Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sonnet review 2014

Cartoon from this week's New Yorker.
I was cleaning out files at my web hosting site and decided to review my old sonnets. I wrote them as therapy, over the course of three years. I talk about that in this video monologue from 2012, "The Dark Lady Sonnets."

I admit in the monologue that most of the sonnets are not very good. What I don't mention is that some of them are pretty sexually explicit and I'm kind of embarrassed about them now. Granted I was in a weird love-lorn distraught state of mind when I wrote them and so felt the need to express all the emotions generated by my unrequited love, but this one about kung-fu porn is so over-the-top I have to laugh - and to be honest I was trying to be funny. But it's pretty dirty.

And Amoureuse, which I think is pretty good, even now, is nevertheless pretty blatant. I think most people get exactly what I'm talking about, even this part, which is my favorite:
The luscious swollen token of no-doubt -
His approval manifest unspoken.
Although I was only following Shakepeare's lead in broaching the topic of penile hydraulics. And I did try to protect the casual visitor to the site - except for the first ten sonnets I wrote, all were placed on an internal page of the site - the only way you could read the sonnet was to deliberately click a link labeled "sonnet." So if you got a shock, it was your own fault.

But I have posted naughty ones right on this page, below - consider yourself warned.

I find that on reviewing the sonnets, some of which I haven't read since the week I wrote them, they are not as bad as I remember. Looking back after several years, what really surprises me is that I seem to have a knack for ending the sonnets pretty well.

The last two lines of a Shakespearean-style sonnet are called the couplet, or volta and should have a certain zing. According to Wiki:
In Shakespeare's sonnets, however, the volta usually comes in the couplet, and usually summarizes the theme of the poem or introduces a fresh new look at the theme.
I make a big deal of the final couplet of Shakespeare's Sonnet 147 in the aforementioned Dark Lady monologue:
For I have sworn thee fair, and thought the bright;
Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.
Now that's a zingy volta.

In Secret Sonnet #7 I alluded to Poe's The Raven - and borrowed "only this and nothing more." While most of the poem is just OK, I think the ending is quite effective:
Upon a mid-day dreary at my trade
I ponder if it's you that I adore
Or some unworldly shadow that I made - 
A mere shade. Only this and nothing more.
Despair comes blacker than a raven's wing
And only fantasy can make me well
With bliss the true deluded mind can bring
To save me from a serpent-tortured hell.
Cloud Cuckoo Land where we, impassioned, love 
On petals blessed by rosy-fingered Dawn;
No croaking fiend in feathers black above;
In Cuckoo Land my love will turn you on.
Pallas frowns - her wrath falls fierce and mighty
On such sorry fools of Aphrodite.
Pallas is a reference to the bust of Pallas Athene mentioned in The Raven. I think the volta is a nice finish to a sonnet where I'm basically mocking myself for indulging in fantasies of a love that's not gonna happen. Athene was the Greek goddess of wisdom, whereas Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love - a good metaphor for the head/heart dichotomy. This sonnet also includes a shout-out to Lennon's "Oh Yoko" - "my love will turn you on."


This next one doesn't work very well at all - except for the final couplet. The conceit here is that the beloved's soul is separate from the rest of him, and that's what I really love. And then I laugh at myself in the last two lines - this is another head/heart dichotomy poem. Of course I'm conflating the religious soul with the artistic soul, but it works OK.
Dear beloved soul whom I know so well,
I mourn for you locked in a stone cold frame.
To be parted from you is holy hell
And I proclaim I adore you sans shame.
How is it possible that you are trapped
Inside a cruel and petty little man?
Who needs a shaking, whose face should be slapped
For refusing ever to understand
That devotion is scarce to be found
In the lives of most on this damned planet
More precious than platinum by the pound,
Should be welcomed by sweetness not granite.
But rave no more - Reason take the controls.
An atheist does not believe in souls. 

Wow, this one is embarrassingly naughty - but I really like the volta:
Oh lay me down my sweet and darling man.
It's my sonnet, I'll make you what I will,
So "sweet" and "darling" I'll use since I can,
Transforming good of what, in truth, is ill.
And so bewitched - oh gently cover me
With your nakedness. Occupy the space
That quivers for you so covetously
With your solidity, then kiss my face
Now radiant in love and ecstasy.
Caress me with exquisite fingertips;
Fiercely, my champion stallion, thrust me
Into derangement with your lightning hips.
Oh your masculine praises I will sing
'Til neighbors pound the ceiling, my darling.
I think that's a very zingy volta. Too zingy for a sonnet, it's more like a Broadway show tune - but considering the lines that come before, I can hardly complain about the want of gravitas - "thrust me into derangement" - oh lordy.

And once again the sonnet acknowledges the beloved doesn't return my feelings but I'll fantasize anyway. I should also note that this was written two years before the Occupy Wall Street movement.


This one was based on an actual dream I had.
We were last night in Dreamland, you and me,
In a mansion or a hotel? A crowd
Of people everywhere, fantastically
Arrayed. You must realize that I am proud
And you were cruel to me. Until the day
That you apologize I am unbowed.
I look for shelter on the premises,
Escape by climbing the spiral staircase -
Which leads straight to my mortal nemesis.
You smile like a god of divine grace.
O curs├ęd dream that bares my naked wish!
I cry awake in heartbroken anguish.
In the dream I did see the beloved at a party at a rather grand country estate - almost like a castle. And I ran away from him, because I was mad at him for hurting me. I'm all - look how proud and in control I am. Only to meet him, impossibly, at the top of the spiral staircase, wearing a big gotcha grin. My damn libido was clearly saying, "sorry, you can't escape your true desire that easily." I especially like the "naked wish" which obviously has a double meaning. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mikki Kendall pity party

Aw, Aaminah Khan is sad because people won't just lie down and allow the Mikki Kendall bulldozer to run over them without occasionally complaining.

