Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An Update and Related Thoughts

    Let's start with the update: I did get a response to the email I sent to the marketing director at the theater where The Spouse and I saw the trainwreck of a show this past Saturday. While she apologized for the disappointment we experienced, she included a patronizing reminder that there was a warning in the brochure (albeit a very inadequate one) and the website billed it as rated R (at the time I checked to see when the tickets went on sale, oh, no they had not put up the big red letter in the lower right corner). She kindly included links.
    I didn't bother to click on them. I know what I heard at the show, and I know what I read. The inaccurate description and refusal to own up to it bothered me more than the monologue itself.
     Anyone who's known me for more than, oh, ten minutes is aware that I drop my share of f-bombs. I try not to do so out of respect to others' sensibilities until I get to know them and know what their boundaries are. I also do it for free.
     There are times in the arts that it becomes necessary to use coarse language or graphic imagery. Character development and authentic dialog are two situations when you may have to let 'er rip. Visuals depicting the consequences of inhuman behavior, such as Picasso's "Guarnica" would have lost power had they been dumbed down or sanitized. If there's a point to it, so be it. If there is no point, it brings into question the talents of the performer or writer or comic.
     I'd like to believe there's a caring person inside the rage the main act exhibited on stage. By the end of the night, I wanted to gently take him by the shoulders, sit him down, and tell him that it's ok to be angry (among other issues, he's just been divorced and his ex got everything except the clothes on his back), but that it's not ok to use racial stereotypes and insult people who make up the bulk of your fan base because they liked your two tv shows).
     Just as the marketing director didn't get it, he wouldn't either. So I'm going to go crawl inside a Jane Austen movie until I feel that I can face the world again.    

Monday, September 27, 2010

The -Isms, -Ists, And -Phobes Are Regrettably Alive and Well

   Early this morning, I sent an email to the director of marketing at a local theatre.
   Back up a few steps. The act we saw over the weekend was not a stand up comedian as billed. We'd seen him on TV in a couple of sitcoms. Impressed with his writing skills and performance ability, The Spouse decided that he wanted to see him in person. I purchased tickets for the local appearance as a birthday present. OK, fine.
    First act we liked. Second, I liked: the next Roseanne is on the rise. Finally the star of the show. Started funny, then three minutes into his spew routine, used a homophobic slur, then aimed racist comments at two interracial couples in the front rows. He made several cruel comments to elderly people sitting up front, and compared the intimate parts of women's bodies to terminals where one swipes debit cards in checkout lines. From there, it deteriorated.
     He kept saying, "There are no stereotypes," as if justifying his views. It was as if he tried to turn back every social reform movement back to the '50's.
      Try the 1850's.
       Maybe I'm naive, or spoiled rotten by my friends in common reality and on Facebook who hold a vision of a just, equal, and peaceful world, but I felt my face freeze into the quintessential "OMG" position. People were laughing at that?
     I wish that we'd just walked out. The brochure made it sound as if it would be like his TV act, but naughtier and a few f-bombs here and there. The only people more surprised and ticked than us were likely the elderly people in the crowd.
      So I wrote the email this morning. Stressed that I don't advocate censorship, but that I would have appreciated a more accurate description in order to make up my own mind about it. I don't know if I'll get a response, and I'm ok with it.
       But we did decide not to see other standup acts in the future unless we knew what we were getting into.
     And I decided that if that's the world of the hip and trendy, keep it. I'll stay home Saturdays with Garrison Keillor and pizza.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More Victims of the Economy

Yesterday, WGN-TV reported that Save-a Pet shelter in north suburban Greyslake is at risk for closing due to funding issues. They need to raise $500,000 by the end of the year. If you can donate, and to learn more, please go to If you can't, please include them in your practice, or think good thoughts at them. Thank you.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Which God Do You Believe In?

