There is no such thing as a slam dunk on the Internet. There is no such thing as an uncontroversial opinion, no matter how innocuous it may seem to be. You can’t win. Let me repeat that: you can’t win.
I can’t say that I’ve learned a lot from my 249 previous posts, or, for that matter, from my 41 years of living, mostly because everything I’ve learned so far seems to be contradicted by all of the other things I’ve learned.
Here is mostly what Every Sound Guy/Gal says to singers, more or less:
Hey, man, how’s it going? Okay, so this is your mic, and here’s how the mic stand works. Yeah, it’s the kind you squeeze to adjust… right, like that. You got it. Oh, and it’s better if you slide the mic in from the back when you put it back on the stand. The clip is a little wonky. We good here? Ready to check?
Now, here is what Every Sound Guy/Gal secretly wants to say to singers, but doesn’t ever say because every sound guy/gal is very laid back and cool and would never want to do anything to mess up a show because he’s/she’s just that professional:
Whenever a public figure messes up -- or, rather, messes up and gets caught -- said public figure usually puts on his most contrite face, stands in front of a podium, and no matter what the scandal actually is, recites the same, generic, carefully worded speech:
Ten years ago this month, AVENUE Q came to Broadway. It began previews on July 10, 2003 and opened on July 31, 2003. I was in it, making my Broadway debut. Ten months later, the show won the Tony. There are so many things in this paragraph that still seem unfathomable to me, but there you have it.
In honor of this anniversary, today’s post is all about the fine, fine lines there are between things. (It was the best song in the show, after all.)
Two summers ago, I wrote the post “christmas in july,” likening Independence Day to essentially a secular, summertime Christmas. It seemed like a decent analogy at the time. Both holidays revolve around vacations and food and department store sales.
I was dead stupid wrong. Independence Day is not secular, summertime Christmas. Christmas is global and ancient. Christmas is presents and peppermint. Christmas is silent and holy. The Fourth of July is none of these things. The Fourth of July is American and gluttonous and filled with illegal fireworks.
No, Independence Day is casual, summertime Thanksgiving. Our big celebration in the seventh month of the year is exactly like our big celebration in the eleventh month of the year, only hotter and al fresco.
I know that America’s birthday isn’t until next week, but I have an early present to give to my country: the assurance that I won’t ever commit treason, and if I did happen to commit treason by accident (say, if I knocked over something at the Smithsonian), I promise not to flee overseas.
I can make this bold statement because I’m pretty confident that I would have no way to navigate the complex waters of international political asylum. At all.
There is so much sunshine. I wake up in sunshine, no matter how early my eyes flutter open. I stay up late, past what seems to be never-ending dusk, and even the night seems less dark. It is absolutely beautiful.
You know that actor you used to like, sweetie? It’s time you knew the truth. They didn’t send him to a farm like we told you they did. He’s not out in the country with your Uncle Fred. He’s in actor heaven.
But don’t you worry, baby. Actor heaven is a great place. Really it is.
I’m a member of Generation X, strictly by nature of my being born in 1971. Being a member of a generation is the only membership that no one signs up for, yet it still defines you.
For a while, we were the worst. Just the worst, with our flannel and grunge and tragic realization that none of us would ever get a pension, ever. We were deemed worse than the Baby Boomers, if you can believe that... and they were the ones who created disco and took all that cocaine and became yuppies and gave my generation the idea of helicopter parenting!
I don’t want to sound conceited, but you wouldn’t believe how full my email inbox is. Not with boring old messages from friends. Not with silly old job offers or invitations to dreary galas and assorted springtime soirees. No, this is really amazing stuff. Big, big news.
From the time you’re a wee peanut, you’re aware of your dreams and all of the lovely things you hope will come true in life. As you grow up, you’re encouraged to follow your dreams, and you attach your heart to successful mentors who stand at lecterns and assert that with hard work and a little luck, your dreams can come true.
However, there are not-so-lovely things that no one tells you about dreams, mostly because it would make the worst graduation speech ever. But since I’m a person who insists that inspirational graduation speeches from successful people are boring and often unmemorable (as I implied in 2011’s “pomp”), let’s lift the veil and expose some truth… just in time for the start of commencement season.
It has been exactly two months since I joined Twitter under my actual name. I have learned much in this time, and since I work a lot in educational television I feel that it is my responsibility to pass on some of that learning to my devoted dozens. Also, just in case I ever do anything bad, maybe this can act as pre-emptive community service, since I don’t think I can pull off the orange-vest look. So, here now is a public service announcement...
HOW TO ENSURE THAT YOU WILL NEVER SEND OUT AN EMBARRASSING, INFLAMMATORY, OR INSULTING TWEET THAT WILL HAUNT YOU FOREVER:
Last week, I had a slightly awkward situation: My Pittsburgh was showing.
There we were, husband and I, at the swank-tastic Café Carlyle to see Paul Williams, legend and pal. Fancy nights like these are somewhat rare for us. It’s not that we’re hermits; we’re simply humble… not to mention that there are certain factors that play into whether or not we find ourselves where the elite meet to eat (or alternately, where the refined combine to dine). But when the stars align -- seats are available/schedule is free/nothing good is on TV -- and we find ourselves with the appropriate disposable income, it’s a treat to play dress-up and play the Manhattanites that our zip code suggests we should be.
