Saturday, March 28, 2009

Behind The Scenes at Mr. Broadway Promo Shoot

Curtis Brown, who took the steamy Mr. Broadway promo pics, has put together a video of the shoot. If you enjoyed the pictures, you'll love the video.

Visit Curtis Brown's website and get tickets for Mr. Broadway now!

Friday, March 27, 2009

First Mr. Broadway Contestant Pictures!

We've just got a few pictures in from Carol Rosegg's Broadway Beauty Pageant photo shoot on Monday. They came out really wonderful. Above is one of the shirtless group shots, the boys are from left to right; Anthony Hollock (Mr. Hair), Adam Fleming (Mr. Wicked), James Brown III (Mr. Little Mermaid), David Larsen (Mr. Billy Elliot), and Jonathan Sandler (Mr. Mary Poppins). Unfortunately, Jonathan has had to leave the show because of schedule conflicts. Not pictured is Tony James, Mr. Lion King.

To the right is David Larsen, who as Mr. Billy Elliot is my early favorite. Although, I don't get any say in the winner - that's decided 100% by audience vote. Tickets are available now for April 20th.

More pictures soon.

On Obama and Pot

Barack Obama was asked about legalizing marijuana yesterday at his online town hall meeting and laughed the question off. Which is fine. I agree with John on Americablog, that we should understand what's politically possible. "No president of the United States, today, can come out in favor of such a thing. It's political suicide. I can't even believe some people are upset with Obama over this."

What I am upset at Obama about is his administration's failure to end federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries. Attorney General Eric Holder said last week that he'd halt these raids, but on Wednesday DEA Agents raided a San Francisco dispensary.

Efforts being made locally and statewide to legalize or decriminalize marijuana are seriously threatened if Obama's administration continues these unnecessary raids on licensed businesses. He should keep his promise and end them. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it's politically popular — 72 percent of Americans favor ending the raids.

It's also important to remember that these Puritan laws have impact outside our border as well. In Mexico, the ongoing war between drug cartels has killed 1,000 people so far this year. It's believed that 75 percent of their business is marijuana. If pot were legalized, the free market would cripple these gangs.

Campaigning for president in New Hampshire, Obama said, "I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users. It's not a good use of our resources."

Agreed — now keep your promise.

Originally Posted on The Hill.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

White Noise Casting

Back in September 2006, I conceived and directed White Noise, a musical at The New York Musical Theatre Festival. It was an exciting production and I got to work with many of my friends, including Joe Drymala who wrote the book and bulk of the score.

The run at the festival was a success, sold-out shows and quotable reviews. It was enough to get the show optioned for Broadway. Before Broadway, the producers are trying the show out in New Orleans and they're casting! All the info is below if you'd like to submit.

For more details on the show, watch this bit below from Good Morning America.

Casting Details

$600/week + 10%, + health, pension, per diem, airfare, all transportation and housing

Producer: Le Petit Theatre in association with White Noise Productions, LLC, Sibling Theatricals, Inc. and Holly Way and Co.
Co-Directors: Mitchell Maxwell & Donald Byrd
Choreographer: Donald Byrd
Book: Matte O'Brien
Based on a story and characters by Joe Drymala and an original concept by Ryan J. Davis
Additional Material by Rob Bartlett
Music & Lyrics: Joe Drymala, Robert Morris, Steven Morris and Joe Shane.
Additional Music By: Glen Kelly, Laurence O'Keefe, Benj Pasek/Justin Paul, Eric Svejcar
Casting Director: Michael Cassara
Auditions (in NYC): 4/6/09, 4/7/09 and 4/8/09
Rehearsal (in New York): 6/1/09-6/13/09;(in New Orleans): 6/15/09 7/6/09
Performances: 7/7/09 7/26/2009 with possible extension through 8/12/09

NEW YORK, NY 10001

NOTE: All actors participating in this New Orleans production will have the first right of refusal for the next production. The producers hope to bring this production to New York in the future.

