Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
But that's all so last year.
If you were with me then, you have an idea of how badly I felt at the disregard my coworkers and upper management showed to me.
But that's so last year.
Since then, my life has turned into a playground. I have finally become a child.
Sounds backwards? I don't think so. Oh, sure, the first few years of consciousness are wonder years. They're a time of great and magical discoveries when the world around you matches your imagination. But then you're plunked in school and life becomes controlled and consciousness becomes self-conscious. Play nice. Behave. Fit in. Teachers' opinions of you begin to dictate your behavior, then your friends' opinions begin to do that, too. Soon, all these opinions and judgments begin to color your thinking, and you begin to eliminate those things about yourself that make you you.
Eventually, if you've submitted properly, you're judged fit to go out into the world and multiply and subdue the earth.
But if you managed to hold onto a little bit of that toddler wonder, that little streak of terrible-two's rebelliousness, you might manage to live your life like Merlyn in The Once and Future King: backwards.
So today, I am one year old.
My first year has been a rollicking ride. I got back onto my theatre horse, my first love, and started off by directing a controversial production of Take Me Out. Although nearly everyone loved our play, the reviewer for the Times Picayune despised everything about it except for certain particularly attractive actors - thus the controversy. Some controversy.
Next up was a black Christmas comedy, The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, which proved to be more successful than I ever imagined it could have been. Hot on the heels of this came a revival(!) of Take Me Out.
I got a month's rest and returned with three one-act plays written by Tennessee Williams, and followed that up with an original play called Nighthawks, which was beautiful.
I capped off the year by actually returning to the stage as an actor in another gripping original play called Cobalt Blue in which I was told by people I respect that I did not embarrass myself.
Of course, I hit some potholes on my ride: the backstabbing and the monetary ripoffs I experienced during the run of the dick sow - I mean "show". The mysterious disappearance of my headshot from the Marigny Theatre's foyer. But these devilish activities really only mounted up to the level of itchy bites from mosquitoes and gnats.
My photographic work has also bloomed in tandem with my theatre work.
But, best of all, is that I've managed to attract artists to me, people who want to work and play with me. Actors and writers, other photographers. They've become close friends. We believe in each other.
In late August of 2005, a terrible thing happened to us in New Orleans. But as we began to repopulate the city, something remarkable began to take root in our devastated soil, a theatre movement.
Theatre is happening everywhere in this city today. In every direction you look, and seemingly every week, someone is mounting another work. Our theatre community is accomplishing what no governmental entity has managed yet to do. It is rebuilding the city of New Orleans. It is restoring its soul.
I have been a small part of that, and I've had a ball doing it.
But that's all so last year.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Let's get quizzical!
Who was the best rock star lover? Who preferred girls in uniforms? Who shagged to his own music? Professional groupie Pamela Des Barres' new book reveals all. But can you match the star to the story?
Saturday September 29, 2007
1 "He was into cross-dressing. He wore pantyhose with cut-out parts, high heels, dresses, wigs, make-up: the whole thing... The sex was very regular, nothing out of the ordinary. There was never another person involved. The only oddity was that he dressed up a lot... XXXX knew his masculinity and his femininity. He had some of his own women's clothes made for him and he was the kind of person who would go into your closet. He was a dumpster diver, too, and he got stuff out of the trash." Groupie: Miss B
A. Pete Townshend B. Kurt Cobain C. Marilyn Manson
2 "Here was the greatest sex star on the planet and there I was getting high with him." Mercy remembers that XXXX had an elaborate tape deck system, and as they made love he played his own songs over and over, the entire time. "It was all set up," she recalls. "I remember thinking he was ego ridden. All through the sex, he listened to himself, one tape after another... He was an extremely funny guy, I don't know why I didn't pursue that one." Groupie: Miss Mercy
A. Tom Jones B. Prince C. Al Green
3 "I said to him, 'No, no, no, you don't kiss a girl like that,' and then I showed him how to French kiss. 'Oooh, I like that!' he said, and he went on from there. Once I showed him the difference between how he was kissing and how I kissed, he said, 'Oh God, that feels so good.' When I said, 'Yeah, it feels good all over, too,' his eyes lit up... When we first started out, he was kinda like 'wham, bam, thank you, ma'am,'... Eventually he became much more sophisticated. He was definitely worth the effort." Groupie: Tura
