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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Tips for Grown-Ups

Ahhh, Halloween. Hallowe'en. All Hallow's Even. The night of the year when adult women in America are allowed and encouraged to dress in flimsy adult-oriented facsimiles of popular icons. I'm particularly fond of the pirate costumes, but I'm a little ashamed to admit that the "Hermione Granger" costume has grown on me somewhat. No, I'm just kidding. I'm not in the least bit ashamed to admit that.
It is also an excuse (as are most holidays, sporting events, weddings, and children's birthday parties) for adults to drink to blind excess. If you want to do that, that's none of my business. Though, I am inclined to think that if your life is so unsatisfying that you need to periodically escape into an alcohol-induced haze, perhaps it would be more productive to find a hobby or take an interesting class at the local community college. However, I am not a self-help guru. I am more of a don't-make-your-problems-my-problems guru.
Anyway, if your intent is to get blitzed tonight (or any other night), here are a couple of things to keep in mind. When you are drunk, you are really only tolerable to other drunk people. The cashiers at the 24-Hour Taco Bell are not as amused by your continuously ordering a Big Mac as you might think. I guarantee that they aren't paid enough to deal with your crap, either. Just bear that in mind, when you stumble out of the bars and into the civilized world.
Second, "I was drunk, dude" is not an acceptable excuse for bad behavior. Alcohol impairs your judgment but does not absolve you of any responsibility for actions resulting from that impaired judgment. Anybody who lets you off the hook because you were "so hammered" is enabling personality flaws that could (and should) get you into major trouble someday.
Finally, if you're going to drink, don't drive. If you're going to drive, don't drink. Now, don't worry, I'm not going to go all soft here and tell you that I'm just trying to save your life. I'm not. I'm trying to save mine.
My life and the lives of my family and the small circle of people who manage not to irritate me are of far greater value to me than your life or what you view as your personal freedoms. Don't drink and drive. I have a cell phone, if I see someone driving who I think might be impaired, I call them in to the police. Don't think that because you're wearing a SpongeBob Squarepants costume I'm going to cut you any slack tonight.
As an addendum to the above tip, let me just add that you should value your designated driver. Anyone who's willing to put up with your drunk dumb ass in their car for an evening is a candidate for sainthood.
I certainly wouldn't do it.
Happy Halloween, piglets!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Goodbye, Sir Lancelot

Robert Goulet passed away today at the age of 73.
He will be missed but always remembered.
Here's Mr. Goulet performing "Soliloquy" from Carousel:

Friday, October 26, 2007

At the Movies: For the Bible Tells Me So

A good friend of mine and much-beloved Denver theatre performer, Carla Kotrc, suggested this film to me, and I am very grateful to her for the recommendation.
For The Bible Tells Me So is a moving documentary that attempts to reconcile homosexuality with the Bible. Believe it or not, it can be done.
Obviously, this documentary has an agenda (most good ones do), but it is surprisingly "un-preachy" as it examines the stories of several Christian families with gay children, including the family of former Congressman and presidential nominee Dick Gephardt. (The trailer, which I've attached below, gives the impression that the film is a bit more heavy-handed than it actually is.)
Intelligent, witty, and thought-provoking, For The Bible Tells Me So helps to show how the "vs." can be removed from the relationship between homosexuality and the Judeo-Christian tradition.
While I'd like this film to be seen by a few of the sign-waving Dobson followers I have encountered over the last few years, it might take some doing to get them to let go of a belief system that is so ingrained. Still, I know many Christians and Jews for whom their church or synagogue's take on the issue of homosexuality has sparked a crisis of faith. This film could serve to alleviate that crisis a bit.
The Denver run of this film just got extended through November 2nd at the Starz Film Center in the Tivoli on the Auraria Campus, but that still doesn't leave much time to see it before it goes, and, with independent films like this, it's hard to tell when they'll be released on DVD. You'll have to keep an eye on their website.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