[EVA] 19 from small town Oregon. Blonde/Aryan-looking. Beautiful, eloquent and approachable on surface, but driven, manipulative and wise beyond her years. She has a superlative ability to identify a persons weak point and use it to her advantage. When necessary, sexy beyond belief. A Neo-Nazi. Incredible singer, Alto/mezzo belt. Pop/rock vocals. CAST - DO NOT SUBMIT.

[KADY] 22 from small town Oregon, Evas sister. Blonde/Aryan-looking. Beautiful, good-natured, looking for a way out of Oregon. When necessary, sexy beyond belief. While she may not have the same deep rooted hate displayed by her sister, she is misguided and naïve in her willingness to go along with Eva in order to satisfy her own agenda. Incredible singer, Alto/mezzo belt. Pop/rock vocals. CAST - DO NOT SUBMIT.


[ RICK ]
Late 40s. Caucasian. Talent manager. Charismatic, passionate, confident to a fault, and Machiavellian. He believes he is all-knowing and indestructible when it comes to the music industry and the manufacturing of talent for good reason, as he has had success of Clive Davis proportions. Non-singing, but carrying a tune is a plus. SEEKING STAR NAMES.

[ DUKE ]
25, a skinhead. Caucasian. From small town Oregon. Tall, handsome, aggressive and intimidating. A raw nerve and accustomed to opposition, he has grown to be unafraid of anyone or anything. Baritone/tenor. Pop/rock sound.

[ KURT ]
25, Caucasian, A New Yorker and brilliant singer/songwriter. True intellectual, genuine and a voice of reason - he represents the audience at large. Tenor. Thrilling pop/rock vocals.

Mid-Late 30s, Aryan-looking. Eva and Kadys mother, from small town Oregon. A struggling, single mom, who lost her husband to suicide - she is beautiful, yet worn. Alto/ mezzo-soprano.

Early 20s, African-American. A rap musician, top college graduate who has been packaged as a gangsta rapper. One half of a lucrative gangsta rap duo. Tyler is laid back, smart and level-headed. Authentic rapper and strong singer.

[ DION ]
Mid 20s. African-American. Tylers brother and other half of successful gangsta rap duo. Also a top college graduate and talented musician. Aggressive, temperamental when pushed. The more alpha of the brothers. Authentic rapper and strong singer.

Early 40s. A well respected news journalist and reporter a la Anderson Cooper. As concerned with honest reporting as he is with his ego and ability to deliver good television. Non-singing, but must be able to carry a tune.

[ BOB ]
Mid-Late 30s. Caucasian. Father to Eva and Kady, husband to Laurel. Former mill worker who lost his job and dignity to illegal immigrants. Becomes an abusive alcoholic. Commits suicide when daughters are small children and serves as the inspiration for Eva and Dukes white supremacist crusade. Non-singing, but must be able to carry a tune.

18-40, versatile and strong dancers, all styles, all ethnicities. Must be able to carry a tune. Ensemble will additionally fill various smaller roles. Casting 2 total.

18-40, versatile and strong dancers, all styles, all ethnicities. Must be able to carry a tune. Ensemble will additionally fill various smaller roles. Casting 2 total.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Maria Derr LGBT Gala Fundraiser in NYC Tonight!

Tonight my friend Maria Passannante-Derr, candidate for NYC Council District 3, is having an LGBT Gala Fundraiser at midtown's Ritz. If you're looking for something to do tonight, between 7-9pm, come by and see us. All the details below.

Forget Sarah Palin!