If you want to see the sleazy "journalism" of social justice warriors in action, check this typical move that Khan uses. Right in the middle of an article about "mainstream feminism's gatekeepers" - and in case you're unclear, mainstream always means "white" to social justice warriors - she sticks this in:
It’s true that painting non-white people as menacing, scary, and even savage is not a new tactic. The “angry black woman” narrative, in particular, has been around a very long time and continues to be used routinely, including in characterizations of First Lady Michelle Obama.
The link goes to a Salon article complaining about the way Michelle Obama was portrayed in the Washington Post and the New York Daily News and Business Insider and the Huffington Post* and Wonkette.

Do you see what Aaminah Khan did there? She conflated "mainstream feminism" with all those media outlets. And she thinks you're too stupid to realize that she's deliberately smearing feminists with the sins of non-feminist media. And if you're a social justice warrior you probably are too stupid to understand that's what she did.

Although of all the obnoxious things that Aaminah Khan says in the article, this might be the worst:
It’s worth pointing out that detractors of women like Kendall publish their “critiques” in online publications with huge readerships, leaving their targets left to defend themselves on Twitter or in personal blogs.
How amusing that Khan would say this about detractors of Kendall, when Kendall herself has been published in Salon and Jane and promoted as a heroine of feminism by Michel Martin at NPR and at Mother Jones.

I'm not the only one who has been personally attacked and smeared by Mikki Kendall and her mob of social justice warriors via social media. I recently found this, which explains how Kendall operates:

The facts about me and Mikki Kendall
3. She has a long history of calling people liars about being survivors. 
Even if I was the most racist shit to ever crawl out from under a rock? That doesn't justify her standing up repeated and saying I lie about being a survivor. It doesn't justify her being part of pile ons that consisted of people repeatedly saying I was lying about being a survivor.
#Ibelieveher is important, it is not #Ibelievehersolongassheneversaysanythingoppressive. 
Even if someone lies? By doing this, she tells other survivors that they were at risk of being called liars if Karnythia decided they were awful people. She silences survivors with that tactic. It's harmful. 
She also accused a grieving mother of 'lying' about her babies death and attacked countless other people.

3. She have never acknowledged or apologised for any of this. When people talk about what she's done, they get attacked and she doesn't bat an eyelid.
Mikki Kendall continues to enjoy a media platform and the following that denies that when Ms Kendall is crossed in any way, she behaves in ways that actively perpetuated oppressions.
Those of us with genuine reasons to criticise her get lumped in with those who don't and dismissed. We continue to be subjected to her oppressive actions and it is time this was acknowledged. 
Long story short? I'm sorry she's getting attacked and subjected to many of the tactics she's wielded against others, but I am also tired of being gaslighted by people who insist she isn't a bully and doesn't do this stuff. I am tired of being called a liar by people who self righteously tweet #Ibelieveher until someone tells them about Ms Kendall's past (or the past of any popular SJ advocate) and then they don't believe us.
Mikki Kendall will never apologize because Mikki Kendall believes she has never done anything wrong. And why should she admit to doing anything wrong? It seems that no matter what she does, her media enablers will promote her as a heroine and leader and defend her against any charges of bullying.

And look at the way Khan whines about the one liberal media outlet that isn't quaking in terror of the Mikki Kendall/Social Justice Warrior smear machine:
Why the sudden change? In a word, says Mikki Kendall, who tweets as @Karnythia and curates the site Hood Feminism: fear. Kendall was recently the target of what could only be described as a hit piece by Michelle Goldberg of The Nation, one that called her “feared” and “obsessed.”
Can you imagine what a shock it must have been for the Mikki Kendall brigade when, instead of promoting and praising Kendall, she actually got called out by liberal media for being a bully? It must have felt like they suddenly cancelled Christmas.

To borrow a phrase from Blogmother - you don't have to bow down to Mikki Kendall and the Social Justice Warrior bigotry/smear/bully campaign.

* maybe Khan considers HuffPo feminist because she writes for it?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cotton Mather on film

Cute piece in the New Yorker.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”
A Small Pagan is enlisted by a Scheming Warlock to help a Pack of Bearded Devils recover their Gold from a Wicked Serpent. What can I say, I loved this Film. Nay, that was but Sarcasm! I have used the Great Deceiver’s own Device against him. In Truth, “The Desolation of Smaug” is an Endless Satanical Parade of Witchcraft and Lycanthropy, designed to lure all good People of God toward the hateful Flames of Perdition. I can only hope that the Third Installment is better.
I don't remember why I thought that would be a good way to spend my time now.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dark Market over-stock

I've been researching the 2008 financial meltdown for my play DARK MARKET but it's almost getting to be too much - the Mighty Krug-man alone is burying me in an avalanche of knowledge. He even posted online one of his economics class Powerpoints. Which of course I love but between that and all the other stuff it's going to take me weeks to sort it all out. My brain hurts.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

You are stepping on him with your knife foot

I'm not big into the Olympics, but I do enjoy ice dancing, the closest the Olympics gets to the arts.

I especially enjoy watching the American skaters Davis and White, especially White, with his big beautiful hair.

But I do have to agree with this Buzzfeed article: 27 Things You’re Really Thinking When You Watch Figure Skating, especially this one, with Davis's skate on White's thigh.

And I LOLd at #24 Oh Hell No.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Buckingham ~ McVie ~ Nicks

Just as I was hitting my teen years, Fleetwood Mac in its Buckingham-Nicks incarnation hit it big and so I will always feel a certain connection with them. And the group featured two women songwriters, which was still rare in the 1970s.

I wouldn't call myself a huge Fleetwood head, but I do consider their first four albums to be masterpieces, and Lindsey Buckingham, Christina McVie and Steve Nicks to be masters of pop song writing.

Unlike the Beatles, with two great songwriters and Harrison a distant third (except for the occasional It's All Too Much) the Mac had three equally talented writers.

McVie is technically the leading writer, if you base your assessment on their Greatest Hits album.

