Thursday, December 17, 2015

Standing Ovation

One of the best things a playwright can say about seeing his work performed is “That’s what I meant.” The actors understand the characters and convey them authentically to the audience.

That was what I felt last night as I watched the reading of my new play “All Together Now” at Mina’s Mediterraneo in Miami, sponsored by New Theatre. Thank you, Kenneth Averett-Clark, Carlos Alayeto, Jonathan Mitzenmacher, Joel Kolker, Joanne Marsic, and Nicole Quintana for bringing Paul, Adam, Fox, Jim, Dorothy, and Julie to life, and thank you, Steven A. Chambers and Erik Rodriguez for guiding the play with love and care.

Also thank you to Ricky J. Martinez and Eileen Suarez for making it all happen. I am very grateful for such strong support and genuine love for theatre and making new works happen, and I look forward to going forward with you all.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Welcome Caitlyn

From the New York Times:

Caitlyn Jenner 06-01-15

In April, Bruce Jenner spoke about her transition to woman in a television special that drew nearly 17 million viewers.

On Monday, that woman revealed her new identity, appearing as Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair. The photograph of Ms. Jenner in a revealing outfit, shot by Annie Leibovitz and accompanied by the headline “Call Me Caitlyn,” immediately became a sensation on social media when the magazine posted the article online.

Ms. Jenner, 65, who won an Olympic gold medal in the decathlon, has had a long public life. As Bruce Jenner, she had been on the cover of Playgirl, an author, an actor and most recently a part of the Kardashian family’s reality television empire. Earlier this year, reports emerged that Bruce Jenner was in the process of becoming a woman.

The Vanity Fair article represents the latest in a carefully calibrated series of public steps by Ms. Jenner and her team, as she moves toward the debut of a new reality show on the E! network that will begin airing at the end of July, and a new public life as a woman. A Twitter account, in the name of Caitlyn Jenner, was started at the same time that the Vanity Fair article was published online. Within hours, the account had more than 1.1 million followers.

I salute her on many levels: for coming to terms with her identity and doing it in public.  She didn’t have to, and I am sure there are a lot of people who feel morally superior to everyone else who are sniffing and sighing about how Ms. Jenner just had to wave it under everyone’s nose — or to use their favorite Freudian-laden metaphor — ram it down their throats.  It’s truly sad that they can’t understand and celebrate the complexity of life.

Or perhaps they’re afraid of their own questions and feelings.  That’s not to say that every prude is repressing a part of their nature, but you have to wonder in a world where understanding who we are is a never-ending process of discovery, they would be so adamantly opposed to and threatened by the life of an absolute stranger.

By the way, and I mean this in the best way, my first reaction to the photo was how much she reminds me of Julie Newmar.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Peace Prize

Meet Malala Yousafazi.

Who is Malala?” shouted the Taliban gunman who leapt onto a crowded bus in northwestern Pakistan two years ago, then fired a bullet into the head of Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old schoolgirl and outspoken activist.

That question has been answered many times since by Ms. Yousafzai herself, who survived her injuries and went on to become an impassioned advocate, global celebrity and, on Friday, the latest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize alongside the Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi.

Yet since that decisive gunshot in October 2012, Ms. Yousafzai and her compelling story have been reshaped by a range of powerful forces — often, though not always, for good — in ways that have left her straddling perilous fault lines of culture, politics and religion.

In Pakistan, conservatives assailed the schoolgirl as an unwitting pawn in an American-led assault. In the West, she came to embody the excesses of violent Islam, or was recruited by campaigners to raise money and awareness for their causes. Ms. Yousafzai, guided by her father and a public relations team, helped to transform that image herself, co-writing a best-selling memoir.

And now the Nobel Prize committee has provided a fresh twist on her story, recasting her as an envoy for South Asian peace.

Announcing the prize in Oslo on Friday, the committee chairman, Thorbjorn Jagland, said it was important for “a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism” — a resonant message in a week in which the Pakistani and Indian armies have exchanged shellfire across a disputed stretch of border, killing 20 villagers. But it was also a message that highlighted how far Ms. Yousafzai has come from her original incarnation as the schoolgirl who defied the Taliban and lived to tell the tale.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Short Takes

Twenty-six NATO foreign ministers pledged to combat ISIS.

Secretary of State Kerry says U.S. is open to talking with Iran about ISIS.

GM will pay compensation for 19 deaths caused by faulty ignitions.

President Obama presented the Congressional Medal of Honor to two Vietnam veterans.

August 2014 was the warmest August since they started keeping records.