We have seen the enemy and it is us

I can't believe it's the 20th already and this is my first October blog. Like I said in my last entry, I have a lot on my plate at the moment. I have managed to see a few shows, but they all either fell into the category of being closing night or one-night-only performances (and what good is recommending a show after it's too late for you to see it?), or, as I alluded to in my last entry, just not very good.
I am still wrestling with what to do about making recommendations of shows that I have not seen yet, because, as I have seen a few times over the last few months, a good director, talented cast members, and great script do not necessarily a great show make. Often in theatre classes, we are told that the director is the person primarily responsible for the vision and direction of the show. In practice, that is not always the case.
There's a show running right now that I really want to try to see tonight, and, if I make that (there's no guarantee), and it's worth writing about here (the buzz is pretty darn good), I will do just that tonight or tomorrow morning.
Today's blog, however, is inspired by the paparazzo with the flattened foot. It appears that Britney Spears ran over the foot of one of the paparazzi Thursday afternoon. Now this story came to my attention because it actually made the television news here in Denver! There's only 30 minutes for news, including commercials, but we certainly can't go one night without hearing about what Britney Spears did today, can we?
Well, normally this info would go into the "I-don't-give-a-flying-frick" category, but I overheard someone talking about the story in the supermarket check-out line yesterday, commenting on how the paparazzo "got what he deserved," and "they're all just a bunch of low-lifes," etc. Then this individual went into a tirade about how Spears was "just a trashy little tramp with no talent, anyway." The irony of these observations were punctuated by the copy of US magazine in the opinion-giver's grocery basket.
Hey, I do not hold the paparazzi in any great esteem, but, let's not kid ourselves, nobody puts their foot in harm's way to take a picture unless that picture has some value to somebody.
I don't think much of Miss Spears as a talent, either, but she won't go away unless we all let her.
As long as copies of US, People, and those other rags fly off the shelves whenever there are new unflattering photos of Spears, she's going to have a bunch of tools with cameras running around her car, and Adele Arakawa is going to have to tell us about it when the Britster backs over one of them.
Nobody is giving us anything that we aren't asking for, at least collectively. It may primarily be morbid curiosity that will sell Britney Spears's new album, but a sale is a sale, and if her album is selling, she's going to stick around.
So, if you don't like Britney Spears, don't buy her album. If you don't like the paparazzi, stop buying the magazines that contain their photographs.
Recently, when Daniel Radcliffe (of the Harry Potter films) was performing in Equus in the West End, he came up with a solution to the paparazzi problem at the stage door. Every night after the show, he would walk out wearing the same hat, the same shirt, and the same jacket. The paparazzi found that they could not sell anything beyond the first few night's worth of pictures, because they all looked the same. Eventually, the paparazzi stopped meeting young Mr. Radcliffe at the stage door. So, there you have it. If the paparazzi can't sell their photos, they will go away.
Think Britney Spears is a talentless hack? Then just look away. If MTV wants to put her on the VMAs again, don't watch. If enough people follow your lead, MTV will not make that mistake again. (Maybe we can even get them to start playing music videos again!)
Some people like to get into a big "chicken or the egg" debate about whether the media gives us what we want or tells us what we want, but, for me, there's no debate. I'm not a chicken or an egg, thank you very much. I think for myself, and I consume what I want to consume.
The media is not to blame for what's on T.V., what's on at the movies, what's playing on the radio, or what's on the newsstands. We are.
I read a brief letter to the editor the other day from a woman who was complaining about the fact that the Disney Channel kept making shows about witches, and how she, as a Christian mother, was finding it difficult to locate appropriate shows for her children.
Now, hold the phone, many of you out there may be bracing yourselves for a tirade from me about witches vs. the Christian church, but that's not where I'm headed.
The fact is, this woman had an opinion, and she took the time to make sure it was heard. She took a stand, and whether I agree with her or not, I have to admire the fact that she's sticking up for her principles.
What did you do for your principles today?