Twenty years ago, right around this time, my life changed.
I didn’t know it was changing at the time. That’s the thing about life changes - you don’t often feel their effects for a long time. But I can pinpoint the spring of 1993 as a real turning point for me. In that time, I won an award for a comedy video featuring puppets that I’d written, produced, and performed in which inadvertently led to my auditioning for the Jim Henson Company, which ran parallel to my being thrust into the life of the man who would become my husband... and six months later, I’d be living in New York City with him, starting my new life trying to get on the very bottom rung of the showbiz ladder.
And none of the cherished Muppet and Sesame and Broadway pals I have today would be in my life at all without my dear friends from twenty years ago: my dormmates at Northwestern, the alums of a place called CRC.
It’s tax day. And just once, I’d like to see a tax day go by without hearing “Taxman” - or songs with “Money” in the title - played everywhere, or seeing the local news go out on the street and ask people if they’ve paid their taxes and then show the long lines at the post office, or reading all the same old crap about “oh-so-tired-of-taxes.” Have a penguin do the weather or something instead. I’ll take anything different. Just once.
And while I’m at it, there are a lot of other things I’d like to see happen just once:
I want to thank the 529 people (as of press time) who read my post remembering the late Jane Henson last week. Or maybe it was just one person who read it 529 times. In any case, you should know that nothing I have written here at web...blah...log in the past two and half years - or probably at all in the entire history of my hunting-and-pecking - has even approached that sort of statistic. (That may sound sad, but hey, that’s why the term sad truth exists.)
Jane Henson passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer. She was an artist, a puppeteer, a proud mother and grandmother, but she is known to most people as the widow of Jim Henson. One of her largest ventures was creating - and supporting - the Jim Henson Legacy, a nonprofit organization that celebrates and raises awareness of Jim’s life and work as an individual artist. The Legacy is quite dear to me for many reasons, including the fact that my husband is its current president (which makes me its unofficial first lady).
You do not have to tell me that I am behind the Internet curve. I did not launch my personal website until several years ago. I did not start this web...blah...log until the waning months of 2010. I finally just dipped my real toe into Twitter after more than a year with a fake-name-just-lurking-for-food-trucks account. I am still not, and will never be, on Facebook.
But now I know where it’s at. One word, Benjamin. Are you listening?
The 1984 movie Splash was on again the other day. I only caught the ending this time around, but I’ve seen it so many times that it really doesn’t matter. However, seeing just the ending got me to thinking about what the relationship between Alan (played by Tom Hanks) and Madison (played by Daryl Hannah) would be like today, nearly 30 years later... an AfterSplash, if you will.
I know that this web...blah...log is not as sophisticated as, say Letters of Note(one of my favorite places to visit while on the Internet), but what if I were to dig up a completely fabricated letter that was never sent to Bram Stoker? Would that class up the joint at all? Huh? Huh?
It was announced last week that Daily Variety will cease its publication after more than a century. Anytime I hear about Variety, I always think of its most notorious headline: STICKS NIX HICK PIX, that accompanied a 1935 story about how rural audiences didn’t like to watch films about rural life.
Throughout my entire course of being, I’ve repeatedly heard and read the phrase Live each day like it’s the last day of your life. It’s the stuff of chat shows and greeting cards and bumper stickers, this supposedly inspirational statement, giving us all the power to do what we really want to do with our limited time here on Earth, unencumbered by our fears.
Today is the day after Valentine’s Day. The day of reckoning.
Just yesterday millions of people asked the question: will you be mine? They asked it via greeting cards and engraved chalky candy hearts and rose petals and all sorts of red and pink crap that’s half-price now. Some didn’t even ask. They just stated it bluntly: Be Mine.
And today, those who answered yes are living with that reply. Your Valentine owns you now. You have been bought with a Russell Stover heart and/or dinner. Now what?
There is a force in the world, and certainly in America, that I like to call Understood Culture. It’s the massive generalization of where all of our pop culture lies in the lens of history. A gentlemen’s agreement, if you will, about what is Good and what is Bad. It’s made up of countless archived reviews and articles and lists -- holy crap, so very many lists -- of the Best and Worst Thises and the Best and Worst Thats, distilled into the common knowledge that becomes Understood Culture.
When we travel by air in our brave new world, we are subjected to all sorts of personal invasion. There is the handing over of photo I.D.s, the stripping off of footwear and much of our clothing, and of course, those wacky body scanners that send our sorta-naked visages to a tiny room in the back of the security area, where there’s undoubtedly more pointing and laughing than there is the thwarting of potentially dastardly deeds.
Recently, however, it’s been announced that these strip-machines will soon be taken out of commission, and while we are all happy to know that these involuntary I’ll-show-you-mines will eventually be a thing of the past, there is still one little invasion that is more revealing than any of the other personal indignities of flying: the quart bag.
Back when York and Mounds and Almond Joy were owned by a company named Peter Paul that used to sponsor A Charlie Brown Christmas, there was an infamous ad campaign for York Peppermint Patties. I shall now borrow heavily from it to tell the tale of my relationship with a bag of half-price Christmas candy.
Sometimes I wonder how I can continue to be such a sucker, new year after new year. It’s always that first week of January when the hard realization hits that that this bright shiny new year that I wished everyone in my holiday cards is neither particularly bright nor shiny. And it’s in the second week of January that I’m already tired of this new year.