Elect a Strong, Progressive,
Qualified Woman,

to New York City Council

Please Join Us for An LGBT Gala Fundraiser

In Support of Maria Passannante-Derr
Democratic Candidate for City Council

Democratic Candidate for NYC Council-3rd District: Chelsea, Greenwich Village, Hell's Kitchen/Clinton, Hudson Square, Flatiron and Murray Hill

Wednesday, March 25, 2009
7:00-9:00 PM
The Ritz Club and Lounge
369 West 46th Street

Check the event page on Facebook

Suggested Contribution: $25.00 +
RSVP: E-mail Roz Wagonheim or call 917.741.4179

Maria Passannante-Derr, is running for NYC Council in the September 15, 2009 Democratic primary. Maria has the education, experience and commitment to the district where she was born and raised and is a strong supporter of same-sex marriage and other critical LGBT initiatives - including supporting organizations like The Ali Forney Center, which provides support to homeless gay youth. She is also a member of a coalition of businesses and residents to reverse the further erosion of LGBT nightlife that had thrived for so long in New York City. Maria comes from a politically liberal, active family. Her Uncle, the Honorable William Passannante, represented Greenwich Village and Chelsea in the New York State Assembly for 36 years, and in 1971, is credited with sponsoring our Nation's first Statewide Gay Rights Bill.

Please go to Maria's website, and read more about her. Maria's LGBT supporters and hosts for this event are: Michael Liguori, M.D., David Colbert, M.D., Daniel J. DiBenedetto, Esq., Andrew Martin, Esq., Robson Zanetti, Keith Copley, Kelly Dunkle, Molly Bennett Aitkin, Anthony Perrotta, Tommy Greco, Ryan J. Davis, Amy Martin, Gregory Socha, and long-time gay rights activist, Allen Roskoff (see his February 6, 2009 article in The Blade endorsing Maria). (List in formation.) She also blogged about her history with gay rights at Queerty. Please send Maria's bio to your friends and become a supporter on Facebook.


Obama's Press Conference Gets Raves

Last night Obama showed the confidence and mastery of the issues that got him elected President. The reviews are in and they're good.

(h/t AmericaBlog)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Irena's Vow on Broadway

Last week my boyfriend Kevin and I saw Irena's Vow on Broadway. It's the true story of Irena Gut, a Catholic who saved 12 Jews in Germany by hiding them in her cellar.

The play is written by Dan Gordon, the screenwriter of a film that I've always admired, Murder In The First and Surf Ninajs, which I remember liking when I was eleven. He's written an exciting 95-minute one-act, artfully staged by Michael Parva.

Tovah Feldshuh is wonderful in the title role, but this isn't a one women show. She's surrounded by a great cast, including Tracee Chimo, who was in a pilot about NYC off-off Broadway (Called Breaking In - watch here) that I directed a few years ago.

A film version is already in the works, so see it live before it hits the big screen. Visit the official site for more information.

(Note: I work on Irena's Vow's internet marketing team, but I truly enjoyed the production.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Broadway Beauty Photo Shoot

Just returned from The Broadway Beauty Pageant photo shoot, with five of our contestants: James Brown III (Mr. Little Mermaid), Adam Fleming (Mr. Wicked), Anthony Hollock (Mr. Hair), David Larsen (Mr. Billy Elliot), and Jonathan Sandler (Mr. Mary Poppins).

The wonderful Carol Rosegg, Broadway photographer, has done our pre-pageant contestant shoot every year and the pictures are always beautiful. She took lots of different stuff, from the boys wearing their show shirts and each posing with the crown, to the fun shirtless pics that HX and Next are gonna fight over. I'll post them here when they're done!

Visit the official site for more information on The Broadway Beauty Pageant.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Morning Odds & Ends

  • Looking at the ideas behind the new Facebook design. I'm quite a fan of the Twitterlization of Facebook and see why they did it. You don't want Facebook to fall behind and become Myspace or... Friendster already do you?

  • What is your neighborhood's Walk Score? Enter your address and find out. Mine, Bushwick, got 89 out of 100. (h/t Freakonomics Blog)

  • Barack Obama made a dumb joke about the Special Olympics on Jay Leno. Gov. Schwarzenegger defends him.

  • Defending Provigil: "And is modafinil the next cocaine? Probably not. It just doesn't have the powerful reinforcing and rewarding effects. Not only that, it's usually taken as a pill, and so highs resulting from it are more unlikely."

