Sunday, December 9, 2018

ALL DONE

The last of the readings for the new book (and the documentary about the book tour and me) was another love fest. And though I was low on energy and my voice was giving out, it was so wonderful to see old friends (from DC and Iowa and the Bay Area and The Berkshires and New York) and to make new ones. I am once again so honored and humbled and delighted. Love never dies.

[PS: Photo by Barbara Wyeth. And PPS: The Green Arcade is one of the all time coolest bookstores (and Patrick is one of the coolest bookstore owners), so if you're ever in San Francisco, check it out]

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

ANOTHER GREAT NIGHT

Saturday's reading at Beyond Baroque to a packed house of old and new friends was an explosion of love. The entire trip so far has been about expanding my heart, but it's also been exhausting for this old mind and body, which is why I've hardly had the time or energy to post. But here's a few photos of it that friends posted on FB and I "borrowed" without writing down who took them (hopefully I can do that in the coming days)...

Sunday, November 25, 2018

NICOLAS ROEG AND RICKY JAY R.I.P.

I don't remember ever meeting  Nicolas Roeg, but I sure remember the powerful impact seeing three of his movies had on me. PERFORMANCE made in 1970, I saw just as 1972 started and I was discovering the fluidity of my sensuality. I had taken a beautiful South American shoe salesman, who had earlier that day sold me a pair of lavender suede platform shoes and agreed to meet me after work.

We got high before sitting in the dark theater, so watching the lovemaking bedroom scene, where gender becomes fluid and gorgeous in whatever form, I felt like my head was expanding and my body was exploding with joy and anticipation. (Maybe you had to be there.) Then sitting in the same theater (in DC) the following year, watching the lovemaking bedroom scene between Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie in DON'T LOOK NOW, I couldn't help laughing with joy at what I still remember as the best lovemaking scene in any movie ever (at least at the time it came closest to my experience).

The third film was INSIGNIFICANCE, one of the most original storylines ever in film history. Let's just say it involves Einstein and Marilyn Monroe, among other iconic figures, and explains E's "theory of relativity" better than any other movie (ha). And the MM character is played with the underrated and unfortunately mostly forgotten Theresa Russell who for many years after was my favorite movie actor of that time.

Roeg was 90 and had a very full and impactful (obviously to me) life, good for him.

Ricky Jay was only 70, so his passing seems too soon to me. My condolences to his family and friends and fans. I met him twice, once on the set of DEADWOOD, in which I had a small role on one episode. He was a nice guy and, of course, an amazing cardsharp and magician. I saw him do some of his card tricks in person and up close and was as impressed as anyone. He created a unique space for himself in the world of entertainment, and that is not easy to do nor often done. He will be missed.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

FYI

Last two stops on the book tour for ANOTHER WAY TO PLAY: Poems 1960-2017 will be in California for readings at Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Boulevard, Venice Beach, 7:30PM Dec. 1st, and at The Green Arcade bookstore 1680 Market Street in San Francisco, 7:30PM Saturday Dec. 8th.

Friday, November 23, 2018

A POEM I WROTE MANY YEARS AGO

NOVEMBER SONNET

On a perfectly clear Fall day, heading back to
Fort Monmouth, I watched as other cars on
The Garden State Parkway veered onto the
shoulder and stopped, the drivers not getting
out, just sitting there. At the toll booth the man
said The president's been shot. As I drove on,
more cars pulled off the road. I could see their
drivers weeping. Back in the barracks we stayed
in the rec room watching the black and white
TV, tension in the room like static. When they
named Lee Harvey Oswald, I watched the
black guys hold their breath, hoping that meant
redneck, not spade, and every muscle in their
faces relax when he turned out to be white.


(C) 2018 Michael Lally [from Another Way To Play]

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

ONCE

me (in blue shirt) with my then three siblings still alive
(we'd lost three others over the years) around 1990
(can you guess which brother was the cop
and which the priest?)
and now there's only my sister and me left

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS

The Coen brothers movies often leave me frustrated. Usually because the cynicism in them is too self-indulgent, as though they confuse cynicism with superiority. THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS (on Netflix and in theaters) is no exception. The acting is superb, the cinematography brilliant, the writing  clever, though sometimes a little too. But to what end? Entertaining, yes, engaging often, but when you reach the end of this series of unrelated tales (except for their all being set in the old West, with too many discredited tropes from the Western genre) how do you feel? I felt frustrated, and even swindled, like I just gave up two hours of my life (and at this end of it) to be unsatisfied, and feel frustrated and swindled.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

FYI: DEC. 1ST READING IN L.A.