   "God will get you/them/him/her for that." Some days I find comfort in the words of the sage woman Maude Finley. This is especially helpful for anyone who volunteers in domestic animal rescue. Have a badly treated dog or cat? Use that as a mantra while helping to get them to the vet's and into a foster home. It keeps you focused on the situation in front of you without draining your resources plotting vengance.
    Other days, I have a vision of God who is on everyone's side.  One who is warm and fuzzy and unconditionally loving.
     Maybe the truth lies in the middle.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Winter's Amusements are At Hand

   A walk is in order today. It's blue and bright, moderate temperatures.
   This is the first week after Labor Day. I accept and give thanks for the gift of this day, a jewel in the more uncertain weather that develops as the days grow shorter. It's inevitable that cold winds will come whipping through the field surrounding the house, shaking the snow from the evergreen boughs. Even though wisdom dictates sheltering one's self from the elements, we'll still have distractions to fill the days.
   The two big ones: the retrial of ex-Governor Blagojevich starting on January 4. But from now until March, we'll have the mayoral election in Chicago to observe.
    Yesterday, Richard Daley called a press conference detailing some cabinet changes. Thinking it a mundane housekeeping detail, very few reporters showed up. The ones who did had the privilege of witnessing history: Mayor Daley announced that he would not be seeking a seventh term of office. No reason given, just that he felt it was time.
      In that instance, a sure bet went out the window in a vortex of speculation. Whom would Chicago voters see on the ballot in March? Why was he so abruptly making the announcement?
      Three theories tossed about on the latter: 1. a plummeting approval rating; 2. his wife's health (Ms. Daley has been  reminding cancer of its proper place in the grand scheme since 2002, I think, but had to be treated for a bone lesion last spring); and 3. his father, the first Mayor Daley, died of a heart attack in his office on the fifth floor of City Hall. My two cents is a combination of those factors. But we'll never know for sure. He kept describing his decision as personal, and I'll respect that, hoping others will as well.
      As far as the former is concerned, get your scorecards ready. We're in for another round of Chicago civics.
     This winter will not be dull, certainly. But we will stay in this day, and we will take a walk.  

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Paris' and Lindsay's Divine Purpose, Part 2

(Yesterday's entry was interrupted by an impulse trip to Target. I'm back.)

One of the ironies of the shadow: it contains your greatest strengths. It's not unlike cleaning out an old purse and finding a substantial stash of change. Each of those coins has a flip side. Stubborness' reverse is patience. (Allegedly) telling detectives that a vial of coke is ashes from one of your dogs indicates an ability to creatively think on the fly.

You get the picture. Wouldn't it be nice if for their sakes, and their families, they would, too?

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Divine Purpose of Lindsay and Paris

    Crash course in Jungian theory: the shadow knows. The shadow is the part of your psyche where all the aspects of your self that you don't want to admit to reside. You know what I mean. The parts of you that just don't exist. Yeah, you know: your passive-aggressive streak, your vanity, your denial. It seethes and plots behind your persona, the mask covering the tender parts beneath.
    And that, my dears, is the purpose of the people who dance awkwardly through their lives in the public eye. We can have our little vicarious hits of fame and fortune, yet rest secure in knowing that our mundanity is safe. It's common to dream of adoration.
     Do either of them, however, dream of what it's like to be a midwest hippie chick?

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Rains of Autumn

   The rains came a tad early this year. Usually the storms confirming that summer's winding to a close falls after Labor Day. This year, they fell over two days.
    These are the rains that signal to the hunter/gatherer brain that it's time to prepare to batten down the hatches against the inevitable winds and snow. The soul translates their message into one of taking stock and letting go of what is no longer useful or workable.
    One of these storms blew up from the south last night. I finished preparing dinner, then gathered the flashlights and candles should the electricity go out. We watched TV, discussed plans for the weekend. I'll likely go to a music festival. The Spouse will be mowing and finishing up a wood working project. The generated sawdust has necessitated my leaving the car outside for the last few weeks. He thanked me for it. 
     We lapsed into a lull. He suddenly straightened up and asked, "Hey, aren't your windows open?"
       Today is bright and blue and windy. It's just perfect for drying a soggy interior.