Post of the Week

Post of the Week

Published April 3, 2000 3:24PM (EDT)

TT Reading Group Selection: Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare

Abigail Quart - 10:44 am PST - Mar 26, 2000 - #519 of 527

Joe Papp is the man who escorted a group of theater technicians thru the Astor Place Library, dangerous at that moment because it was being renovated, and pointed to various holes in the ground saying, "That will be a theater, and THAT will be a theater ..." and it came true. That was the first time I ever saw him. It's now called The Joseph Papp Public Theater, but I knew it as the Public. He founded the New York Shakespeare Festival, and there's hardly an actor or technician in the Greater Metropolitan Area who hasn't drawn a check from him at sometime or other. In its heyday, the NYSF filled the building across the street from the Public with fully-staffed carpentry, electric, and costume shops.
It was Joe Papp who gave people their first real impression of Andre Braugher, Meryl Streep, Nathan Lane, Raul Julia, and so many more.
And it was Joe who insisted that Shakespeare in the Park be free. He wouldn't even allow a quarter to be charged. People would pack baskets with food and wine, games and radios, and line up on the playing fields outside the theatre for a day in the sun, waiting for ticket distribution.
I'm remembering the smell of cedar when the wood planking of the Delacorte was wet. Always be sure to bring a big poncho in case of rain, and it made a good picnic blanket too. And the audience would sit and wait for the stage to be mopped, so the show could go on. They would wait and wait, hoping it wouldn't be cancelled.
I'm remembering Stacy Keach as Hamlet when the skies opened up on his line, "Come let us go in." He turned to the audience and said, "Come, let us ALL go in."
And the second New York blackout that occurred in the middle of Ellen Greene's rendition of "Pirate Jenny" in Three Penny Opera. She kept singing. They could hear her without the mikes. And it gave us time to search for candles and flashlights so we could safely lead the audience outside the Delacorte and out of Central Park. But first we ran up to Belevedere Castle, that stands like a permanent set piece above the theater, to see how far the blackout went, and watched the lights blinking on and off at Roosevelt Hospital as they tried to start their emergency generators. Then, after getting everybody out, we walked, in a great big group, all the way back downtown, passing thru blacked-out Times Square singing "Give My Regards to Broadway."

Grown Up Tantrums, Part Two.

Private Life
missfitz - 06:18 pm PST - Mar 31, 2000 - #7351 of 7378

Listening to the Elian issue on KCRW's "Which Way L.A." last night -- hearing media and various organizational "representatives," including a quote from Jeb Bush on how much it breaks his "heart to see what 'they're' doing to this little boy" --
Get over it. You want to nurse a broken heart, folks on either side of the Elian issue, you want to show your compassionate side, start showing it for the 14-year old boys we are now locking up in adult prisons, knowing they will be raped by adult men their first day in;
start showing it towards American children who haven't got a roof over their head and a meal in their stomachs;
start showing it towards the children of meth-head parents who aren't taken from their parents until the damage is already done, and when and if they are removed from their crazy households are given to abusive foster "parents" who beat and rape their foster children;
start showing it towards the kids we lock up in juvenile "delinquent" housing who are beaten and raped and who have the opportunity to not be "rehabilitated" but to learn to either take it endlessly or learn how to dish it out in worse ways than they could have imagined coming in;
start showing it toward the children of the poor and the working poor and the middle-class who attend public schools incapable of teaching them other than that which may let them just squeak by for years at some numbingly boring repetitious endlessly crappy line of work;
start showing compassion for those children who exist unseen in supposedly "good" religious homes who fall through the cracks to become runaway prosties in big urban cities because their fine religious parents tossed them out like Tuesday's trash for being "different" --
Try that, you cock-bite starry-eyed media-loving hypocritical sound-bite idjit time-wasting losers.
Elian's father called the Miami second cousins two days before the drowning, to let them know that Elian & Mom were on the way. If you don't think that's evidence enough to invite Elian's dad and every last relative of his living in Cuba to come here permanently without the rest of having to listen to Elian's every bowel moment on the 6 o'clock news, then let me hit you with a clue-stick.
Thank you. And the children living right next door to you in abject misery thank you, too.

Homosexual Marriages/Domestic Partnerships

Social Issues
lynn st. john - 12:52 pm PST - Apr 1, 2000 - #2979 of 3030

People of alternative "sexual" orientations (this includes all varieties -- gay, transgendered, etc.) often get their first picture of their place in society as someone fundamentally different from "normal" folks. We see and hear it everywhere, and many of us internalize it for varying lengths of time. Yes, we say, we're different! And that's okay! We embrace our difference! It's psychological survival. We seek out others who are "different," too, and embrace them, telling them it's okay to be different. And we distinguish ourselves by that difference, and separate ourselves from "normal" society, and devalue it, because that's a basic way of making yourself okay. Huddling together and celebrating difference is an effective way to form a new, accepting society, and that's what most people crave, all protests to the contrary. We crave acceptance and a comfort in knowing that we have a place in the world, even if it's a world we have to invent. This is why, even though I may or may not share values, personal goals, or political philosophy with the 57-year-old bearded drag queen next door (please, if you fit the above description, don't flame me -- it's an illustrative example, nothing more), I embrace him as a brother, because "difference" is not something to fear or shun. And if I don't want to be rejected for being different from society's perceived norms, I don't want him to be, either.
Of course, there are those who have developed this into a social/political philosophy, proclaiming that gays ARE different, they don't hold the same social values; they reject the social norms as outdated or corrupt or failed, and seek a new definition of humanity and relationship. Fine. Hell, they may be right. But it's a natural outgrowth of any movement of repressed people; there was certainly a large separatist movement in the black civil rights fight, saying "screw you America, we're not Americans, we're Africans, and we reject your oppressive society and its decayed morality, we're outta here." But that did not reflect the majority of black Americans, who simply wanted an equal slice of the pie.
I'll speak for myself, though I'll warrant my feelings are reflected in the majority of gay people in my socioeconomic class (white, middle class, etc. -- I wouldn't presume to make assumptions about others): my differences have largely been defined by you, not me. I was raised to believe that the "American Dream," home, family, community involvement, participation in the government of my country, are good things. They're what I value. If allowed, I would prefer to marry someone I love, raise kids, and live a nice life. That's what I mean by saying I'm not all that different. The fallacy behind most people's resistance to gay marriage is that somehow, because of the gender of my lover, I am very different from them. And I'm stating, as a fact, that that simple difference does not need to separate me from society.
People who want to marry their same-sex partners are embracing the current social construct of marriage as a good thing, as an important part of living their values. Those who don't embrace those values would be far less likely to get married, anyway.

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