Just a reminder that I'll be in L.A. for a Dec. 1st reading at 7:30PM at Beyond Baroque hosted by Eve Brandstein. It'll be my only reading in L.A. and the last time I'll be there (traveling that far has become more challenging for me)

 It's the second to last reading on my book tour for ANOTHER WAY TO PLAY: POEMS 1960-2017, and for the documentary being made about the tour and my life and my poetry by Rachel E. Diken. Both of us have reached beyond our means to make this film and this last visit to California viable, and I appreciate all the donations friends have made to this project, but if you can donate to help pay for this phase of it, here is the link to Rachel's Go Fund Me page for the film.

Friday, November 16, 2018

WILLIAM GOLDMAN R.I.P.

I never met William Goldman. But I feel like he's been an integral part of my life since I first discovered him in the late 1950s. In 1964 when I married my first wife, Lee, we had only met once, briefly, but had corresponded for years, and our first deep connection was our mutual love of Goldman's first novel, THE TEMPLE OF GOLD.

When it came out in 1957, it was initially banned from many libraries and schools for its "sexual" content though by today's standards there is none really. But it had critics and others associating him with The Beats, who were coming TO prominence then, even though it was as far from Beat as a young rebellious novelist could be back then. Despite it being to me a way too "white suburban" tale, I loved it because it was told from the perspective of a young man and made the self-conscious embarrassments of boyhood and adolescence really funny.

After we married, Lee and I would periodically read our favorite funny passages from it to make each other laugh, and it always worked. But Goldman maybe wanted to make his mark as a serious writer, because his second much slimmer novel, YOUR TURN TO CURTSY, MY TURN TO BOW (1958), was very dark. Lee loved it, and would use lines from it as shorthand for various situations, like, "Nail me to the cross Peter, nail me to the cross." I lost my copy years ago so I'm quoting that from memory and might have the name wrong, but the sentiment was the essence of the novel.

He then wrote a novel about his military experience, SOLDIER IN THE RAIN, which I read just before I entered the military and identified with a lot. But the big success of his early novels was the major bestseller BOYS AND GIRLS TOGETHER, which I read as his declaration that if you can't beat what we called in those days the "hack novelists" who gave the then mass paperback novel audience what they seemed to want, might as well join them.

He went on to become the most successful screenwriter in Hollywood in the latter half of the 20th century. Where I ended up and partly as a result of writing screenplays too (though his were often made into movies, and very successful ones—like HARPER, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, MARATHON MAN, et.al.—mine weren't). And the year I arrived in Hollywood, 1983, he published a book about Hollywood called ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE, with the opening sentence: "Nobody knows anything." That book was as much a comfort to me during that period of my life as his first novel was to my late adolescence and first marriage.

The best example for me of his skill as a story teller though, whether in novels or screenplays, is the delightfully funny and poignant THE PRINCESS BRIDE.  His like will not pass this way again.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

SO TOUCHING

I read somewhere this week is dedicated to honoring our trans bothers and sisters, and nothing I've seen has moved me more than this video, totally worth watching to the end...

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

I've read and heard criticism of BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY for it's being a typical biopic with the typical biopic tropes, and for not being authentic enough, like manipulating the facts to make for a more dramatic story arc, not giving enough time to Mercury's last big love, Jim Hutton, and too much time to Mary Austin, the woman he was engaged to and called his best friend (and left his home and most of his worldly goods to, Hutton got a big chunk of money, equal to a million dollars at present rates), etc.

But for my taste, if you see it in a theater on a big screen with big theater sound, it's a thrilling ride, despite some lulls and obvious contrivances. First of all Rami Malek as Freddy Mercury gives one of the great movie performances of the year, and the producers and director were smart enough to actually use the original recordings so it's Mercury's voice we're hearing, making the movie theater experience like attending a Queen concert with front row seats. That alone was worth the price of admission. The casting was amazing across the board, with the actors playing the rest of the band almost mirror images of the real guys.

Every quibble I had was balanced by another moment in the film that landed perfectly. Like when Freddy tells his female fiancée he thinks he's "bi-sexual" and she says "No Freddy, you're gay." I wanted to say Wait up, from what I've read he had sexual relations with several women (which the movie doesn't mention), as well as a lot more men (the opposite of my experience with mostly women but a number of men). Though I hate labels and categories (I used to call myself "pan-sexual" and to those who'd call me "bi-sexual" I'd point out that my experience is there's as many kinds of human sex as there are humans, not just two), lately I've revisited old journals and realize I was more into men than I remembered, which made me want to acknowledge and embrace what some would call my "bi-sexuality" since that category seems to be getting a lot of flack these days.

But then there's a simple scene after Mercury gets the AIDs diagnosis when on the way out of the clinic a sweet looking young man recognizes the Queen lead singer and quietly voices a two-note riff made famous by Mercury, which Mercury quietly echos, and the tears just flowed for me as every emotion connected to friends and lovers I'd had who died of AIDs—including survivor's guilt that I never even contracted it—overwhelmed me.