  1. "Rhiannon" (Stevie Nicks) – 4:11
  2. "Don't Stop" (Christine McVie) – 3:12
  3. "Go Your Own Way" (Lindsey Buckingham) – 3:38
  4. "Hold Me" (McVie, Robbie Patton) – 3:45
  5. "Everywhere" (McVie) – 3:42
  6. "Gypsy" (Nicks) – 4:24
  7. "You Make Loving Fun" (McVie) – 3:31
  8. "As Long as You Follow" (McVie, Eddy Quintela) – 4:10
  9. "Dreams" (Nicks) – 4:14
  10. "Say You Love Me" (McVie) – 4:10
  11. "Tusk" (Buckingham) – 3:30
  12. "Little Lies" (McVie, Quintela) – 3:38
  13. "Sara" (Nicks) – 6:22
  14. "Big Love" (Buckingham) – 3:38
  15. "Over My Head" (McVie) – 3:34
  16. "No Questions Asked" (Nicks, Kelly Johnston) – 4:40

The tally is McVie with 8 hits, Nicks with 5 and Buckingham with 3. However, three of McVie's hits are co-written, including my favorite McVie song "Hold Me" and Nicks co-wrote "No Questions Asked." 

Except for The Chain, written by all the Macs, the three Mac composers rarely collaborated. Most surprising, Buckingham/Nicks share only one co-writing credit that I've found, and that was on their self-titled album released before they joined Fleetwood Mac. McVie and Buckingham collaborated a few times, most notably for World Turning, one of their better songs, although not one of their biggest hits.

Stevie Nicks
Nicks is a pretty woman and she writes pretty songs - and of a consistently high quality even when they aren't big hits. At worst, she overplays the whole witchy-woman thing, must egregiously on Gypsy. So it's hard to pick my favorite Nicks song. Of course there's Rhiannon, which was their first monster hit but I've heard it so many times over the years it hardly registers any more. 

I find her Sara to be most irresistible though - especially when it kicks it with drums and piano on the transition from the intro to the main tune. It also highlights Nick's charming female empowerment inclinations, her tendency to celebrate womanliness and female friendships. The song is allegedly about a friend of Nicks': "Sara, you're the poet in my heart."

Christine McVie 
McVie is the most formally trained musician of the three composers and her tunes are very piano-centric which I love. Her songs are more straight-up traditionalist pop tunes, pretty much exclusively about romantic relationships. When she's good she's great, but she can write fairly uninspired stuff, like "Sugar Daddy." And my favorite tune by her is co-written. But still, what she lacks in originality and consistency she makes up for in pop-essence purity. Listen to the piano opening of Hold Me and you'll see. And the vocal harmonies are to die for.

Lindsey Buckingham
Buckingham has crafted some solid tunes, from Go Your Own Way, to Monday Morning, to I'm So Afraid, but as the most experimental songwriter of the trio can come up with some pretty iffy songs. But that experimentalism paid off, big time, with Tusk, a tune I have adored since the first time I heard and and which is without a doubt my favorite Fleetwood Mac song. One Tusk is worth five or six Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow's in my opinion. And the appearance of the USC Marching Band on the track adds to the fun. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Many Dogecoin, much funny, wow

I'm learning about Bitcoin for two reasons - my day job involves anti-money laundering, and Bitcoin is an innovative new way to launder money. And because I'm studying Ayn Rand and her Libertarian admirers and they love Bitcoin because it is not "fiat money."

Fiat money, or as most people call it, "money", is:
  • any money declared by a government to be legal tender.[1]
  • state-issued money which is neither convertible by law to any other thing, nor fixed in value in terms of any objective standard.[2]
  • money without intrinsic value that is used as money because of government decree.[3][4]
  • The term derives from the Latin fiat ("let it become", "let it be done", "it shall be").[5]
You'll notice that each of these definitions has a reference to the gubmint, and gubmints is what Randroids and Libertarians hate the most.

Bitcoin has no truck with gubmints. Krugman reliably mocks this line of thought:
The real track record of fiat currencies is that most of them are run responsibly except in the aftermath of political chaos. If you look at the actual facts, you discover that episodes of high inflation have become quite rare, even though nobody is on the gold standard or (except in the euro area) anything like it. 
So, again, the notion that governments can’t be trusted with the printing press sounds cynical and realistic, but it’s actually a fantasy, probably brought on by reading Ayn Rand instead of Tolkien.
And he also points to this piece in the Atlantic which makes a reference to what started out as a parody of Bitcoin, called Dogecoin. This is where I first encountered doge-speak, which is as amusing and distinctive as lolcat. The entire piece is written in dogespeak and it's hysterical:

This piece is equal parts funny, informative and a perfect mockery of Libertarians and their get-rich-quick dreams. I love the antiquated yet still amusing reference to Alanis Morrisette's "Ironic" just as much as I love the reference to Ludwin von Mises, a right-wing economist who is worshipped by Libertarians and was an admirer, and personal acquaintance of Ayn Rand. And in spite of the doge-speak, the piece does give an accurate history of the Dogecoin phenomenon as well as an education about Ponzi schemes.

I find it fascinating that Dogecoin started out as an Internet meme. I was also amused to learn the origins of Mt. Gox, which I had assumed was a kind of Iron Mountain of digital currency, but it's a Bitcoin exchange. The interesting part is that the name has nothing to do with mountains of data as I thought, but rather is an initialism that derives from "Magic: The Gathering Online Exchange." Magic: The Gathering is a Dungeons and Dragons-inspired card game, and Mt. Gox was originally an online Magic: The Gathering trading card exchange.

There are many other crypto-currencies besides Bitcoin and Dogecoin, which you can see here.

In spite of the fact that Dogecoin is basically a mockery of Bitcoin, they actually do real-world good - like fund the poor Jamaican bobsled team.

Dogecoin founder disses Bitcoin.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Early Sprinter

I first blogged about the mini-season I named Sprinter last year. I said it usually arrived, on the years that it does, between my birthday and St. Patrick's day. Well it isn't quite my birthday yet but it's already here. While walking home from work I could smell cedar wood burning - that's always an indicator that Sprinter has arrived. Don't ask me why burning wood smells appear more during late winter than any other time, but that's what happens. It's a fleeting, ephemeral season, so don't wait until Spring is here, get out and enjoy Sprinter.