A. Jim Morrison B. Gene Simmons C. Elvis Presley
4 "He liked me in long, flowy skirts. He wanted me to look like a gypsy all the time; an innocent gypsy... He was so possessive and protective over me. He wouldn't let me drink, and one time I was smoking cigarettes and he went crazy. He made me smoke a whole pack of Salems until I was gagging. I never smoked again. He was like a dad sometimes." Groupie: Lori Lightning
A. Jimmy Page B. Paul McCartney C. Jeff Beck
5 "A lot of Englishmen have this thing about English schoolgirls... He took me to Marks & Spencer, and we went into the section where they sold school uniforms. We started play-acting and XXXX told the saleslady, 'I have to buy this little girl a school uniform, she's the daughter of one of my friends, can you fit her please?' Here was this 21-year-old kid with this however-the-hell-old-I-looked young girl. I was supposed to be going into seventh or eighth grade, but must have looked about 11. Groupie: Patti D'Arbanville
BryanFerry B. John Lennon C. Cat Stevens
6 "We walked around
, and he'd tell me about the architecture, the carriage houses, who once lived in this house or when that home was built. He taught me all about the pre-Raphaelites. We'd go to fancy little restaurants for dinner... We'd stay home and listen to music, get high and drink champagne. He'd put on a James Brown record and do his XXXX dance for me." Groupie: Catherine James Chelsea
A. Mick Jagger B. Eric Clapton C. David Bowie
7 "He was the best lover. I mean, he was the absolute best. He lived in the attic on the top floor of the house. He had speakers on either side of his pillows, and when you laid in bed, you were immersed in this wall of sound. He used to make this sexy blowing noise in my ear... He was very uninhibited, physically and sexually free, and in touch with his body. He used to play an album by the Hollies all the time, and now, whenever I hear that song Hey, Carrie Anne, I think of him." Groupie: Michele Overman
A.Steven Tyler B. Robert Plant C. Leo Sayer
Answers 1B; 2C; 3C; 4A; 5C; 6A; 7A
Thursday, September 27, 2007
She hasn't worked at the Marigny Theatre in nearly two years. She's been busy winning awards elsewhere - although she did win a few for her last Marigny performance. She loves Paul Rudnick and figures that with the success of the current show, we might get more people than normal for our audiences.
I'm thinking that she may be right. We should be able to ride the (coat-? ... naw) tails of the dick sow - I mean "show" - and pull off a little moneymaker. I hope so, cause I plan to spend a nice chunk of the current profits to make this next one one to look at.
I'm hopeful for a good turnout for next week's readings.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
This is just a little poster I whipped up yesterday before and after going out to see Jodie Foster in The Brave One.
I've only ever done one other poster. Tell me what you think. Can you find the eyes?
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
We've announced the audition schedule for the next play to follow the dick sow - I mean "show". An elaborate production involving double casting, split-second costume changes, elaborate lighting and music cues. We will have 19 days of rehearsals to mount this epic, not counting weekends. This is formidable.
On the other hand, the play we read last week has a cast of four, a single set with one effect. It's beautifully written and structured. The playwright is agreeable to a radical suggestion I made to him and has his heart set on a certain actor for a lead role. Said actor is not available during the first open slot at the Marigny Theatre in February of next year, and the playwright does not want to wait to mount the production later than March.
Do you get where I'm going?
I will be heading out to speak to the producer soon to see if he is amenable to throwing out all his plans and press releases and starting all over again from scratch with this other play. I will need all the guile I can muster.
And I'm not a guileful man.
Update: Didn't work. Oh, well, it could be worse. The Saints could lose tonight.
Update 2: Shit! Fuck!
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Oh, sure, we circled our wagons for a while until we began to feel comfortable with each other, but that didn't take long. I enjoyed spending time with him. I think he felt the same.
Of course, I'm going to see the show again. This time from upstairs in the gymnasium, which is where the company staff sits. I expect it will all have come together by then.
I like making new friends.
Plus, I met with Louie afterwards, and things are getting really exciting with his new play.
I guess it would never occur to her that if she prayed the storm away from New Orleans, she must have prayed it over to someplace else. What did she say? Did it go something like this? "Please Jeebus, send it to Alabama or, better yet, Florida - you know, you never cared much for Florida."
No, these kind of Pray-ers don't think like that. They don't consider consequences.