So, it might be how you respond personally to the emotional bits in the film, but for me, they mostly worked, as did the music.

[PS: I've been informed by Susan Anton in comments below that it's not Freddy Mercury's voice in the film, but I've read some reports that it is mostly, either way it works for me....I also want to make clear I'm not diminishing Mercury's being gay with my remarks about "bi-sexuality," just clarifying my own thoughts and feelings about that label and it's use to dismiss genuine feelings and experiences...]

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

GIOVANNA ARON R.I.P.


Willie Aron is one of the multi-talented music creators in L.A., and musicians there and elsewhere admire and respect his talent. But above and beyond that, he's just a really good guy. My oldest son, Miles, played bass in a band (originally called Spanish Kitchen, and later Mystery Pop) in which Willie played guitars and keyboards. He also played on some of the tracks for my poetry-with-music CD: Lost Angels.

He could not only instantly improvise the perfect riff I or Miles (he produced the CD) were looking for, but in any style of music we asked for! And he was always cooperative and modest. Working and playing with him was always fun for me. And hanging out with him was too, as well as with his lovely wife Giovanna.

My heart goes out to Willie over the loss to cancer of Giovanna, one of the kindest, most generous, most loving humans I've ever known. Our mutual friend Nancy Lee Nadel said it best in her post about this tragedy:

"To know her was to love her ... it was that simple. I met her when waitressing well over 20 years ago and it was love at first conversation and remained so throughout. I honestly never met a kinder more compassionate woman. Please send some love to her husband Willie and their 2 children in this sad moment of her passing. Another angel was most definitely needed in heaven. Rest in Peace Giovanna Aron you beautiful gift from god who never ever ever stopped smiling, you will forever be missed."
'
[I don't know who took either of the photos above,
but hopefully they don't mind my sharing them]

Monday, November 12, 2018

VETERANS DAY PS

You probably already know this but no member of the current president's family, including his father his sons and himself, has ever served in the United States military. None. Ever. Happy designated Veterans Day.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

VETERANS DAY

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, one hundred years ago today, "The Great War" as it was known at the time, ended. Before there was a second "great war" so they ended up being known by their numbers, the end of the first one, World War One, was known as Armistice Day, i.e. the day The Great War ended and there was finally peace among the warring countries.

When I was a boy during and after the second one, World War Two, most adults still called November 11th Armistice Day. The boarder who lived in my home when I was growing up, an old friend of my father's, was a veteran of WWI, a "doughboy" as they were known. His nickname was "Jockey" cause he was a very small man. Another friend of theirs who was in WWI was nicknamed "Frenchy" cause he made it to Paris after the war.

My three brothers who made it to adulthood (another died as an infant) and me, we all served in the military, me the longest (four years), and a lot of the men in my neighborhood did. Here's a poem I wrote about that, from "The South Orange Sonnets" and in my latest book: Another Way To Play:

18

At first the world’s great heroes were FDR
Churchill and Uncle Joe Stalin. The block
hero was FLYING ACE who shot down Krauts

on a seven inch screen. One brother served
with the Navy Band, one with the US Army
Air Corps. Before TV we sat through Sunday
matinees with newsreel footage of Nazi war
crimes. The boarder in our house had been
a dough boy in World War I. We called him

uncle. My third brother worked on tanks in
Germany during the Korean thing. I joined
the Air Force on February eighth 1962. I
went AWOL July fourth 
1962. For a long time
no one we knew ever went away a civilian.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

FYI

Someone asked me why I didn't comment on the midterms, the simple answer is: they aren't over yet. But also, there's been so many responses and perspectives articulated online and off that the nuances of that many responses leaves me mentally exhausted. I'm happy the Dems took the House back. I'm overjoyed that there were so many firsts—first Muslim women elected to Congress, first refugee elected to Congress (also a woman of color), first gay out-before-the-election governor (Colorado), first indigenous (i.e. truly "American") women elected to Congress, first lesbian mother elected, and so many more.

As for another "mass shooting," how much more obvious can it get that the real terrorist threat in this country is and has always been mainly coming from white men. White men with any demonstrated domestic violence in their past, i.e. cop coming to their door for spousal or parental or pet or property abuse, or any affiliation with any organization that promotes violence, should not be able to purchase or own any kind of deadly weapon, period. Any kind of assault weapon should be banned too etc. etc. But the first suggestion would be a small start. Though unlikely to happen soon, possibly eventually.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

SATURDAY CHURCH

SATURDAY CHURCH is a small movie with a big vision. Writer/director Damon Cardasis put together a great cast, led by Luka Cain who is the reason to see this flick. His character, an adolescent seemingly trapped by the contradictions of his desires versus his family's and community's expectations, is so quietly charismatic he elevates what could have been a predictable message film (the message being tolerance and understanding for gay and transgender youth) to an exceptional and truly independent film. It doesn't hurt that the musical and dance numbers are totally unexpected and uncontrived, for my taste. Glad I saw it.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Monday, November 5, 2018

YEP

to paraphrase others:
our votes count,
if they didnt some top Republicans
wouldn't be trying to suppress them,
if they didnt there wouldn't be
billionaires trying to buy them,
and if they didnt there wouldn't be
russians trying to hack them...
our votes count, so
if you haven't already,
let's all go vote Nov. 6th

Sunday, November 4, 2018

ROY HARGOVE R.I.P.