  • Californians in 2010 will likely have a pro-gay marriage initiative to vote on. The ballot initiative process could lead to some on-again, off-again marriages.

  • Rupert Murdoch purchases The Brooklyn Paper.
  • Friday, March 20, 2009

    Speed The Plow & Jeremy Piven

    Last December, Jeremy Piven abruptly quit the Broadway production of Speed The Plow, citing mercury poisoning. It's been widely assumed by many (including myself) that Piven was just looking to get out of his contract. The details of his story never added up.

    The Speed The Plow producers reacted brilliantly, finding great replacements and making snarky comments about Piven to the media. My favorite was playwright David Mament's line, "I talked to Jeremy on the phone, and he told me that he discovered that he had a very high level of mercury. So my understanding is that he is leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer."

    Now, the producers plan to file for arbitration against Piven for his early departure. The production did recoup it's investment.

    Below is a chart showing blog trends of American Buffalo (In Blue) and Speed The Plow (Orange), they both played on Broadway at the same time. The blue line gives you an idea of the press attention a typical Broadway play can expect, the orange is irregular.

    You see that huge orange spike in mid-December? That's everyone talking about Piven leaving the show. You see that spike in late October? That's the show's Broadway opening, organized by marketing, advertising, and publicity experts.

    It's clear that Piven leaving the show was a larger story than Piven doing the show. You can't buy that kind of publicity. I'd cast Piven in anything I produce, as long as he promises not to finish the run.

    Thursday, March 19, 2009

    Arnold On Obama: "Beautiful"

    Barack Obama gave a speech and took questions from residents in Los Angeles today. He was surrounded by two big fans, LA Mayor Antonia Villaraigosa and California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    Afterwards, Arnold couldn't shut up about how much he loves Obama, "I think he’s so smart," he said. "He’s so clear with his thinking and he’s so well informed and has been dealing with policy in all this and is also very philosophic it’s almost like. I think he’s just like – I think it’s beautiful.

    Schwarzenegger is term limited and out of a job January, 2011. He's interested in a Cabinet position. "I will help in every way possible the administration to be successful," he said during an interview in November.

    My bet: Schwarzenegger will be campaigning with Obama in November 2012.

    Steamy New Mr. Broadway Promo Pics!

    For the second year, Curtis Brown, has taken some amazing promo pictures for The Broadway Beauty Pageant. Visit his website, he's awesome.

    We'll use these photos for postcards, ads, and posters - but you're seeing them here first. Click on the images for full size versions.

    Buy tickets for The Broadway Beauty Pageant now!

    ACLU Sues Bigoted Anti-RENT School

    I've been waiting for this to happen - The ACLU is suing Corona del Mar High School, home of bigot principal Fal Asrani, over their failure to protect gay students.

    The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in state Superior Court contending that an Orange County high school allowed a hostile environment to develop against gay and female students there, citing the brief cancellation of a school production of the musical “Rent” as one piece of evidence. The lawsuit, which argues that state and federal equal protection laws were violated, was filed on behalf of a female student at Corona del Mar High School who was said to be a target of rape and death threats by male students. It contends that sexist and homophobic comments are common at the school and that school officials have done little in response. The school drama teacher, Ron Martin, said last month that the school’s principal, Fal Asrani, had canceled the “Rent” production; Ms. Asrani said that was not true, and later she approved the production. A spokeswoman for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District said that she had no immediate comment, but that one would be forthcoming.

    I first reported details of the school's "hostile environment" on Feb. 19th.

    Why I'm Not That Into Caring About AIG

    I'm with Brad Friedman on the anger over AIG's bonus nightmare. Sure, it sucks - I wish they didn't get any money - but it's only .1% of the cash we forked over to them.

    I guess I'm just in the minority here, but I'm having a bit of trouble getting exercised about $165 million (just to put that into perspective, the movie sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian had a budget of $200 million) in bonuses to AIG employees.