I remember when New Orleans was under water and people were stranded in the Superdome and the Convention Center and other people were waiting on their roofs for helicopters, the governor of Louisiana held a prayer breakfast. What a lost soul.
Then this morning between hearing the evangelist and stirring my first cup of coffee, God came unto me and swept me up into the seventh heaven where He gave me a new prayer for New Orleans - hell, for the whole world.
Get up off your kneesGod told me that.
Get up on your feet
Get out on the street
And do something good for somebody
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Treat 'em right, and they'll even pick you up and pull you back into the car after you've fallen out the backseat into the gutter.
And they won't tell the other half about it.
Gotta love 'em.
In a speech defending his administration's Iraq policy, Mr Bush said former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's brutality had made it impossible to find a leader who could unite the country.
"I heard somebody say, 'Where's Mandela?'," he said.
"Well, Mandela's dead because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas."
The bizarre gaffe was made in a press conference in Washington yesterday.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Catholics are being asked to donate on the internet to receive a piece of John Paul II's gown and help make him a saint.
The official website of the Diocese of Rome has a section dedicated to the former Pope's beatification and cannonisation, offering prayer groups, testmonies and even a piece his gown.
There is also an option for Catholics to help fund the "Cause" and voluntarily donate a sum to set John Paul II on the path to sainthood.
"The aim of the website is to give everyone a chance to take part in the process," website editor Stefano Chiodo told Bloomberg News.
Boston's finest will only get worked up if it looks like you are going to get between them and their donuts.
LOL, here it's the po-boys.
My daughter lives in NC and she does go on about po-boys. I would have to find a really good recipe if I was to ever try one out up here.
A recipe for a po-boy?! I am so gonna post that today.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
It didn't start out that way. I headed out early in the morning on a picture-taking walk and got some cool shots of my neighborhood.
I had been meaning to do this for months, but I'm nothing if not inertial, so I'd just been spending my time sitting and spreading. Then Dave started shooting his neighborhood and blogging his pictures. I heard the metaphorical starter pistol, and the race was on. So with my trusty, heavy Nikon slung around my neck, I set out. I'll be posting the pictures as time goes on.
I should have started this sooner, what with my being "between engagements" at the Marigny Theatre while the dick sow - I mean, "show" - is installed there and running to capacity houses. (Why is that? What does that sow - I mean, "show" - have that good theatre doesn't offer? I guess I'll never figure that one out.)
I spent most of the rest of the day working on the pictures until it was time to start getting ready to head down to the theatre for the first introductory reading of this new play I'd mentioned a week or so ago. The playwright, Louie Crowder, and I had hand-picked a cast to do the reading, and we were pretty excited about getting together and hearing the work for the first time. Then a principal actor cancelled at the last minute, and I had to scramble to find a replacement. But, with one well-placed phone call I managed to lock one in, and we were set.
Then the world began to shift.
First, there came the email ...
... Allow me to travel back in time a bit.
Back in May, I had attended a local theatre group's production of a Depression-era classic drama. I went because a lot of actors I had worked with were cast in it. Well, two of them, but they were both really good; and I wanted to support them.
I had a ball. I thought the production was first-rate. All the actors were passionate and committed to the text and the play's theme. It was hard to leave after the show, so I spent a little time meeting with and chatting up some of the members of the cast. I still carry that production in my memory and still feel the exhilarating excitement I felt in the original moment.
Now flash forward four months. The same group is presenting another play from the same period. A very different play, this one having to do with war and its dreadful devastation. Three of the best actors I've ever worked with are cast in principal roles. Of course, I'm going, right?
I attended the opening night.
But something was wrong. The same core group of actors are performing in this new play, but something is missing. There were moments I enjoyed, and I'm a good audience. I laugh or cry, sometimes both at once. I listen closely, and I watch intently. Something definitely was wrong.
After the performance, I slipped away ...
... Then there came the email.
The artistic director is writing me because, as he explains, he has the impression I did not like the play, and he would like to meet with me to discuss it.
I start wondering, what did I say, who did I say it to?
But it's time to get to the theatre, so I don't respond immediately. I'm worried and feeling sick to my stomach. I hate confrontation of any sort. (And to those of you who know me, fuck off, I do, I really do.)
