Monday, June 20, 2011

blogging potpourri

I took a walk in Astoria Park this morning and lo what did I find? A piano:

Luckily I had heard about the Street Pianos project or I might have thought I was hallucinating. And yes, of course I played it.

Well just when I think that David Mamet can't go any lower, I read Christopher Hitchens's review of his book The Secret Knowledge.

Mamet has gone so far right that Christopher Hitchens chides him for liberal bashing.

Although you have to give Hitchens big points in complete lack of self-awareness - he begins his review:
This is an extraordinarily irritating book, written by one of those people who smugly believe that, having lost their faith, they must ipso facto have found their reason.

This from a man who quit a long-held post at The Nation when he decided to support the Iraq War, and had this public exchange with Katha Pollitt.

But Hitchens does look loyal, consistent and reasonable compared to Mamet, if his review is accurate.

The most absolutely flabbergasting part:
On the epigraph page, and again on the closing one, Mamet purports to explain the title of his book. He cites the anthropologist Anna Simons on rites of initiation, to the effect that the big secret is very often that there is no big secret. In his own voice, he states: “There is no secret knowledge. The federal government is merely the zoning board writ large.” Again, it is hard to know with whom he is contending. Believers in arcane or esoteric or occult power are distributed all across the spectrum and would, I think, include Glenn Beck. Mr. Beck is among those thanked in Mamet’s acknowledgments for helping free him from “the bemused and sad paternalism” of the liberal airwaves. Would that this were the only sign of the deep confusion that is all that alleviates Mamet’s commitment to the one-dimensional or the flat-out partisan.

You have to wade through Hitchens's usual excessive poncy verbiage to get to the stunning revelation: David Mamet is an admirer of Glenn Beck.

Anybody who is not an idiot knows that Glenn Beck is either crazy or a charlatan or some unholy combination of the two. I mean surely even a percentage of paranoid black helicopter-dodging right-wingers must watch Beck and say "I don't know - that seems kind of nuts."

One of the great things that Jon Stewart does in his parodies of Beck is to mock Beck's crazed numerology-like search for hidden meaning in word combinations. It's seriously disturbing - it's very close to tin-foil helmet territory.

When I saw Mamet's latest play RACE last summer I said it was the kind of play that a Teabagger might write - but if Mamet is a follower of Glenn Beck he's even worse than a Teabagger.

However, the review demonstrates that there is at least one thing on which Mamet and Hitchens can still agree: feminists are bad.

MISTRESS ILSA's web site is online - and I changed the logo. And I came up with this show mascot:

I didn't draw it, it's clip art. But I changed a few things from the original art.

Unfortunately the play is not quite as political as I'd like, or as this image might indicate. I'd love to make the audience listen to a Paul Krugman lecture on the economy, but that's hardly drama. The play is about Mistress Ilsa's relationship with her apprentice dominatrix as well as her struggle against a rival. I do get a plug in for the movie "Inside Job" though. And actually that movie did influence my take on this play - a psychologist in the movie talks about all the drugs and prostitution that many hot-shot Wall Street types are involved with.

And I did some homework yesterday and found out about this memoir Whip Smart by a former dominatrix, Melissa Febos. And oh my prophetic soul - in my play Mistress Ilsa has clients from Wall Street as well as cops - and sure enough the author of Whip Smart says on Fresh Air with Terry Gross that alot of her clients were Wall Street types and also that many clients were police officers.

I friended Melissa Febos on Facebook. She seems very nice.