    Yeah, it's a shame that approximately one-tenth of one-percent of the $144 billion made available to the company by the federal government in bailout monies went to such bonuses, but where is all the furor from public officials, media outlets and bloggers -- from both Right and Left -- over the 12 billions of dollars (with a "b") sent over to Iraq as pallets of cash (literally, shrink-wrapped $100 bills), which then simply disappeared into that trillion (with a "t") dollar rat hole without accounting or explanation?

    Where is the outrage and accountability there? Nowhere.

    How about the $4 billion (with a "b") that went to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 to purchase privately made electronic voting systems which don't work and don't meet the federal standards it was claimed that they did?

    Keep things in perspective people.

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009

    Odds & Ends: Provigil, Medical Marijuana, & Chris Brown and Rihanna

  • Provigil, an amazing little pill that makes you alert but not jittery, 'may be' addictive. I've only used it a few times and it's done a perfect job of keeping me awake. Going into the general election this year, I was in New Hampshire organizing GOTV, and hadn't slept more than three or four hours a night the week leading up to the big day. Provigil got me through a sixteen hour Election Day without any withdrawals.

  • The Obama Administration is taking my advice and leaving medical marijuana policy up to the states. From Huff-Po: "Attorney General Eric Holder signaled a change on medical marijuana policy Wednesday, saying federal agents will target marijuana distributors only when they violate both federal and state law. That would be a departure from the policy of the Bush administration, which targeted medical marijuana dispensaries in California even if they complied with that state's law." Good news for dying cancer patients treating their nausea with medicine their doctor prescribes.

  • Why celebrity's responses to Chris Brown & Rihanna matters: "Of the 200 Boston youths (ages 12 to 19) surveyed last month, 51 percent said Chris Brown was responsible for the incident, 46 percent said Rihanna was responsible and 52 percent said both were to blame; 52 percent said the media was treating Brown unfairly; 44 percent said fighting was a normal part of a relationship; and a “significant” number said “Rihanna was destroying Chris Brown’s career.” Women blamed Rihanna as much as men did." Chris Brown gets off easy.
  • Chad Lindsey Saves Lives

    A few years ago I directed Grace Falls, a musical at the New York City Fringe Festival, which had a great cast including Andrew Keenan-Bolger. One of the leads was an actor named Chad Lindsey, who Monday, saved a man's life on the subway.

    On Monday, as he waited for the train, about 2:30 p.m., he was thinking ahead to the reading he was heading to. “I’m kind of zoned out, and I saw this guy come too quickly to the edge,” he said. “He stopped and kind of reeled around. I felt bad, because I couldn’t get close enough to grab his coat. He fell, and immediately hit his head on the rail and passed out.”

    Mr. Lindsey said he sensed a train was approaching, because the platform was crowded. “I dropped my bag and jumped down there. I tried to wake him up,” he said. “He probably had a massive concussion at that point. I jumped down there and he just wouldn’t wake up, and he was bleeding all over the place.”

    He looked back up at the people on the platform. “I yelled, ‘Contact the station agent and call the police!’ which I think is hilarious because I don’t think I ever said ‘station agent’ before in my life. What am I, on ‘24’?”

    The man wouldn’t wake up, he said. “He was hunched over on his front. I grabbed him from behind, like under the armpits, and kind of got him over to the platform. It wasn’t very elegant. I just hoisted him up so his belly was on the platform. It’s kind of higher than you think it is.”

    He stole a glance toward the dark subway tunnel that was becoming ominously less dark, with the glow on the tracks, familiar to all New Yorkers, signaling an approaching train.

    “I couldn’t see the train coming, but I could see the light on the tracks, and I was like, ‘I’ve got to get out of this hole.’ ”

    He remembered the subway hero of 2007, Wesley Autrey, who jumped on top of a man who was having a seizure on the tracks and held him down in the shallow trench between the rails as the subway passed over them. “I was like, ‘I am not doing that. We’ve got to get out of here.’ ”

    People on the platform joined the effort. “Someone pulled him out, and I just jumped up out of there,” he said. With time to spare: “The train didn’t come for another 10 or 15 seconds or something.”