No, that is not a piece of clip art

While googling for documents about the strange case of Edward Einhorn v. Mergatroyd Productions I discovered that some Egyptian web design company took over my old domain name after I let it expire, and  kept some of the content from the 2004 production of TAM LIN (the one were we met the accursed Edward Einhorn) and helped themselves to my artwork.

This artwork reminds me that I was into the solid-color graphic design style for at least ten years - possibly before I ever saw a New Yorker cover by Heidi Goennel.

I realized that my JULIA & BUDDY tag line mentions philosophy and considering how I have two full-figures of people with their backs to the viewer, it looks like I was also influenced by the School of Practical Philosophy's subway ad campaign.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Awkward Black Girl and the discussion group

Gina McCauley at What About Our Daughters shares a very interesting video on the state of black women in media.

It includes the awesome Issa Rae, of the best web series ever made to date, the Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. Rae gives details on the clever and creative methods she has used to get her career going. If that woman is not a major star soon I will be really pissed off.

I'm really looking forward to the HBO show that she is developing with my Facebook friend Larry Wilmore.

(Larry Wilmore is a big Beatles fan and since Lennon is a Beatle and a racist, according to Mikki Kendall, then by the Kendall associative properties of racism Larry Wilmore must therefore also be a racist. I wonder when Kendall will start Google-bombing his name, the way she did mine.)


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Julia & Buddy 2014

I get knocked down, but I get up again, you're never going to keep me down...
So thanks to financial and medical issues (and financial issues caused by medical issues) I wasn't able to produce JULIA & BUDDY for 2013. Now that some of the issues have been resolved and my health is fine it's time to try again.

The artwork on the left is pretty much unchanged since the last version except for more and smaller stars and a new tag line - I replaced "sex" with "dysfunction" - story of my life. But also, although sex is very much fundamental to the play, there is nothing explicit and I didn't want to lose potential audience members due to fear of too much on-stage sexytime.

It's clear that my graphic approach to this image is extremely influenced by New Yorker cover artist Heidi Goenel - which is no surprise, I love her look which I talk about here. Although I have so much empty space in part so that I can put information about the production, like location, dates/times, cast, etc. Goenel's art remains pure and empty so that you can wallow in the vast, intense hue-osity of it all.

Monday, February 17, 2014

More thoughts on Edward Einhorn v. Mergatroyd Productions

Since the Strange Case of Edward Einhorn v. Mergatroyd Productions ended eight  years ago, there has been a small but steady stream of legal/scholarly documents that reference the case.

This one, Making a Federal Case for Copyrighting Stage Directions: Einhorn v. Mergatroyd Productions, 7 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 393 (2008) by Jennifer J. Maxwell ends in a particularly offensive way:
Unfortunately, Einhorn failed to produce enough evidence for the judge to find in his favor. But Einhorn, like most directors, just wanted recognition for his important contribution to the collaborative art of theater. Regardless of recognition or money, directors are entitled to copyright protection if their stage directions satisfy the requirements of the Copyright Act. The Einhorn decision gives hope to future directors by highlighting the issues crucial to proving a case of copyright infringement of stage directions. 
Furthermore, granting stage directions copyright protection would be consistent with the intentions of the Copyright Act and other areas of copyright law. Directors are largely responsible for creating the parts of a play that cannot be told by words, but are necessary to the telling of the story. Such contributions should be entitled to copyright protection. As Judge Learned Hand once observed: "[A] nod, a movement of the hand, a pause, may tell the audience more than words could tell. To be sure, not all this is always copyrighted, though there is no reason why it may not be." 
What Einhorn "just wanted" is an interesting question and one that I have never quite discerned to my satisfaction - although somehow this law student seems to think she has accomplished the feat.

Judge Kaplan opined:
I find that no such (blocking and choreography) script existed before Mr. Einhorn was fired from the show, nor was there any intention on anybody's part that any such script ever be created. Mr. Einhorn claims that during the course of his direction of the show he made handwritten notes on a copy of Ms. McClernan's script from which Plaintiff's Exhibit 52 (blocking and choreography script) was prepared... He claims these notes were made contemporaneously during the direction of the show. I'm sure at least some of them were. The script, in any case, is incomplete. It ends at page 35 whereas the entire blocking script, so-called, Plaintiff's Exhibit 52, is over 100 pages long and the material added by Mr. Einhorn accounted for very few of those pages. So, the majority of any notes that Mr. Einhorn may have taken in connection with directing the show have never been produced and no really satisfactory explanation, at least none that I credit, has been offered for that... But, Mr. Einhorn decided to parlay whatever notes he had into building up a claim here in an effort to get the $1,000 he felt he was owed or, if possible, more, and that resulted in the production of Plaintiff's Exhibit 52. Why prepare Plaintiff's Exhibit 52? Well, the reason was that Mr. Einhorn, aided and abetted by his brother, decided that they were going to file an application for registration of copyright, the filing of which is a prerequisite to a lawsuit...
Contrary to what Ms. Maxwell believes, Judge Kaplan clearly believes that Edward Einhorn's copyright claim was trumped up purely so that Edward Einhorn and his brother could create a case against Mergatroyd Productions over the disagreement of Einhorn's director's fee.

However, Edward Einhorn himself has consistently attempted to conflate the issue of getting paid $1000 for directing the 2004 production of TAM LIN and his registering a (fraudulent) copyright based on my play TAM LIN.

It's clear that Maxwell doesn't fully understand the TAM LIN case when she writes:
If stage directions are classified as derivative works, directors would receive
copyright protection for only the director's contributions to the play's script. The playwright would still have rights in the script he or she authored. Consequently, playwrights are well protected and should not fear a director's ability to copyright stage directions. Appropriate limits on directors' copyrights will also ensure that the theater industry is not unduly restrained.
If stage directions are classified as derivative works (which of course they are) then the director would have to receive permission from the playwright to register the copyright. (Did Maxwell even research the issue?) And that would strike the entire matter of a director's copyright more dead than a great reckoning in a little room. Only a complete idiot of a playwright would grant permission, knowing what someone with no sense of shame, like Edward Einhorn, might do with such a copyright.

