Is awesome. If Sam Raimi can do a couple more of these kinds of movies at this quality level, I might forgive Spiderman 3.
Writing on TAPped yesterday, Mori Dinauer commented on Obama's demand for a settlement freeze thusly:
Laura Rozen shares Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's reaction to the Obamaadministration's tough stand against expanding Israeli settlements, as well as Netanyahu's surprise that unlike past presidential administrations, Obama's isn't passively yielding to the Israeli position. I think moments like this serve as a good example that claims of the deep influence of the "Israel Lobby" on U.S. foreign policy are the result of a reputation for influence, rather than influence itself.
Now, this was a throwaway sentence, not a cogent argument, but I'd like to hear this teased out more, because on its face, I don't think there's much evidence that the Israel Lobby's influence is merely via reputation. This is evidence that Obama is willing to play toughish (more on that later) with certain issues with Israel, but that actually says nothing about the relative power of the Israel Lobby other than they're not all powerful.
Other than Ricci, Judge Sotomayor has decided 96 race-related cases while on the court of appeals.
Of the 96 cases, Judge Sotomayor and the panel rejected the claim of discrimination roughly 78 times and agreed with the claim of discrimination 10 times; the remaining 8 involved other kinds of claims or dispositions. Of the 10 cases favoring claims of discrimination, 9 were unanimous. (Many, by the way, were procedural victories rather than judgments that discrimination had occurred.) Of those 9, in 7, the unanimous panel included at least one Republican-appointed judge. In the one divided panel opinion, the dissent’s point dealt only with the technical question of whether the criminal defendant in that case had forfeited his challenge to the jury selection in his case. So Judge Sotomayor rejected discrimination-related claims by a margin of roughly 8 to 1.
Of the roughly 75 panel opinions rejecting claims of discrimination, Judge Sotomayor dissented 2 times. In Neilson v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., 199 F.3d 642 (1999), she dissented from the affirmance of the district court’s order appointing a guardian for the plaintiff, an issue unrelated to race. In Gant v. Wallingford Bd. of Educ., 195 F.3d 134 (1999), she would have allowed a black kindergartner to proceed with the claim that he was discriminated against in a school transfer. A third dissent did not relate to race discrimination: In Pappas v. Giuliani, 290 F.3d 143 (2002), she dissented from the majority’s holding that the NYPD could fire a white employee for distributing racist materials.
President Obama and his wife, Michelle, plan to visit New York City on Saturday and take in a Broadway show, the August Wilson play “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” at the Belasco Theater on West 44th Street, according to three theater executives who have been informed of the First Family’s plans.
Rob Weinert-Kendt, co-founder of Critic-O-Meter claims that Elvis Costello's King of America is his best album. This claim is ludicrous on its face! Trust, Armed Forces and This Year's Model are all superior albums. This is an outrage! Our differing tastes prove that Rob has insufficient moral fiber (or character for that matter!) and he should print a full retraction or risk not being invited to my fortieth birthday party in ten years! Arg! Angry! I'm angry! Grr.
On another note, did you know the character of T-Bone in the book High Fidelity is names after EC producer T-Bone Burrnett? It's true. One of many Elvis Costello references (including the title) removed in the film.
Another way to say all of this is...
The Broadway season might be over, but Critic-O-Meter keeps on going and going and going! Oy vey! Click here to find out what the reviewers thought of Groundswell, 10 Things To Do Before I Die, Le Serpent Rouge, Pure Confidence, Vieux Carre and more!
What happens when a marketing director invites patrons to vent their spleen at a critic who didn't like a show? Thomas Garvey is on the case. Is this good audience activism and organizing? Or a disastrous breach of all kinds of boundaries? He reports, you decide.
Looking for an idea for a paper? Look no further! At the gym this morning I thought it would be a good idea to write a long-form piece about how commerce works in August Wilson's 20th Century Cycle, relating it to ideas of the economic development in general and African American economic development in particular. Weave together some 20th century social history, some play analysis, maybe a little bit of Lewis Hyde's discussion of the development of Capitalism and Usury in The Gift for good measure.
Mike Daisey edition. I am basically a creature of the non-profit theatre world about to marry a creature of the for-profit theatre world (who has also worked in non-profit). I'll just say both worlds have a shitload of disfunction and both worlds have plenty to teach each other. Rocco's fundamental perspective-- that non-profits need to stop behaving like commercial producers-- is exactly what the non-profit world needs to hear right now.
Here's how this could work in the arts. A city-wide agency, like the local cultural council, could offer an "Art Card" to all residents. Eligibility would be based on financial aid criteria like that described above, particularly tax returns. This information would be fed into a formula that would then be connected to the resident's account with the city agency. The Art Card would then act something like a supermarket loyalty card for its holder, with a preset individualized discount off of any posted price for participating organizations. So say I want to go to City Opera. I buy a $50 ticket, present my Art Card to the box office or the website form, and am told that my price for this ticket will be $37.16 based on my personal financial situation. This setup would be expensive to implement, but it would be fundamentally fair -- and would have the additional benefits to participating organizations of allowing them to dispense with other hard-to-verify discounts andraise prices on their highest-income customers (just as colleges and private schools have been doing with tuition for years). It also benefits residents and extracts value from tourists, something any local government should be able to get behind. And if institutions are reluctant to play along, the city could always make participation in the program a requirement of receiving grant funds (at least for its largest institutions).