    The man lay bleeding on the platform, and the police arrived. Mr. Lindsey soon got on another train. A large group of riders who had been on the platform entered the subway car with him, smiling and clapping him on the back and saying thank you.

    The picture is from a Grace Falls rehearsal and is Chad with co-star Nicole DiGaetano.

    Mr. Broadway 2009 - April 20th!

    The Third Annual Broadway Beauty Pageant (that I direct & co-produce) is set for Monday, April 20th at the beautiful 800 seat Symphony Space Theater in New York. Tickets start at $50 and all proceeds benefit The Ali Forney Center, an organization that provides services to homeless New York gay youth. Purchase tickets here. I've written about Ali Forney for Huffington Post in the past.

    The evening is setup like a traditional beauty pageant, with an American Idolesq twist - judges comment every step of the way. The contestants each represent their Broadway show and compete in talent, interview, formal wear, and everyone's favorite part, the swimsuit competition.

    The 2009 contestants are James Brown III (Mr. Little Mermaid), Adam Fleming (Mr. Wicked),Anthony Hollock (Mr. Hair), Tony James (Mr. Lion King), David Larsen (Mr. Billy Elliot), Jonathan Sandler (Mr. Mary Poppins) and John Selya (Mr. Guys & Dolls). Past winners include Frankie James Grande (Mr. Mamma Mia) and Marty Thomas (Mr. Xanadu), who are both set to perform. Seth Rudetsky and Michael Urie (Ugly Betty) are confirmed to judge. We'll announce additional judges and a celebrity host soon.

    Thanks to Playbill, Broadway World, & Theatremania for their coverage today!

    For some fun background on the show, read this interview with pageant-creator Jeffery Self and me from Edge New York, April 10th 2007.

    More 2008 Photos at Broadway World!

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    A St. Patrick's Day Miracle

    I'm only a quarter Irish, yet my mom always made a big deal over St. Patrick's Day. I guess she's more Irish than me and wanted to rub it in that I'm a Euromutt.

    I went to Catholic school for a few years and where we were expected to wear green today. Now a days to celebrate, I drink beer. They didn't let us drink beer in middle school.

    The below video has over 9 million views, so you've probably seen it already. If not, enjoy a St. Patrick's laugh on me.

    I hope you find your pot of gold today.

    (h/t to my boyfriend Kevin who posted this on his blog today.)

    Sunday, March 15, 2009

    Mya Releases Domestic Violence Track - Blackout

    Pop singer Mya has released a portion of her new song Blackout (Explicit Lyrics), which addresses domestic violence. The song was recorded before the Chris Brown/Rihanna situation, but one can't help but make the connection.

    Mya said in an interview with Honey Magazine, that at first she didn't believe the Chris Brown story, "I assumed it was another outrageous, untrue rumor from an illegitimate gossip site." It wasn't until she was playing tracks of her upcoming album for friends that she realized the song's impact.

    Blackout was inspired by two friends who were abused by their boyfriends.

    Mya wouldn't give Rihanna any advice, saying that she wasn't in any "position to give proper advice unless I’ve been given all facts from the direct source." She also stressed that she believes abusers can change, "I think anyone can change if they truly want to. It’s internal first. Regarding violent partners, it helps if a strong support system is in place to monitor and see the process through. "

    The response from the male members of the pop/hip-hop world has been underwhelming, with many performers sounding like wife-beater apologist. It's nice that some members of the music world are trying to speak out.

    Mya has been active in organizations that combat domestic violence, including her own, The Mya Arts and Tech Foundation.

    (See also, Where Is The Outrage...)

    Originally posted on The Huffington Post.

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009

    Vote! Bloomington Press Photos

    Press Photographer Cory Harbour took some great pictures of Vote! for Sunday's Indiana Daily Student follow-up article on the Bloomington production. View the entire album here.

    Muffin and Company

    Mark sings "Ambition"

    Visit the Vote! website.