Tropical Update: TS Odile is battering Baja California.

The Tigers beat the Twins 8-6.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Coach Class

From Crooks & Liars:

Rhode Island Little League coach Dave Belisle delivered an incredibly inspirational and emotional speech to his Cumberland team after it was eliminated from the LLWS after an 8-7 loss to Chicago on Monday night.

I can so see my dad doing this.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Fond Farewell

Carl Kasell retires from NPR’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me,” the radio news quiz.  Panelist Roxanne Roberts tells the story.

We knew Carl Kasell’s last taping of “Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me” was going to be a big deal, which is so not Carl. After 16 years as official judge and scorekeeper of the NPR quiz show, and 60 years in radio, he wanted his last show to be just like any other.

As if. Sprinkled throughout the hour were tributes from Stephen Colbert, Tom Hanks, Katie Couric and President Obama, which caused the 80-year-old veteran newsman and the 1,800 people packed into the Warner Theatre on Thursday to get all verklempt.

The crowd, as they say, went wild. We are talking public radio fans, so that meant standing ovations and loud applause, not underwear tossed onstage. At the end of the taping, they politely mobbed Carl like he was Springsteen or the Pope, thrusting items both cute (a Carl plush doll) and mildly creepy (a Carl face pillow) at him for autographs. I’m pretty sure I saw a guy in the second row tattoo Carl’s name across his heart.


So House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Sens. Dick Durbin, Jeff Flake and Kay Hagan all attended a tribute dinner for him Wednesday night, along with the “Wait Wait” family, former colleagues, NPR brass and even some of Carl’s pals from high school. Pelosi presented him with a flag that had been flown over the Capitol, besting (just barely) Durbin’s gift of Garrett’s famous Chicago popcorn.

The man of the hour was, characteristically modest. “Thank you so much,” he told the audience. “I’ve had so much fun. I enjoyed every moment of it.” But official retirement? Not so much. “What does it mean? Putting things aside, doing nothing? Are you kidding?” he said. “I can’t live that way. I’ve got to do something, somewhere, somehow.”

Carl is now officially “Wait Wait’s” Scorekeeper Emeritus, but will continue to record voice mail greetings for winners on the show. (He’s already done more than 2,000.) But — since we’re sharing here — you probably want to know whose voice is on Carl’s home answering machine.

His wife’s. Carl’s king of the castle, but Mary Ann is queen.

Best wishes.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Standing Ovation

For digby for winning the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

Heather “Digby” Parton grew up all over the world as the daughter of a peripatetic employee of the vast American Military Industrial complex. After a traditional 1970s-style misspent youth and fitful education, she landed in Hollywood and spent a couple of decades as an executive in the film industry, pushing the usual paper and making the usual deals. Out of a need to vent her frustration with the state of America’s politics, she began writing daily political analysis, punditry, random musings and snark on her website “Hullabaloo” in 2002. It soon turned into a full-time vocation, obsession, and, surprisingly, a new career.


Digby has written for mainstream publications such as Salon and New York Magazine among others but maintains the blog as her primary publishing platform, still churning out a half dozen posts a day, sparking debate and riding the political zeitgeist from her beach cottage in Santa Monica, California. She remains a prominent voice of progressive thought and online activism, often linked by others with one simple line: “What Digby said.”

They could not have made a better choice.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pulitzer Prizes

Congratulations to all the winners.


Donna Tartt

“The Goldfinch” (Little, Brown and Company)

Finalists: Philipp Meyer, “The Son” (Ecco) ; Bob Shacochis, “The Woman Who Lost Her Soul” (Atlantic Monthly Press)


Annie Baker

“The Flick”

Finalists: Madeleine George, “The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence”; Lisa Kron (book and lyrics), Jeanine Tesori (music), “Fun Home”

Missed it by this much.  (Assuming “this much” is a snowball’s chance in Hell.)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014


I normally don’t write about my place of work, but this is worth noting.

Riding a cresting wave of accolades, Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has been named the country’s top schools chief.

The School Superintendents Association announced in Nashville Thursday that Carvalho had won the 2014 National Superintendent of the Year. Carvalho, who attended the event with two school board members, said he was “humbled and honored” and as he accepted his award his first thoughts were of his father.

The award, given to one of the country’s 49 state superintendents of the year, is likely to further ever-present speculation about whether Carvalho will seek public office or a job on a bigger stage. But Carvalho said in an interview Thursday evening that he remains as focused as ever on working for the 350,000 students of Miami-Dade County.