Down in the Marigny, in the space next door owned by the theatre, we have the sitdown. It goes really well. Keith and Carlos are there, Keith with his partner Liz. Jason and Gary complete the cast. The play is good. We all agree we want more of it, an additional scene, at least, in Act Two - something to flesh out the changing relationships between the characters. The playwright is pleased.
When we are done, we all step into Cowpokes bar next door. Timm is there. I ask if I can show Liz the theatre foyer. He says sure, show her the whole theatre.
She seems to be enchanted with our little space. Out in the foyer, we look at the wall of pictures of actors who have performed here. Putting up a wall of photos was my idea. Nearly all theatres have these galleries, but the Marigny Theatre originally didn't. Most of the photographs are headshots I have taken. I donated the frames. During the run of Cobalt Blue, in which I performed, Timm had even added my own headshot.
But ... but ... on this night, I discover my headshot is gone, missing, removed. The nail is still there, but I have been deleted, vacuumed. On this wall of stars, I am a black hole. (Don't even go there.)
Then we notice signs posted that the posters for the dick sow - I mean, "show" - which prominently display one of the photographs I had shot for this production, are for sale. No one told me. Nobody asked me.
I find myself feeling vandalized. I find myself feeling hurt. I find myself feeling royally pissed.
Keith and Liz and I head over to the Latrine where we know it'll be quiet. I proceed to get dangerously wasted. So wasted that these children have to carry me two blocks home. Disgusting.
The next morning, in shame and disgrace, I respond to the email that started all this. I'll be meeting the director on Sunday for coffee and brunch. If I don't reappear here after that day, you can assume he was packing a gun.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I mean, how can we leave? Let me introduce you to Clint Maedgen and the New Orleans BINGO! Show, along with the Preservation Jazz Hall Band.(A deep bow to Ashley Morris from whom I blatantly ripped off this vid and to Cajun Boy in the City who sent it to Ashley. I have no shame when it comes to my Complicated Life.)
[Pay attention to the editing in the video. Fuckin'-A awesome!]
Monday, September 17, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
JACKSON, Mississippi - A state agency wants to divert $600 million from a Hurricane Katrina housing program to a port restoration project, outraging advocacy groups who say the proposal shortchanges thousands of people still homeless on the Gulf Coast.Gee, from everything I've been reading from the wingnuts, it was New Orleans and Louisiana who were bilking their hard-paid taxes to fund vanity projects. Sure, Mississippi has a port, and that port should be repaired; but isn't that what Mississippians pay taxes for?
The Mississippi Development Authority has proposed taking the money from the $2.25 billion remaining in Gov. Haley Barbour’s Homeowners Assistance Grant Program, which is funded by federal block grants. Part of that program is dedicated to low-income and working poor homeowners.
“It’s just unfair,” Reilly Morse of the Mississippi Center for Justice said Wednesday. “We’ve been told affordable housing was supposed to be a priority. Don’t rob the displaced to build a port.”
Agency officials said there would be enough money in the housing fund to cover about 30,000 homeowners applying for grants to restore or rebuild property destroyed by the storm.
The development authority chose to tap the Homeowner Assistance Grant Program because it had excess funding, Donna Sanford, director of MDA’s disaster recovery division, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
The proposal is open to public comment until Sept. 24, and organizations including Oxfam America and the Mississippi NAACP have said they will oppose it. The proposal needs approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The $600 million would be used to restore public infrastructure and publicly owned facilities at the State Port at Gulfport that were destroyed during the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane. It would also improve the operating capacity at the port, Barbour said in a news release.
Barbour said the restoration is “crucial to the economy of our state and essential to the revitalization of the Gulf Coast region.”
The port generates about 3,000 maritime jobs and is the third busiest container port in the Gulf of Mexico, said Don Allee, executive director of the Mississippi State Port Authority.
Thousands of families still live in FEMA trailers and affordable rental property is scarce. Roberta Avila of the Interfaith Disaster Task Force said many coast residents haven’t recovered because they don’t qualify for the governor’s housing program.
My, my, my, money still talks.
The Bush administration seems intent on flouting Congress’s mandate to restore the primacy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in dealing with disasters. At the core of the government’s dreadful performance when Katrina crushed New Orleans two years ago was the confusion of responsibility in which the new and untested Department of Homeland Security superseded FEMA as the manager of disaster response.
To repair this glaring problem, Congress passed a bipartisan reform act last year firmly specifying FEMA as the main coordinator for national emergencies. Nevertheless, homeland security has just issued its own sweeping disaster policy statement claiming the coordinator’s role for its own department secretary. ...The new homeland security policy — the already overdue “national response framework” — amounts to fresh disaster on paper. It not only ignores Congress’s vital mandate, but it breezes past a range of valuable proposals from state and local disaster managers and first responders. It threatens to compound bureaucratic inertia by creating 15 regional disaster areas with separate operational and strategic plans.
Homeland Security Department officials defend their plan as merely a draft open to hearings and change. But they’re throwing down the gauntlet before Congress. Some angry members are threatening to strip FEMA entirely from under the homeland umbrella. Far better that Congress defend its own primacy by establishing this finally is a nation of law, not runaway executives.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
By DAVID STOUT
WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 — “Engaging in the banalties of life has become a death-defying act,” the seven soldiers wrote of the war they had seen in Iraq.
They were referring to the ordeals of Iraqi citizens, trying to go about their lives with death and suffering all around them. They did not know it at the time, but they might almost have been referring to themselves.
Two of the soldiers who wrote of their pessimism about the war, in an Op-Ed article that appeared in The New York Times on Aug. 19, were killed in Baghdad on Monday. They were not killed in combat, nor on a daring mission. They died when the five-ton cargo truck they were riding in overturned.
The victims, Staff Sgt. Yance T. Gray, 26, and Sgt. Omar Mora, 28, were among the authors of “The War as We Saw It,” in which they expressed doubts about reports of progress.
“As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day,” the soldiers wrote.
“My son was a soldier in his heart from the age of 5,” Sergeant Gray’s mother, Karen Gray, said by telephone today from Ismay, Mont., where Yance grew up. “He loved what he was doing.”
“But he wasn’t any mindless robot,” said the sergeant’s father, Richard Gray. Sergeant Gray leaves a wife, Jessica, and a daughter, Ava, born in April. He is also survived by a brother and sister.
Sergeant Mora’s mother, Olga Capetillo of Texas City, Tex., told The Daily News in Galveston that her son had grown increasingly gloomy about Iraq. “I told him God is going to take care of him and take him home,” she said.
A native of Ecuador, Sergeant Mora had recently become an American citizen. “He was proud of this country, and he wanted to go over and help,” his stepfather, Robert Capetillo, told The Houston Chronicle. Sergeant Mora leaves a wife, Christa, and a daughter, Jordan, who is 5. Survivors also include a brother and sister.
While the seven soldiers were composing their article, one of them, Staff Sgt. Jeremy A. Murphy, was shot in the head. He was flown to a military hospital in the United States and is expected to survive. The other authors were Buddhika Jayamaha, an Army specialist, and Sgts. Wesley D. Smith, Jeremy Roebuck and Edward Sandmeier.
“We need not talk about our morale,” they wrote in closing. “As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.”
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Bobby called up, "Remember those boiled crabs I bought yesterday?"
I relax. I think, That's good, he's talking. I say, "Yeah."
"Remember I threw out the shells from the crabs I ate yesterday evening and put the leftovers in the refrigerator?"
"Well, I'm hungry. I went to get the rest of the crabs, and they're the trash crabs. I threw away the ones I didn't eat."
I admit, my first thought was, Get 'em out of the trash bin. There's been no pickup yet. But then I figured, what with the heat, they might not be so good anymore.
Still trudging up those moors.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Timmy Teepell is Rep. Jindal's campaign manager and a risen [sic] star in the Republican Party. We'll have more about Timmy and Jindal soon, but for now I wanted to share Timmy's interview with the Home School Legal Defense Association about "home school newlyweds" who choose to "reject usual dating practices". Timmy previously worked with the National Center for Home Education. You may find Teepell's story inspiring.
To fully understand the import of this decision, you have to understand the workings of Bobby's mind. Neither anyone nor anything has ever dissuaded Bobby from following a course of action he has decided to pursue. I admit I tried - even this late in our relationship - to get him to turn it over to someone else.
I watched him sit on his little plastic chair in the pond lining up tiles that would not fit properly against knotty walls and an uneven floor surface. He had spent $175.00 on ceramics and a salesclerk's recommendation of Gorilla Glue. But he sat there and pondered day after day and couldn't come up with a way to make it work. After a few hours of this, he would come in and sit dejectedly, exhausted and dehydrated from the heat.
I suggested grouting.
Let's hire a Mexican.
Maybe ... No.
I can download instructions from the Internet.
What about so-and-so who worked on the set for Take Me Out?
That was wood.
He does contracting work. He can do anything.
So Bobby contacted the guy. He came right over, agreed to do it. They haggled and settled on a price. He said he'd start tomorrow (yesterday).
True to the contractor code, he never showed up. But Bobby sat home all day and waited.
He finally told me he'd agreed to our hiring this guy because he realized he no longer had the strength to tackle this kind of project.
My Lear is trudging up the moors.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
I know what it is. I'm not doing anything. I'm not filling my hours with events or company.
I've surrendered my preferred lifestyle to Bob's; and he and I are just turning into two old farts, sittin', scratchin'. Well, Bob's been an old fart for years now, but I'm devolving into one with him now. Is that what marriage is supposed to be about?
I need to get out and take a walk.
I need to start working on another show or get someone to let me photograph them.
I need to find some way of making money without actually taking a job to do it.
I need a good lay.
Is that asking so much?
Friday, September 7, 2007
President Bush not only muddled the international meeting he was attending this week - he also thought he was on the other side of the world.
Speaking in Sydney [Australia] at the Asia Pacific Economic Council (APEC) summit of world leaders, Mr Bush thanked “Austrian” Prime Minister, John Howard, in front of a summit of business leaders, for being a gracious “OPEC” host.
The gaffes came amid a major security embarrassment when cast members of an Australian television show, disguised as the official Canadian motorcade, were waved through stringent checkpoints to within metres of Mr Bush’s Sydney hotel.
If he weren't such a homicidal, fascist megalomaniac, he'd be a world-class joke.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
"A B-52 bomber mistakenly loaded with five nuclear warheads flew from Minot Air Force Base, N.D, to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., on Aug. 30, resulting in an Air Force-wide investigation, according to three officers who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the incident."Comforting to know they're looking out for us.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
We've become a society obsessed with the quest for physical perfection. If you don't like the nose (or ears or lips or breasts) you were born with, there's a solution: find a doctor and get it fixed. Last year Americans underwent nearly 11 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. That's an increase of 7 percent from the previous year and more than 400 percent from a decade ago. Clearly, the idea of altering nature's plan for your appearance is now widely accepted. But are there parts of your body that should be off limits?Again, eeeww! Double eeeww!!
Some doctors think so. Last week the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Gynecologic Practice issued a statement to its members warning about the dangers of trying to create "designer vaginas" through procedures that purport to trim and slim the vaginal lips, tighten the vagina or add extra bounce to the G-spot with injectable materials like collagen. Over the past few years these procedures have been marketed in magazines and over the Internet largely as boosts to sexual satisfaction, turning labiaplasty (the technical name for surgery that snips the vaginal lips, or labia) into one of the fastest-growing procedures. Labiaplasty is sometimes necessary for medical reasons--if there's a problem with urination, for example. But doctors say those cases are not the reason for the surge. Although there are no firm numbers on how many procedures were performed last year, doctors around the country report more and more requests from patients for purely cosmetic changes. When there's no medical reason for these surgeries, they're not covered by insurance and can cost patients as much as $10,000.
My supper's comin' up.
John T. Scott, a New Orleans sculptor whose vibrantly colored kinetic art filtered the spirit of the African diaspora through a modernist lens, died on Saturday in Houston. He was 67 and had fled his home city just before Hurricane Katrina hit two years ago. ...
John T. Scott was born on a farm in the Gentilly section of New Orleans and raised in the city’s Lower Ninth Ward. He said that his art training began at home, when he learned embroidery from his mother; his father was a chauffeur and restaurant cook. He attended Xavier, a Roman Catholic and historically black college, and then Michigan State University, where he studied with the painter Charles Pollock, Jackson Pollock’s brother. After completing his master of fine arts degree in 1965, he returned to Xavier to teach.
Mr. Scott’s earliest work drew on Christian religious imagery and classical mythology. But by the late 1960s, his sculpture and prints focused on African, African-American, Caribbean and Southern Creole cultures, reflecting their fusion in New Orleans itself. His assemblage style and welding technique were influenced by the playful but subtly structured dynamics of jazz as well as by dance. From the 1980s onward, with encouragement from the sculptor George Rickey, his half-abstract, boldly painted sculptures in metal and wood included kinetic components. ...In 1992, Mr. Scott was awarded a “genius” grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and he used the money to build a larger studio. He produced several monumental site-specific sculptures for the city, among them “Spiritgate” (1994) for the entrance court to the New Orleans Museum of Art. In 2005, the museum mounted a career retrospective, “Circle Dance: The Art of John T. Scott.” He was represented by the Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans and by Harris Brown Gallery in Boston.
After fleeing New Orleans, he stayed in Houston to await a bilateral lung transplant. He underwent surgery twice in April and remained in the hospital and a rehabilitation facility.
Both his home and studio in New Orleans suffered storm damage, and the studio was broken into three times. Much of his sculpture-making equipment was taken, as were metal sculptures, possibly to be broken and sold for scrap. ...In June, having regained some energy, Mr. Scott spoke with Doug MacCash of The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Asked whether he intended to return to the city after recovering from surgery, he said: “That’s the only home I know. I want my bones to be buried there. I belong there. I need New Orleans more than New Orleans needs me.”
Monday, September 3, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Saturday, September 1, 2007
If Sen. Larry Craig is guilty of a serious crime, you'd never know it from listening to the audiotape of his arrest or from reading his arrest record.
Craig entered a Minneapolis airport restroom and fidgeted with his fingers while standing outside an occupied stall, occasionally peering through the crack between the door and the doorframe. After entering an adjacent stall, he sat, tapped his foot and touched the occupant's shoe with his own. Finally, Craig swiped his hand under the stall divider three times, at which point the occupant revealed his police credentials.
Craig later denied that he had done anything wrong and insisted that he is not now and never has been gay. Although homosexuality is not illegal, Craig thought that he could protect himself simply by claiming a heterosexual identity.
The arresting officer, however, believed that Craig wanted to have sex with him, and recognized the tapping of Craig's right foot "as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct." Craig was arrested after only six minutes.
Craig's case apparently was handled according to the book. But the use of everyday gestures that fall short of sex to mete out punishment for sexual misconduct illustrates a revealing departure from methods that investigators used to carry out sting operations nearly a century ago. Courts used to require a lot more than the tapping of a toe to sustain a conviction for a morals crime.
In 1919 the Navy hired "decoys" to frequent the lobby of the YMCA in Newport, R.I. Orchestrated by officers at the local Naval Training Station, the cleanup campaign sought to eliminate gay men from the ranks. Following an introduction, decoys would accompany their suspects to a hotel room and then have sex. At least three dozen sailors and civilians were arrested, and many ended up in jail.
According to conventions of the day, if men confined themselves to masculine behaviors and sex roles, they could engage in sex with other men without inviting accusations of being gay. Because perversion was seen primarily as a function of effeminate mannerisms and passive sexual tastes, government decoys could have sex with gay men with impunity as long as they assumed the active position during those encounters. Or so the Navy assumed.
When the 1919 sting operation ensnared a local minister, the Episcopal Church fought back, and what had been a local operation became a national scandal that almost ended the burgeoning political career of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was then assistant secretary of the Navy.
The church persuaded the Navy and the Senate to investigate the sting operation, and when it became apparent that the military had enlisted heterosexuals to engage in sex with other men, there was a public outcry. ...Craig joins the growing list of people who have been charged with morals crimes for innocuous behavior.
While it may be that people who behave as Craig did are looking for sex, there remains an important difference between seeking sex and having public sex. Society certainly has a right to uphold standards of public decorum, but increasing criminalization of harmless behavior opens up a space for injustice unevenly applied.
As a federal judge observed in the 1948 case of a D.C. man who had been arrested for lewd and immoral behavior after inviting an undercover police officer up to his apartment for a drink, "any citizen who answers a stranger's inquiry as to direction, or time, or a request for a dime or a match is liable to be threatened with an accusation of this sort."
What signals would a straight man use to proposition a woman? I wonder. Would he then face arrest if she turned out to be a cop? Of course not, he'd have to be explicit, there would have to be money involved, etc.
Why, a straight man can frequent brothels and have the whores dress him up (or down) in diapers and do God only knows what all and then get applauded by his buds once he'd finished.
But the fact is, Senator Craig, didn't explicitly solicit; didn't engage. The arresting officer explained to him that he could plead guilty and pay a fine - there was no question of jail time; or, if he chose to fight the charge, he would have his day in public court.
What would you do?