    Tuesday, March 10, 2009

    JFK & Civil Rights

    Obama gave a shout-out this morning during his education speech to John F. Kennedy for his civil rights work. It struck Ezra as "a little weird to start crediting Kennedy with civil rights. Good speech, but the guy who "handled" that was undoubtedly Johnson." I agree.

    I've been reading Taylor Branch's excellent book Pillar of Fire, a history of the civil rights movement, and have been disappointed in JFK's lack of serious commitment to that struggle. Johnson seems to always get shafted, even though the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts were both passed during his administration.

    I twittered, "JFK had something to do with Civil Rights? That's news," in response to Obama's speech.

    I was quickly sent a rather condescending reply from a reader:

    Here's your newsflash, kid: June 6, 1963, Washington, DC. In a nationally televised address, President John F. Kennedy today urged the nation to take action toward guaranteeing equal treatment of every American regardless of race. Kennedy soon proposed legislation to Congress to outlaw public school segregation and discrimination in voting rights, public accommodations, federally assisted programs, and more. Following his assassination several months later, Kennedy's proposal was realized in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed segregation in businesses such as theaters, restaurants, and hotels and banned discriminatory practices in employment and ended segregation in public places such as swimming pools, libraries, and public schools.

    Another reader came to my defense:

    Candidate JFK promised to end discrimination in federal housing "with the stroke of a pen" when he became President and then nothing came of it for 3 years. The address that your reader is talking about, which was on June 11, was only given after George Wallace stole the spotlight by standing in the doorway of U of Alabama. JFK, in terms of legislation or executive action, did no more for civil rights than Eisenhower and did less than FDR, Truman, LBJ and Nixon.

    Now, with all that said, he inspired a generation to get involved with the struggle and African Americans identified with him, so you can't judge on legislative achievement alone. And, who knows what would have happened had he not been assassinated? But, the sad fact is that the 1964 and 1965 acts as we know them would have never NEVER been passed if he had lived. LBJ's ties with the Southern Democrats in Senate and the cloak of JFK's legacy got those 2 acts passed.

    I'd have to agree with the second reader- JFK, although inspirational, wasn't an entirely dedicated champion of civil rights.

    It seems that many older people, who were young during JFK's era, have a tendency to mythologize JFK's policies. The same people tend to do the same with Bill Clinton, a lackluster President. We should always respect the history and look beyond the mythology.

    Monday, March 9, 2009

    Vlogging Vote! - The Musical

    Katherine Duffy, who was one of the cast members of Vote! Bloomington, has her own video blog. She produced a terrific three part video detailing the entire Bloomington Vote! experience, with lots of interviews with the cast and crew, plus creator Ryann Ferguson. She even chatted a bit with her humble director... me.

    The first part is posted below, and here are the links to part two and three.

    Katherine's Blog is pretty cool and it reminds me of my friend Andrew Keenan-Bolger's blog. Andrew is a young actor and he blogs about his many exciting performances. His blog on the Vote! NYC reading was seen by Eric Anderson, who after learning about the show, produced it in Bloomginton. Read that full story as told by Ken Davenport.

    Friday, March 6, 2009

    Vote! Opens Tonight

    Vote!, the musical, opens tonight in Bloomington, Indiana. We've been workshopping the show here for over a month and we've learned so much from our terrific cast.

    We've gotten some nice buzz, from a great article on Broadway World, to a nice write-up in The Indiana Daily Student.

    Tickets can be purchased here. We've got a performance Friday & Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. I'll post some pictures from the production and begin blogging for real again when I return to NYC on Monday!

    Tuesday, March 3, 2009


    One of the best things on television last year was the Australian comedy series Summer Heights High. Chris Lilley created the series and plays three of the characters including Jonah Takalua, a kid who tags everything with Dicktation.

    Last night Kevin and I were out on the Bloomington town celebrating his 24th birthday and I came across this graffiti in the bathroom of Upstairs, a local college bar. Cool to see Jonah's tag has made it all the way across the world to an Indiana straight bar.