings concerning railroad disasters, less than three hundred people had really lost their lives by those disasters in the preceding twelve months. The Erie road was set down as the most murderous in the list. It had killed forty-six—or twenty-six, I do not exactly remember which, but I know the number was double that of any other road. But the fact straightway suggested itself that the Erie was an immensely long road, and did more business than any other line in the country; so the double number of killed ceased to be matter for surprise.

By further figuring, it appeared that between New York and Rochester the Erie ran eight passenger trains each way every day—sixteen altogether; and carried a daily average of 6,000 persons. That is about a million in six months—the population of New York city. Well, the Erie kills from thirteen to twenty-three persons out of its million in six months; and in the same time 13,000 of New York's million die in their beds! My flesh crept, my hair stood on end. "This is appalling!" I said. "The danger isn't in travelling by rail, but in trusting to those deadly beds. I will never sleep in a bed again."


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Flavorwire » Mike Daisey Reveals Secrets of the World Order:

Mike Daisey is known for his Spalding Gray-style tour de force monologues that recall personal experiences in a social and historical context, tackling such wide-ranging topics as the financial meltdown, the corporatization of the American theatre, and his time working in customer service at For three new live productions, Daisey trades his solitary table and glass of water for a talented cast of actors to craft a radio program in the mold of Orson Welles’ The War of the Worlds— except, this is billed as the go-to program for “Masons of the 3rd Order and higher.”

We met up with Daisey and his alter ego to talk about the shifty masons, former presidents, powerful business men, and even an Ayn Rand musical about libertarianism and female submission. Learn about the secret order and drink the Kool-Aid after the jump.

Nimble Design - /the/path/of/most/resistance:

In Japanese aesthetics, one of the most striking things is the focus on negative space. The Japanese concepts of “Ma” and “Wabi-sabi” put as much focus on what is omitted as what is added. The result is beautiful art and architecture that invoke a sense of peace and stillness.

Apple is doing something rather daring with their new iPhone OS. They are essentially omitting features that people once took for granted in a typical computer. And one of the biggest things they’ve omitted is the visual file system. Instead, in the iPhone OS, the concept of the file is essentially gone. It’s been replaced by “apps and their stuff.”

The end result is that regular folks are happier with their computers and that geeks are pissed that Apple has “dumbed down” the computer. Geeks bemoan the lack of the file system in the iPad. When they criticize it for not being a real computer, this is what they’re talking about. Well, so be it.

Going Underground 28

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal « What I Couldn't Say…:

I feel for Google – Steve Jobs threatened to sue me, too.

In 2003, after I unveiled a prototype Linux desktop called Project Looking Glass*, Steve called my office to let me know the graphical effects were “stepping all over Apple’s IP.” (IP = Intellectual Property = patents, trademarks and copyrights.) If we moved forward to commercialize it, “I’ll just sue you.”

My response was simple. “Steve, I was just watching your last presentation, and Keynote looks identical to Concurrence – do you own that IP?” Concurrence was a presentation product built by Lighthouse Design, a company I’d help to found and which Sun acquired in 1996. Lighthouse built applications for NeXTSTEP, the Unix based operating system whose core would become the foundation for all Mac products after Apple acquired NeXT in 1996. Steve had used Concurrence for years, and as Apple built their own presentation tool, it was obvious where they’d found inspiration. “And last I checked, MacOS is now built on Unix. I think Sun has a few OS patents, too.” Steve was silent.

And that was the last I heard on the topic.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Slings and Arrows - Theater - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:

And I'm not predicting the death of theater; I'm predicting its decline into the total cultural irrelevance of poetry and classical music. Which isn't to say those things are bad -- but when was the last time you had an argument with someone about a poem or a symphony? People used to. They still (rarely) get into arguments about theater...but that's going to stop, and when it does, theater has become inert.

Every city will have its Theater, like it has its Symphony Orchestra and its Opera, with a handful of amateur groups scattered around, entertaining a modest audience of friends and enthusiasts. Nothing wrong with it, but it's not the same as having a conversation with our culture. Which I believe most theater artists would like to be having.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

FrontRow » Mike Daisey: An Evening of Higher Learning:

Daisey is kind of like that storied professor. You take their class because you’ve heard so much about how great they are. Never specific traits described but always revered tones. People who took this class would exchange a knowing look as if they had just come out of Plato’s cave and ran into each other. So, you take the class and on the first day, you think what’s the big deal? This prof is like a lot of profs. It is still lecture/discussion followed by test/presentations/papers. Why do people make such a fuss? And slowly it dawns on you that this isn’t a professor in the literal terms – a person professing. The difference is so small it is hard to see at first. It is simply a question of authenticity. This teacher loves their material authentically. There is no noise coming from vanity or ego to muddy up the transfer of knowledge. And they show you how you can love the material, too, without saying it specifically, without professing a love, but living it in front of you. That is the magic created and performed by Mike Daisey and directed by Jean-Michele Gregory.

It wouldn’t be fair to say the evening’s show is just about Brecht, though his stories about Brecht are fascinating. Daisey weaves stories about his own life into the lecture, but the aim and effect are entirely different than a stand-up comic. Not that they aren’t funny. Some are. His stories tend to reveal himself or what he has discovered about himself in the same way that he has discovered things about Brecht. Placed close together with comparisons implied and specified, we learn more about each than we would without the other. That’s good teaching. That’s good theater.


Thursday, March 04, 2010


1) My last name is spelled Daisey.

2) I will not be playing the "role" of Steve Jobs. The monologue concerns Steve Jobs' rise and fall and rise, Apple, industrial design, and the human price we are willing to pay for our technology, woven together in a complex narrative. I play no one but myself, speaking to the audience.

3) I'm a monologuist. What I perform is a monologue, not a play.

4) You can visit
wikipedia, or use google, and even some of the links on this site to quickly get a sense of my work.

5) This one is for the old-schoolers: If you cut me, I always bleed six colors.
London at night 4
FrontRow » Blog Archive » Truth in Wit: Mike Daisey Brings His Juggernaut Monologues to Open the Out of the Loop Festival:

Daisey comes to Dallas this weekend with a scathing critique of American culture at large and its theater culture in particular. It is a culture, he said during a conversation Wednesday, that has allowed us to “corporatize” the American theater. Think of it as an actor’s revolt. His play, How Theater Failed America, takes on the theater world in Daisey’s trademark style: a wandering semi-autobiographic monologue that mixes storylines and farce, serious critical satire and his bombastic sense of humor. Daisey has been described as a cross between Noam Chomsky and Jack Black. Jokes about sex with Paris Hilton cozy up against serious reflections on the craft of Bertolt Brecht. What keeps it all together is Daisey’s dynamism as a performer, an individual with the charisma and charm to make a one-man show feel like a an ensemble epic. Daisey will perform two works at this year’s Out of the Loop Festival: Great Men of Genius, a four part “bio-logue” that tells the life stories of Bertolt Brecht, P.T. Barnum, Nikola Tesla, and L. Rob Hubbard, and How Theater Failed America.
Looming concrete

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

"This unfortunate aphorism about Art holding the mirror up to nature is deliberately said by Hamlet in order to convince the bystanders of his absolute insanity in all art matters."

—Oscar Wilde, The Decay Of Lying

Monday, March 01, 2010