Maxwell appears not to understand the problem with the US Copyright Office: it does not vet the scripts it registers. And so what Edward Einhorn did was to remove my name entirely from the TAM LIN script and then submit my script in its entirety, along with his stage directions scribbled on it, as evidence for his primary copyright registration for "stage direction and choreography."

If I knew then what I know now, I would have sued him for that clear violation of my copyright.

After hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees we got a US federal court judge to declare Edward Einhorn's copyright invalid - but all that could have been avoided if the Copyright Office did something to justify its existence other than simply performing data entry functions for fraudsters like Edward Einhorn. But since it will not step up its game any time soon, the entire "derivative works" issue is moot - the wealthy will take advantage of the dysfunctional copyright system to pull epic tantrums through the US courts system - which is exactly what Edward Einhorn did. Because if he wanted to take us to court for a disagreement over $1000 he could have gone to small claims court.

The rich are different from you and me.

The "appropriate limits" on a director's copyright is to have no copyright at all. And not only for legal reasons - the director interprets the playwright's script, just as (this was pointed out in the Dramatists' Guild amicus brief) a conductor interprets Mozart's music. If an argument is accepted that a director's interpretation is copyrightable then why wouldn't any conductor copyright his interpretation?

But something that gets overlooked all the time in discussions of this case is that Edward Einhorn didn't sue me for violating his copyright for the 2004 production which he directed - Edward Einhorn sued me for violating his copyright for the 2005 production, which he had nothing to do with! I directed the 2005 production myself, with a revised script and a completely different stage concept from the 2004 production. 

Clearly Einhorn believed that by ever once having had something to do with TAM LIN, all future productions of the play would owe him a fee. That is a practice that Ms. Maxwell appears to be supporting, although I don't think she thought the issue through sufficiently - or did enough homework - to understand that. 

And given the extreme difference between my staging of my play and Einhorn's, it's complete insanity to compare the case to Mantello v. Hall which the Einhorn legal team did during the trial. Jennifer J. Maxwell has this to say:
Mantello v. Hall, a case involving a theater company that had outright copied the original stage directions of the director, illustrates the importance of the amount of the work used. Mr. Mantello, a director, created stage directions, which at the end of Act I, put Gregory, a character in the play, behind a scrim, upstage left, working on a dance. Gregory was in the exact same spot, doing the exact same thing, in the Caldwell production. The director watching the infringing performance observed that ninety-five percent of the show was an exact replica of his staging, including visual images, blocking and choice of music. Hence, had the case not settled, it is likely that the court would have found in this case that Caldwell's use was not "fair" but rather an infringement of Mantello's work due to the blatant copying of such a large amount of the stage directions.
That is a huge leap there to say the court would have found the case in favor of Mantello, because Mantello's claim is utter bullshit, as I discuss here. The Caldwell Theater Company copied Terrence McNally's stage setting of LOVE! VALOR! COMPASSION! every aspect of which had to have McNally's approval. Mantello decided to claim the results of his collaboration with McNally as entirely his own property for the purposes of the Hall lawsuit.

I'm not a law student, as Ms. Maxwell was when she wrote her document, but I strongly suspect that the case settled out of court because it dawned on Mantello's legal team that in fact they could not win, because the Caldwell Theater Company was doing what they thought they were obliged to do, by the law and by theater tradition - the New York premiere production is considered the definitive version of the play.

But in any case Mantello's complaint against the Caldwell Theater Company was that they copied "his" staging so closely that it violated his creative property rights.

The fact that the Einhorn brothers would attempt to make such a comparison shows how utterly shameless they were in their efforts to punish my former partner and myself for daring to disagree with Edward Einhorn over his director's fee.

And you'll never get the truth about this from Einhorn - he claims he won because the judge ordered Mergatroyd Productions pay Einhorn $800 plus interest for directing the 2004 production. But the issue was never that Mergatroyd Productions wouldn't pay Einhorn, it was a disagreement over how much. My producer wanted to pay Einhorn $500, Einhorn wanted $1000. Einhorn getting $800 means that he dragged this entire thing through the federal court system (and boy, was Judge Kaplan sore about that) over $300. 

And of interest to playwrights - although Einhorn's disagreement was with the producer of the play (I wanted Einhorn to have the whole $1000) he held my script hostage - not the producer's script, in order to create a federal case.

The rich are different from you and me.

Thinking about this case puts me in a bad mood. So here's the evidence that the US Copyright Office finally cancelled Edward Einhorn's shameless, fraudulent, bullshit copyright registration once and for all. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Did Mikki Kendall dox Zathlazip?

You are probably asking yourself - did who do what to what?

The heading of this post comes from the article with the same heading from the SJW - Do Not Engage web site run by Will Shetterly.

I only knew "Mikki Kendall" to start with. Mikki Kendall is the Tumblr mob bully slash yellow journalist slash internationally-renowned bigot who used her Esoterica Tumblr account to Google-bomb my name in 2011 because I disagreed with her over whether John Lennon and Yoko Ono are racists for writing this song.

"Dox" means Doxing:
an abbreviation of document tracing, is the Internet-based practice of researching and publishing personally identifiable information about an individual.[1][2] The methods employed in pursuit of this information range from searching publicly available databases and social media websites like Facebook to hacking and social engineering. It is closely related to cyber-vigilantism, hacktivism, and cyber-bullying.
According to Shetterly,
"(Kendall) joined the Angry Black Woman blog shortly before that blog was one of the SJ sites that doxxed Zathlazip, so if she didn't dox her, she was silent when she was doxxed."
So what is Zathlazip? Shetterly tells the story, and oddly the web site Something Awful figures into the story - I recently posted their mocking review of Mikki Kendall supporter Andrew Bellware's movie "Total Retribution."