“I love Miami-Dade and I am absolutely dedicated to this journey that we began five-and-a-half years ago,” he said. “What’s left to be done is much greater than what we’ve accomplished. The work is not done, nor am I.”

Carvalho said the award, which comes with no formal responsibilities, is an affirmation of the work of teachers, the school board and his staff and reflects the progress Miami-Dade’s schools have made since he took over in 2008. During the time, the district was facing massive budget cuts and the school board had just parted ways with Rudy Crew, with whom relations had soured. Crew, ironically, had been named National Superintendent of the Year in 2008.

Since then, Dade’s schools have boosted their graduation rates to their highest point, and test scores have steadily risen. In 2012, the district won the Broad Prize, the country’s highest award for urban school districts. The district has also won awards for marked improvement in Advanced Placement participation and performance.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Eleven O’Clock Number

In musical theatre, there’s a tradition of having a song that really brings home the show.  It’s called the eleven o’clock number because it usually comes along at the climax, and that’s late in the second act.

In last night’s State of the Union speech, President Obama, like many of his predecessors, hit the high point when he acknowledged the service of Sgt. Cory Remsberg.

Standing ovation.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Good Reading

The 2013 Jon Swift Memorial Roundup has been posted.  Backstory here.

Jon Swift - Al WeiselOur late and much missed comrade in blogging, journalist and writer Al Weisel, revered and admired across the bandwidth as the “reasonable conservative” blogger Modest Jon Swift, was a champion of the lesser known and little known bloggers working tirelessly in the shadows… One of his projects was a year-end Blogger Round Up. Al/Jon asked bloggers far and wide, famous and in- and not at all, to submit a link to their favorite post of the past twelve months and then he sorted, compiled, blurbed, hyperlinked and posted them on his popular blog. His round-ups presented readers with a huge banquet table of links to work many of has had missed the first time around and brought those bloggers traffic and, more important, new readers they wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed. It may not have been the most heroic endeavor, but it was kind and generous and a lot of us owe our continued presence in the blogging biz to Al.

If you’re a regular reader here, you will see a lot of familiar bylines of bloggers I respect, admire, and try to emulate in quality.  And if you don’t know them, take this opportunity to read them and discover their work.  Frankly, that’s how a lot of readers first came to this little blog, and I’m grateful that Al/Jon made an effort to promote the smaller ones.  And, of course, thanks to Batocchio of Vagabond Scholar for keeping the flame alive.

For the record, this post from last August was my contribution.

Friday, December 6, 2013


It’s expected that a lot of people in positions of power, both in the past and the present, are paying their respects to the life and work of Nelson Mandela.

And it’s also expected that some people hope the rest of us forget that they once labeled him as a terrorist and threat to decent civilization.

Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.”

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

As Maine Goes…

Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) is running for governor of Maine.  And, as he told the world in a column in the Portland Press Herald, he’s gay.

When I entered the race for governor, I did so because I love the state of Maine and am tired of seeing it dragged in the wrong direction. There was never any question that it would be a tough race, but I know I have the vision, the experience and the commitment to lead Maine forward.

Once I jumped to an early lead in the polls, I knew it was only a matter of time before individuals and organizations intent on re-creating the uncertainty that led to our current governor’s election three years ago would start their attacks. Already my opponents have tried to blatantly distort my support for a woman’s right to choose and my tireless commitment to our nation’s veterans.

So I wasn’t surprised to learn about the whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls some of the people opposed to my candidacy have been using to raise questions about my personal life. They want people to question whether I am gay.

Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: “Yes I am. But why should it matter?”

That may seem like a big announcement to some people. For me, it’s just a part of who I am, as much as being a third-generation mill worker or a lifelong Mainer. One thing I do know is that it has nothing to do with my ability to lead the state of Maine.

I’m old enough to remember when this kind of news would doom a campaign in utero.  Hell, that would have probably doomed a campaign twenty years ago.  Now it’s being treated as no big deal, which is as it should be.

The only reason I’m paying attention to it is because, despite the rampant bigotry and fearmongering from some people (ahem John Boehner and his chickenshit hallelujah chorus of Jesus-shouters), being openly gay is rapidly becoming a non-issue to the vast majority of people in this country who aren’t obsessed with the sex lives of people they don’t know.  (That doesn’t explain the Kardashians, but then, nothing does.)

I don’t know anything about Mr. Michaud or his politics.  Until I read this piece, I’d never heard of him.  So I don’t know if he’d be a good governor for Maine or not.  But I do know that he’s already made an ally out of me and a lot of other people by writing this piece.  And I fervently hope for the day when he or anyone else will not have to write one like it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013