Imagine that instead of your Facebook account being just acquaintances and friends, it is a social network of self-selected audience members who want to follow your work. Let's say that one of the audience members on your list is convinced that you as Playwright A simply must work with Director B, Actors C, D and E, and Designer F. That audience member then proposes the idea of this collaboration to the network of all six artists. Let's say that 500 audience members following each artist agree that this collaboration has to happen. These 3,000 people each give $20 to the project, and $60,000 is now raised. Perhaps this donation serves as their ticket as well, making the project sell out its first few weeks (assuming the online functionality could handle some form of self-reservations).
These artists now have enough seed money to create a unique work of art with revenue generated solely by an audience already committed to seeing it. Each audience member is a producer, and as such, is intimately more connected to the project, and more likely to follow the artists' work afterwards. Each artist sees their audience base grow significantly from the crossover.
It's been awhile since I've actively been listening to new (or at least new to me) music. But recently, thanks to some gift certificates etc. here's what I've picked up:
Apropos of this article about a High School production of Sweeney Todd, I would just like to add this. There were four events in my life that made me want to make a life in the theatre. The first was seeing a Michael Kahn-helmed St. Joan as a child (I think eleven, but I'm not sure). The second was being cast in a professional production of Falsettoland in seventh grade. The third was seeing my high school do Sweeney Todd when I was in eighth grade. The fourth was seeing both parts of Angels In America on Broadway in one weekend and feeling more alive than I thought was humanly possible by the end of it.
A movie possibly expanding the Buffy The Vampire Slayer franchise possibly involving Joss Whedon possibly might be made. Vague details here.
I said I was going to follow up on Adam's (muy excellente!) post about Endowed Artist Chairs and donor behavior. Having talked a little about his "quibbles" with the idea, I want to look a bit into his diagnosis of a key problem because I think it's important and spot on:
Most individuals who have the means to support arts organizations via donations, don't have a clue what artists get paid.
Yes, some may assume the artists make a ton of money. Others may assume they are working for free.
But a lot of them just don't know. Because they are never directly told by the people responsible for doing so, i.e. leadership within the organizations.
So they donate their money to an endowment, or an annual fund and then they trust the leadership of the organization to spend those funds (which are generally unrestricted) in any way they see fit.
It's the same with capital campaigns. When a fundraiser walks in and asks for 100K for the building, that donor is thinking the same thing you are:
If they want me to give 100K for this building, then everything must be fine internally, or else why would they ask?
Hell, I know a few donors who, if they knew the employees of the organization didn't have health insurance would NEVER donate to a capital campaign.
We often make the mistake of assuming that the people funding these sorts of campaigns are as knowledgeable about life inside the arts as we are.
They aren't. Basically these are laymen (and women) with a lot of money.
So the reason these people aren't funding the artists are basically:
1. They think they are funding the artists by donating to annual funds and such
2. They are directly asked to support capital campaign, which often leads them to believe everything is fine.
This is raised in the context of trying to raise money for endowed artist chairs instead of buildings.
(I want to pause here for one moment and digress: It's worth mentioning the context in which the idea of Endowed Artist Chairs was raised earlier. It was, essentially, in response to an oft-heard buildings-over-people argument... namely that donors want to fund something they can put their name on, and they won't fund artists, they'll fund buildings. The EAC is a counter-argument idea: It essentially says "What about this? Other art forms have been able to do this. Why aren't you trying to do this?". It appears the answer to that question is... "Because honestly we don't want to". There's lots of reasons why institutions might not want to, which I want to address at a later point.)
Sam Schulman last week wrote an opinion piece in The Weekly Standard about Gay Marriage that truly must be read to be believed. It's... staggering... amongst other things it basically confirms every critique that feminists have leveled against marriage over the past two hundred years, but then says that all of those things are good things and that gay marriage will spoil the traditional values of marriage which include (and this is a direct quote) that it's about "protecting and controlling the sexuality of the child-bearing sex" It also argues that current heterosexual marriage is, essentially, decadent and corrupt.
I am so sick of this shit. I never really bought the arguments they put forth against taxing Broadway tickets. I think they should be taxed, I mean, I think it would be good if it wasn't the full sales tax (that I would like to see imposed on secondary ticket brokers like TicketsNow) but I never bought the arguments against it. It seemed... disingenuous for the Broadway League to be worried about high ticket prices. That they were putting forth that argument while also designing a hidden fee on discounted tickets is just lame.
Over at Balloon Juice, John Cole writes:
So I stopped by the kitty prison to check out what kind of dogs and cats they had up for adoption, and every single dog in there was beagle or part beagle. I supposed I should take advantage of the fact that Sullivan is on vacation to note how much I can’t stand beagles, because I think they are the worst behaving dogs on the planet. I will adopt a mutt, just so long as I am sure that no more than 5% of its bloodline is beagle. The fact that the kitty prison is filled with unwanted beagles merely reinforces my opinion.
This kind of bigotry will not stand! As the proud owner of this: