Saturday, November 29, 2008

Charity Begins at Home

From Levees not War:
We urge our readers in New Orleans and beyond to help save Charity Hospital -- a landmark of the social contract built with obsessive attention to detail by Huey Long in the 1930s -- from an expensive and unnecessary plan by the LSU Medical School and the Veterans Administration that would raze it and about 250 structures in the surrounding neighborhood (all on the National Historic Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of America’s Most Endangered Places).

Please keep reading at Levees Not War . . .

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Taking Stock

I started reading a new play today. Not new in the sense that I haven't read it before, although that's certainly true, but new in the sense that it's in the process of being written by the person who asked me to read it. He's a budding buddy of mine with his own well-regarded theatre company here in the city, and he thought enough of me to offer me the possibility of directing it for him.

Imagine my feelings when I started the script and immediately thought, How can anybody say these lines? I mean, How do you speak them? They don't fit the mouth.

Then suddenly, as if out of the corner of my eye, I seemed to catch a sliver of light that slanted across the page, illuminating the script, which began to play itself in my mind.

In a flash, I realized: It's a work of Commedia dell'arte Social Commentary of the Absurd!

I love experiencing revelations like that, and I really think I could translate what I saw in my imagination to the stage. I believe I may be able to accept this gig. I so wanted to be able to do it. I'm ready to start branching out from what I've been doing at the Marigny - not leaving one for any other - just reaching out for more and different opportunities and stretching my muscles.

I've accomplished a lot these last two years at my little playhouse. I've pulled off dramas, comedies, farces, a dark chamber musical, and a mindless musical-comedy pastiche. Now, mind you, nobody's ever seen these things except for some local reviewers (who've lately begun to take me seriously) and a few of my friends - but, all in all, that ain't half bad.


I've been awake since 3:30 or so this morning and on this device since around 5:00. You'd never know it, would you? Well, you'd never know it unless you happened to look and see that new thingy right up there above this post, my little link bar.

That "little link bar" took me about four hours to set up!

I hope you like it.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. I suppose I should express my gratitude for the usual stuff, a roof, some food, decent health, good friends. Consider it expressed.

I won't be doing anything other than what I do any other day of the week, but that's by choice. I will take some time to phone my brother Russell and wish him well. Then I'll call my brother Jimmy and get all mushy with him about how we never spend enough time with each other. If I'm lucky, I'll get to talk to his five kids and some of their kids until we're all blue in the face.

That sounds mean. I don't mean it to. I'm just a man of few words.

After all that, I'll probably be back here for a while. See you then.

Oh, and don't worry. I will not starve.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gettin' All Crotchety

"To save the theatre, the theatre must be destroyed, the actors and actresses must all die of the plague. They poison the air, they make art impossible. It is not drama that they play, but pieces for the theatre. We should return to the Greeks, play in the open air; the drama dies of stalls and boxes and evening dress, and people who come to digest their dinner."
- Eleonora Duse

This clip is from the silent film Cenere which would be the only record she would leave of herself in performance. When she saw it, she said, regarding film acting, "I made the same mistake that nearly everyone has made. But something quite different is needed. I am too old for it. Isn't it a pity?"

Finally ...

New Orleans may have just been ranked number 1 in crime, but a grand jury has handed down an indictment on the man who is believed to have murdered my friend and business neighbor.
Robin Malta was beaten to death inside his Port Street home on June 12, 2007. Arrest records show that the blood of Mark Ott, who is the target of the grand jury, was found at the scene.

Investigators said they believe Robin Malta's murder was an ordered hit by an alleged drug dealer who was looking to settle a debt. Malta's sister, Monica Malta, said she believes the debt was someone else's whom her brother had helped.

Last November police arrested 27-year-old Laura Lapaz, who uses the nickname "Seven," on first degree murder charges for ordering a hit on Malta because of the alleged debt.
Rest in peace, Robin.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Never Even Knew It Was Endangered

Only in New Orleans. And so Uptown.

On Memes

NOLA Cleophatra has just creamed me with a pie in the face, forcing me to participate in this meme to write six random things about myself. So, first the rules ...
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
Okay, let's see ... six random things:
  1. I don't particularly like memes, but I kinda like NOLA Cleophatra, so I'm doing this.
  2. When I wake up in the morning and look at myself in the bathroom mirror, the person staring back at me is a rugged 38-year-old, six-foot blond, tanned, with dark blue eyes and a swimmer's build. No, that is not what I look like to the rest of the world, nor is it anyone standing behind me, looking over my shoulder. We all need fantasies to keep on going on in this world, and that one is mine.
  3. My best physical feature is my left foot. It is beautifully formed and perfectly proportional to itself. Few people ever see it because I believe one's best should always be intimated and anticipated. And because I don't always clip my toenails, which is because of number four.
  4. Some time back, I entered the shrinking stage of life. Whereas once I stood a hardy 5' 10", I now only reach the 5' 8" mark on the height chart next to the refrigerator in my kitchen. However, although I may have lost my dominance in the height department, I have more than made up for it in my breadth. Which is why I don't always clip my toenails.
  5. I do not believe I have accomplished, or ever will accomplish, anything of lasting value in my allotted years of living on this planet, which pretty much makes me an all-around, normal guy.
  6. And, finally, I cannot believe that Dave fell for this meme and went for it like all the rest. Oh, my Ozymandias! Dave, Dave, Dave, you coulda been a contenduh ...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Loving LIFE

Most people I know won't have any knowledge of the origin of this picture - what it is, who made it, where it came from. It is, in fact, one of a series of shots from a photo essay, Country Doctor, made by W. Eugene Smith and famously published in LIFE magazine in August, 1948.

This photo, along with the others in the series, is now available online via Google Images. It can be found in the LIFE Photo Archives. According to the site, there are "millions of photographs ... now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google."

Awesome. Have fun.

The Truth Exposed

This blog, of course, is written by a man, a real man, a man's man. Others, maybe not. According to GenderAnalyzer, I am definitely a dude.

Kyklops is a dude.

Sturtle is a dude. (This was a surprise. Sorry, Richard ...)

BUT Dave and Bud are ... girls. Ick! And Gentilly Girl is all testosterone.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gimme a Break

It's not on the tape, so she musta said it!
Mayor Ray Nagin said Monday that comments not picked up by cameras and microphones in the City Council chambers are at the heart of the dispute between City Councilwoman Stacy Head and Sanitation Director Veronica White. ...

"All I can tell you is, I've talked to some people and they have no reason to tell me anything different than there was some provocative language used," Nagin said.

The mayor said he was not at the hearing, but the witnesses he spoke to indicate Head made statements during the exchange that were not caught on tape.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Saddest Words

A few weeks ago, he said, "In about another year, I won't be able to drive anymore."

Snarkily, I thought to myself, You're being optimistic, and the fact is, he was. It won't be another year.

But every day, we open our eyes and struggle out of bed - or the twin Barcaloungers downstairs, depending on which of us is going through a bout of diarrhea and nausea (him) or arthritic knee pain (me). We check our blood pressures, he checks his glucose, and we both take our morning pills. I go online for a while while he watches TiVo'ed episodes of Cash in the Attic. Then we get back together and doze off and on for the rest of the day.

Next May, we'll have been together for thirty-three years. For thirty-three years, he has loved me and hated me, wanted me around and wanted me out. He makes me spend money I don't want to spend, but I take the odd twenty out of his wallet when he isn't looking, and I have a strong suspicion he does the same to me. We have said the cruelest things to each other anyone can say, but we've never parted company, and we've learned to say (and be), "Sorry."

When we met, he was golden blond, strong, and outgoing. Today, he is wizened, brittle, and frail, but when we walk together, I often limp along behind him, not always able to match his pace. I've always been quiet, mistrustful, and fearful. He supplied what I lacked. He completed me, although he never needed me for that for him.

He is old, and I am growing old, but we have had some laughs, he and I. And I believe - I know - with all the bad things that have come and gone and still will come, our life together has been, and is - will always be - a gambol.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

How Boring Can It Get?

If the Law Supposes That, then the Law Is a Ass

Pity poor Mr. Bumble.

No sooner does someone come along and make a public mess of things by claiming big money is missing from his "Evidence Room" ... um, rather, his "Post-K trailer", than he starts constructing a pretty little edifice of defense:
In a news conference Thursday, Riley pledged a full investigation into the missing money, but also criticized Lawless' leadership of the division that stores and protects police evidence.

Notably, Riley said that under Lawless, who retired earlier this year, 12 people had keys to access the narcotics and money.

"That was certainly a problem, " Riley said. "That was immediately changed when that was learned."

Ah, but pity Mr. Bumble.

No sooner does he manage to lay the blame at the feet of some retired grunt career cop, than his pretty little Lego structure starts to crumble. It seems he'd forgotten - or never learned - the major lesson of Bureaucracy 101, C Y A, but somebody else had remembered it.
The former overseer of the New Orleans Police Department's evidence room churned out a steady stream of memos to supervisors warning them that the facility's lax security and manpower shortages were a "recipe for disaster."

But former Capt. Danny Lawless said his warnings were ignored. This week, Police Superintendent Warren Riley acknowledged that about $19,000 in cash owed to a former defendant was missing from the room. He promised a thorough investigation.

In weekly memos, Lawless repeatedly highlighted his concerns about the department's solution for storage of money seized as evidence since Hurricane Katrina.

About $2 million was held in steel trailers outside of the administrative trailer used by the evidence and property division at an old brake-tag station at Lafitte Street and Jefferson Davis Parkway.

"There is little to no security, except for padlocks, to protect this currency, " Lawless wrote in several "staff reports" sent to then-Deputy Chief John Bryson, who oversaw his work at the evidence room. "Not only is this dangerous, but we surely will look foolish if anything happens to this money."

Lawless' warning, made in 2007, appeared prescient this week when Riley admitted police could not locate $19,000 that the department had seized from an accused pot dealer. The man was entitled to get his money back because prosecutors neglected to file a forfeiture motion. The embarrassing episode has made the state of the evidence room -- as well as the NOPD officers in charge of that division -- a front-burner issue for the department. ...

... Lawless countered that when he was in charge, only two police officers had keys to the "sensitive evidence" room, although he kept a third key in a lock-box in his office.

Lawless also provided copies of the staff reports he wrote Bryson from November 2006 through January 2008 in an effort to highlight deficiencies in the evidence room he believed could be alleviated only with more manpower and better security.

Though Lawless said he asked to, he was never able to meet with Riley about his concerns. He repeatedly emphasized the room's shortcomings to Bryson, he said.

A spokesman for the NOPD said Riley is aware of the memos. On Friday, Riley appeared to back down from his earlier, more pointed, criticism of Lawless.

"We are not accusing him of any wrongdoing, " said Bob Young, head of the public affairs division, speaking for Riley. "We just simply stated he was in command during part of the time the investigation will cover."

Poor Mr. Bumble.

His pretty little castle lies strewn around his Press Room, its pieces scattered to the four corners.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pardon Me

I haven't been myself for a while. Or maybe I've really been too much of myself. I don't know which.

I've been so busy with, and so focused on, this frivolous show I have running that I've shut out the rest of the world and everything that's going on out there. I haven't seen my friends in weeks. I'm wary of walking out the door of this apartment for fear of something happening to me beyond my control.

The show is down for a week-and-a-half, but it isn't finished, so I remain in that same cloister. Besides, the show isn't done. There are still some brush strokes I need to pass over it, slight adjustments to pacing, some changes in tempo at certain moments in certain songs, other things I cannot pinpoint now but I know I'll see when we have our pick-up rehearsal next Monday night.

I've never worked as hard on a show as I have on this piece of cotton-candy fluff. Why do I want to make it as good as it can be? Shouldn't this game be getting easier as time goes by? And what's the point anyway?

Right now, there is a large fringe theatre festival going on in town. There is a massive international art show spread out all over the city. And I'm huddled in a tiny space I don't want to leave.

I'm sure this funk will lift, and I'll be fine. But, for now, forgive me if I just don't get around much anymore.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Another Hero?

The Vatican might excommunicate an activist priest from Lutcher.

My Big Brother

I guess everybody has a hero in his life, but I'll bet not many of them have one they can actually call on the phone or go visit with or even touch with their hands like I do. You are so cool, and I love you.

Happy birthday.

From your baby brother, me.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

To Do This Friday

On IFC this Friday night, 9:30 PM our time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New Beginning

Good luck, Mr. President. Let's all get to work now. There's so much to do.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Front Stoop, Esplanade Avenue

Election Day Visuals

Leaving the house this morning on my way to the polls, I spied this out on Decatur Street.

On top of it was this citizen enjoying a balmy (?) Autumn morning following an apparent night of debauchery.

After voting, we headed over to Esplanade Avenue for lunch.

On the way back home, I stumbled upon this customer at Envie coffee house taking advantage of our New Orleans laissez faire attitude. I envy his parents. They obviously never had to raise a finger raising him.

Dipping My Toe in the River of History

I Swear There Was Something I Meant to Do Today

But I can't, for the life of me, remember what it was.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Only in New Orleans?

Did you ever notice there are no parking spaces around Traffic Court? 'Sup wi' dat?

Oh, No!

Yma Sumac - gone ...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

How'd They Do That?

I repeat, how did they do that? Those pesky Canadians, by gosh, eh.

Would You Buy This Building?

At £495,000 ($800,019.39 USD), could you afford to buy it?
A bizarre bidding frenzy has broken out over a derelict pub... because it is adorned with Britain's most valuable piece of Banksy graffiti.

The Whitehouse pub is on the market for just £495,000, but art experts say the huge image of a rat holding a machine gun that covers the building could be worth £1 million ($1,616,200.80 USD).

Despite the housing market slump, with average prices in Liverpool falling by 16 per cent, estate agents Sutton Kersh have been inundated with offers above the asking price.

Fred Radtke sucks.

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