Owing to my own encounter with the vicious demagogue Kendall, I would not be a bit surprised if she participated. But there doesn't seem to be hard evidence.

However, I was amused by the NPR page that Shetterly linked to - it looks like Michel Martin is doing some damage control on behalf of Kendall. It's pretty fascinating - one of the topics highlighted is "On whether Mikki Kendall considers herself a bully"

SPOILER ALERT - the answer is no. No Mikki Kendall does not consider herself a bully. Watch her excuse herself, with some help from Michel Martin.

Mikki Kendall: I think that I am someone whose anger can be intimidating. Do I think that I can be someone's bully in their mind? Yes. I can't control how people feel about what I have to say. Do I think that it is as cut and dry as, well, I don't like the way you speak to me? Everyone's coming into this big umbrella from different cultural contexts. Do I think from the standards of my community that I'm a bully? No. But I'm not doxing anyone. I'm not calling up trans women's employers. I'm not leaving comments to undermine their businesses, calling their doctors to interfere with their health care. And these are things that are actually happening to people. I am not saying in large articles and national syndicated columns that, oh, well, we're going to talk about toxic culture, but we're not going to talk about all aspects of that culture. ... And we're certainly not going to talk about how people who are feminists and in power can upset, anger and bully someone, and then say, well, I am a victim, when the people they have said something to respond. 
Michel Martin: Well, you know, people can be both. 
Kendall: People don't have to like everything... 
Martin: People can be both. 
Kendall: Yeah.

Who does Kendall consider "her community?" The Internationally Renowned Bigots Malevolent Association?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Once again a critic gets OLEANNA wrong

I knew, inevitably that the Dylan Farrow ~ Woody Allen back and forth would be compared to OLEANNA. And sure enough, the New Yorker hired "culture critic" Lee Siegel to do so.

Siegel's message is that we really can't know anything so anybody who ventures an opinion on the Farrow-Allen case is a fool. The unknowable reality argument is as good a sign as any that a segment of the New Yorker decisions-makers have had their certainty in Allen's innocence shaken. "Is he guilty? Well how can anybody really say who is guilty anyway?"

Siegel's comparing this real-world situation to OLEANNA indicates to me that he is still stacking the deck in favor of Allen. He writes:
In the early nineteen-nineties, David Mamet’s play “Oleanna,” in which a female student accuses a college professor of sexual harassment, had audiences erupting into screaming matches during the intermission. As with Farrow and Allen, there was no clear answer to the question of what actually happened between professor and student. Almost a quarter of a century later, the impossible complexity is on the other side of the stage. Instantaneous news of what happened, or might have happened, has become our art, and, like the chorus in ancient Greek tragedy, we are all part of the swelling roar.
It's staggering that OLEANNA is still being described as a play with "no clear answers." I wrote about it years ago at length, but to sum up: In OLEANNA the student, backed by a shadowy Group, threatens to bring charges of rape against the professor in an effort to censor his work. There is no uncertainty there at all - we know the professor didn't rape the student. The professor may not have been perfect but the student and the Group are meant to be evil.

It's Mamet's right-wing deck-stacking against a straw-man feminist group that caused the screaming matches, not uncertainty.

It's OLEANNA and THE CRUCIBLE and even DOUBT that has trained upper-class older men (Allen's fan base) to assume that of course we can't know if the man really did it, and in the case of the first two, that bitches are hysterical, scheming liars. In spite of the fact that sexual harassment and child molestation happen all the time, the most celebrated plays on the subjects present scenarios in which nobody is proven guilty.

Is it really a coincidence that the people most likely to commit sexual crimes also dominate a theater that presents plays in which we can't say for sure that the man really did it?

If Gawker is to be believed, Lee Siegel himself is a fool.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hey Rasta Tambourine Man

Wesley from my music theory class turned me onto this version.

Ego surfing with friends

Ah the perils of ego surfing.

Oh, how vain!

Found Out Something By Ego Surfing

Ego Surfing: How to Perform That Daily Ritual of Googling Your Name

A little reckoning in a little room

Hey theater people, why not check out the NYCPlaywrights web site?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Gotta write a fugue

J. S. Bach, the fuguemeister himself
I should not be spending my time blogging. I have to write a fugue for my music theory class. Here are some resources I have found:

Fugue at Wikipedia

The Art of the Fugue by J. S. Bach

The Fugue Explained on Youtube

What is a Fugue? on Youtube

The 10K Subscribers Fugue by RatBoyGenius

Fugue Analysis - created for a course at my old alma mater the University of the Arts.

Musical Forms: The Fugue

Cmaj Fugue pt1 "Composition Lessons with JS Bach" lecture

Monday, February 10, 2014

This explains so much...

Never mind that, now I finally know what a "Montelimart" is.

Not that I was ever a big fan of this song - I almost always find Harrison's songs dreary and uninspired, both musically and lyrically, except for "I Need You" and "It's All Too Much" and this one is no exception. I found "Here Comes the Sun" just OK, and apparently Eric Clapton was practically a co-composer for that one. And "While My Guitar Gently Sleeps" - so many people claim to love that and I will never ever get it. It's so droning and boring and long. With every mistake we must surely be learning. Yeah whatever, blah blah blah. I'd rather listen to "Taxman" a song about a rich guy complaining about his taxes. Absolutely riveting.

The article this image is from is 10 Very British References in Beatles Songs from the ever informative  BBCAmerica web site. I knew most of the references thanks to years of reading Beatles lore, although I don't recall hearing about "Polythene Pat." And it hardly seems fair that only John and Paul's homes are National Trust sites.

Speaking of Beatle homes, I just saw "Good Ol' Freda" about the Beatles secretary, who ran the Beatles fan club, Freda Kelly - she's name-checked in the Beatles 1963 Christmas messages as "good ol' Freda". In the movie Freda tells an amusing story of Ringo (Or "Richie" - she naturally used his real name) when he first joined the Beatles - only getting 9 fan letters. They turned this into a joke in "Hard Day's Night." There's a scene where the Beatles' fan letters are delivered to them and at first it looks as though Ringo gets none, but then his fan letters arrive and he has more than the other three Beatles.

Freda suggested to Ringo that he have his mother answer his fan mail and Ringo asked her to show his mother how to do it, and so Freda went to the house to show her and she and Ringo's mum Elsie ended up the best of friends.

There's a scene in "Good Ol' Freda" where Freda, in the present time, goes into Ringo's family home and has a look around. She knew all the Beatles' parents - George's father tried to teach her how to ballroom dance - but she was especially close to Elsie, sharing her "girlhood secrets" with her. At the end of the movie Ringo appears, expressing his appreciation for Freda.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Dylan Farrow responds

Once again, Woody Allen is attacking me and my family in an effort to discredit and silence me - but nothing he says or writes can change the truth. For 20 years, I have never wavered in describing what he did to me. I will carry the memories of surviving these experiences for the rest of my life.
His op-ed is the latest rehash of the same legalese, distortions, and outright lies he has leveled at me for the past 20 years. He insists my mother brought criminal charges - in fact, it was a pediatrician who reported the incident to the police based on my firsthand account. He suggests that no one complained of his misconduct prior to his assault on me - court documents show that he was in treatment for what his own therapist described as “inappropriate” behavior with me from as early as 1991. He offers a carefully worded claim that he passed a lie detector test - in fact, he refused to take the test administered by the state police (he hired someone to administer his own test, which authorities refused to accept as evidence). These and other misrepresentations have been rebutted in more detail by independent, highly respected journalists, including this most recent article here:
With all the attempts to misrepresent the facts, it is important to be reminded of the truth contained in court documents from the only final ruling in this case, by the New York Supreme Court in 1992. In denying my father all access to me, that court:  
  • Debunked the "experts" my father claims exonerated him, calling them "colored by their loyalty to Mr. Allen", criticizing the author of their report (who never met me) for destroying all supporting documentation, and calling their conclusions "sanitized and therefore less credible".
  • Included testimony from babysitters who witnessed inappropriate sexual behavior by my father toward me.
  • Found that “there is no credible evidence to support Mr. Allen's contention that Ms. Farrow coached Dylan or that Ms. Farrow acted upon a desire for revenge against him for seducing Soon-Yi. Mr. Allen's resort to the stereotypical ‘woman scorned’ defense is an injudicious attempt to divert attention from his failure to act as a responsible parent and adult.”
  • Concluded that the evidence "...proves that Mr. Allen's behavior toward Dylan was grossly inappropriate and that measures must be taken to protect her.”
  • Finally, the Connecticut State prosecutor found "probable cause" to prosecute, but made the decision not to in an effort to protect "the child victim", given my fragile state.
From the bottom of my heart, I will be forever grateful for the outpouring of support I have received from survivors and countless others. If speaking out about my experience can help others stand up to their tormentors, it will be worth the pain and suffering my father continues to inflict on me. Woody Allen has an arsenal of lawyers and publicists but the one thing he does not have on his side is the truth. I hope this is the end of his vicious attacks and of the media campaign by his lawyers and publicists, as he’s promised. I won't let the truth be buried and I won't be silenced.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Something Awful is hysterical

Oh wow it was such a bad idea to read Something Awful's review of Andrew Bellware's Total Retribution (AKA "Earthkiller") at work. I laughed so hard I had to leave the office to avoid total embarrassment.

Not a lot of people, I assume, have a reason to despise Andrew Bellware as much as I do, but it doesn't matter - Bellware's work speaks for itself - and these guys are hysterically funny.

In this part they are talking about Bellware's friend David Ian Lee - when I blogged about this movie a while ago I described his character as a "manic pixie psychotic" - but "Full Glover" is great.
Trillaphon: Goddamn, that guy went Full Glover on us out of nowhere. 
Hydrogen: He's the epitome of Bad Movie Cardinal Sin #5: casting your one zany buddy because everyone in your circle of friends thinks he's so hilarious and should be in the movies. He is not, and you are wrong. Do not put him in front of a fucking camera, idiot. 
Trillaphon: I think everyone in this entire movie is the epitome of that. Except the fat unwashed virgin zombies, they're actually hilarious. 
Hydrogen: So did he call her a "glumpcunt", or did I just have a stroke halfway through that clip? Is that even a word? 
Trillaphon: The random unlikely two word edgy insult generator 9000 really did a good job writing this movie and its transcendently bad dialogue. "Glumpcunt", "Fuckclown", "Gashtickler," "Jugg Fucklers"...normal, sane people would have to brainstorm for hours to come up with anything approaching th- 
Hydrogen: Hey now, "butt smuggler" is a superb insult which doesn't belong anywhere near this movie.
When they got to the part about "glumpcunt" I completely lost it. Even now I can't read that without laughing.

I still say the actors who I've worked with who are also in this movie get a bad rap. Don't get me wrong - my opinion of them as human beings is no higher than my opinion of Bellware - but while Bellware is rightfully known as a bad director, the actors are actually very good - at least when anybody but Bellware is directing them.

And amazingly, the Something Awful reviewers overestimate what Bellware pays his actors by about $50. At least last time I checked Bellware was offering no money to his actors.

Other Internet reviewers have just as low an opinion of Bellware's work as these guys, but nobody else is this funny.
The clip they are talking about can be seen here. The "glumpcunt" shows up at 00:50.

So you may ask - how can anybody keep getting such scathing reviews and yet continue to keep making these movies? Besides a (probable) trust fund, the most important thing is to have a complete lack of shame.

Friday, February 07, 2014

The "woman scorned" problem

Woody Allen has responded to Dylan Farrow's allegation by blaming Mia Farrow for everything - which is what his online partisans generally do, in my experience with them. And like them, Woody Allen has a "woman scorned" problem:
I pause here for a quick word on the Ronan situation. Is he my son or, as Mia suggests, Frank Sinatra’s? Granted, he looks a lot like Frank with the blue eyes and facial features, but if so what does this say? That all during the custody hearing Mia lied under oath and falsely represented Ronan as our son? Even if he is not Frank’s, the possibility she raises that he could be, indicates she was secretly intimate with him during our years. Not to mention all the money I paid for child support. Was I supporting Frank’s son? Again, I want to call attention to the integrity and honesty of a person who conducts her life like that.
Now the "woman scorned" issue comes from the saying "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." The tacit meaning of the woman scorned argument is that Mia Farrow was so distraught over Allen rejecting her for her own daughter that she would destroy Allen at all costs. But if Farrow was seeing Sinatra, then clearly she wasn't all that invested in her relationship with Allen.

And as far as integrity, I was amazed when Allen stated:
I had been going out with Mia for 12 years and never in that time did she ever suggest to me anything resembling misconduct. 
According to Farrow's autobiography not only did she have a problem with Allen's behavior,  years before the incident, but a therapist who witnessed Allen's behavior with Dylan said it was inappropriate and Allen was seeking treatment for it, including for his compulsion to stick his thumb in her mouth. If this is not true, why doesn't Allen say it was not true? Why doesn't he claim that Farrow invented the therapist out of thin air?

And finally, Allen tries to suggest that the judge in the custody trial was biased against him:
But we did know because it had been determined and there was no equivocation about the fact that no abuse had taken place. Justice Wilk was quite rough on me and never approved of my relationship with Soon-Yi, Mia’s adopted daughter, who was then in her early 20s. He thought of me as an older man exploiting a much younger woman...
But no matter how biased the judge was, there doesn't seem to be any way for Allen to dispute what the judge states, which is a description of a trial that was recorded as it happened and is in the public record. Is Allen suggesting that Wilk was so biased against him that he would perjure himself to say this?
None of the witnesses who testified on Mr. Allen's behalf provided credible evidence that he is an appropriate custodial parent. Indeed, none would venture an opinion that he should be granted custody. When asked, even Mr. Allen could not provide an acceptable reason for a change in custody.
That hardly seems likely.

As I pointed out in a previous post, Allen's failure to get custody of the children, combined with his known inappropriate behavior towards Dylan should be enough, in themselves to tarnish his reputation.

But I suggest that even if Dylan's charges were proven true beyond a shadow of a doubt, it is unlikely it would impact Woody Allen in any significant way. As Roman Polanski has proven, even if you are a convicted child molester, you can still have a nice life and a thriving career.

And the lesson in this is that Great Men of the Arts can do anything they want, and get away with it.

Beatles and now

I am the proud owner of two signed prints by Astrid Kircherr, who was a friend of the Beatles and the fiancee of ex-Beatle Stu Sutcliff. Kircherr and the immortal Klaus Voorman, the creator of the Revolver album cover, the best album cover of all time IMO, knew the Beatles from their days playing around Hamburg.

And here is the woman herself, hanging out with Paul in 1963.

Astrid and Klaus Voorman
Speaking of Beatles there's a brief but interesting piece in the NYTimes by Andrew Rosenthal marking the fact that it's been fifty years since the Beatles came to America, and includes a link to the original NYTimes story about it.

And in this article Allan Kozinn makes an observation that really puts things in perspective, temporal-dimension-wise:
In 1964, the idea of generations of music lovers getting together to celebrate a band that became popular 50 years earlier — that is, in 1914 — would have been inconceivable.

What were the big hits of 1914?

Apparently "Aba Daba Honeymoon."

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Woody Allen's precious reputation

In another chapter in the New Yorker's quest to ignore the existence of both Dylan and Ronan Farrow,  New Yorker staff writer Emily Nussbaum has been getting attention in New York Magazine thanks to her tweets about a recent Woody Allen play which contains a light-hearted reference to child molestation.

I was ready to believe that the reason for the silence is that none of the New Yorker staff writers are interested in Dylan and Ronan Farrow and so that's why neither of their names have come up in the New Yorker since 1996 in Dylan's case and never in Ronan's case.

But boy oh boy they sure like to talk about poor dead drug addict Phillip Seymour Hoffman. By my count they have 5 think pieces about Hoffman so far since he turned up dead three days ago. They even called the loathsome Daphne Merkin in from her exile out there with the makeup tips and the horoscopes at Elle magazine to contribute something: it's quite a talent to write a think piece completely devoid of any ideas.


While reviewing the New Yorker I saw they have finally posted something about the case, Listening to Dylan Farrow by Sasha Weiss. The piece ends with this:
These things are difficult to talk about, which is why they are worth talking about. While taking seriously that we don’t know all the facts—that this public discussion must be traumatic for Dylan Farrow and could utterly, and possibly unfairly, ruin Allen’s reputation—our talking about it, with sensitivity and care and journalistic rigor, is not simply prurient. It reinforces Phyllis Rose’s insight that the mysteries of family life are where politics begin. We shouldn’t look away from those mysteries.
What I have to wonder is how Allen has any reputation left to ruin. Between the fact that Allen was seeing a therapist for his weird behavior towards Dylan, including a compulsion to shove his thumb into her mouth - and his behavior was characterized by the many people who witnessed it as "obsessive" - and the fact that a judge refused to grant Allen custody of Dylan on the grounds that the judge, in essence, did not trust Allen with her, what exactly is Allen's reputation? 

And then of course there is his blatant predilection, as the New York Magazine I linked to says, for "being creepy about young girls."

Now it may be true that his admirers don't know about these things, or don't want to know, but there's also the possibility that they don't care.

Roman Polanski is a convicted child rapist and seems to have suffered from it not at all. A long list of people in the entertainment industry, including Woody Allen, signed a letter of support for Polanski a few years ago.

The fact that a certain percentage of people consider Polanski a monster is more than remediated by his continuing career, his wealth and his sweet life in France. 

What Woody Allen and Roman Polanski demonstrate is that there is nothing at all that will ruin the reputation, sufficiently to hurt him in the slightest, of a canonized Great Man of the Arts.