I didn't know him personally, but what a tragic loss for his family, fans, friends, and music. [here's the NY Times obit]

Friday, November 2, 2018

JUST ANOTHER REMINDER

the street address is 238 Central Ave in Brooklyn, the rest is a mystery to me

Monday, October 29, 2018

HOMECOMING KING

Hasan Minhaj's comedy special HOMECOMING KING is more of a one-man autobiographical show than the usual stand-up comic's TV special. It tells a coherent story with an engaging arc and a satisfying pay off, while all the time slipping in big laughs and even epiphanies (he's more of a teacher than a comic sometimes (check out his new topical weekly show, a great variation on the talk show format)).

Minhaj takes chances and they don't always work but they sure are fresh. HOMECOMING is like a really funny but equally enlightening TED talk without the pretentions and slickness. Well worth watching.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE

My good friend Hubert Selby Jr. used to remind me that you can't have up without down, or right without left, or pleasure without pain, or success without failure, or what we think of as "bad" without what we think of as "good." I'm thinking of that because despite the onslaught of "bad" news, "good" things keep happening as well.

And for me, one of them is this movie: TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE. Not because it's an epic original work of art, but because it's a small but significant step toward tolerance and inclusion and acceptance and fairness and more, by taking a genre plot—the high school romantic comedy with all its familiar tropes—and adding one unique element: an Asian-American playing the lead.

The most exceptional thing about that is it isn't in any way a part of the plot (there's only one fleeting reference to racism and not aimed at her). It's just a given, accepted as such with no fanfare or extra attention. Lana Condor as the lead character—a high school girl in love with love but afraid of the real thing—owns this film with her acting and her quiet charisma (talk about a star is born).

But all the acting is great (especially Anna Cathcart as the little sister and John Corbett as the dad, who is always a delight to see on screen, and Noah Centineo as a possible beau). As is the direction, editing, cinematography, and soundtrack. It's a gem of a genre flick, worth watching.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

TBT

me (in my then favorite vintage shirt with a circle of stars on one collar) and dear friend, artist Susan Campbell (who did the covers for my books: CANT BE WRONG and SWING THEORY), in Maryland or DC back in the day (1980s or '90s)

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

ANOTHER FAVORITE OLD QUOTE

"Don't cut what you can untie." —Joseph Joubert (from his Notebooks, translated by Paul Auster)

Monday, October 22, 2018

OH LUCY!

As usual, when I need a little break from, well, pretty much everything these days, I watch a movie. This one I missed in the theaters but caught on demand. And I was glad I did. Director and co-writer Atsuko Hirayanogi has created in OH LUCY! a blend of humor and deep disappointment that surprises at every turn. Another female director and screenwriter we should all be aware of.

The film is a unique little work of art, the writing and editing perfectly matched by the outstanding cast led by Shinobu Terajima as the conflicted lead character who flips from often typical Japanese restraint and reticence to unexpected expansive and impulsive originality. You've never seen anything quite like her character before.

The film is set in Japan and Southern California and is in Japanese (with English subtitles) and English. The cast represents both cultures as well, with Josh Hartnett in a pivotal role, abetted by a great cameo by Megan Mullally, for the English speakers, and Shioli Kutsuna, Kaho Minami, and Koji Yakusho in the Japanese contingent.

If you like to see films that don't quite fit into any genre and display creative nerve in the chances they take, this might be for you. It was for me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

HUMBLING FBPOST/REVIEW OF ANOTHER WAY TO PLAY

another way to play, POEMS 1960-2017, by michael lally (published by seven stories press), is one of the best books of 2018. Michael Lally, a fearless poet, with strength of narrative, creates an infinity figure 8 between himself & the reader. A love poet, protest poet, personal poet, chronicler of family history, poet of the "other."
A revolutionary poet, poet of many forms, erudite, fluent, honest: Here's the entire poem of "NOW I'M ONLY THIRTY-TWO": "from 5 to 30 it was / only women, then / for almost one year / it was only men / now it's like the first / 5 years and back / to everyone again." The last stanza of his poem, "DREAMING OF THE POTATO," shows his excellent ear: "With people there has been trouble / With the potato we have been happy."
"MY LIFE," p. 45-56, an epic, exhilarating rhapsody! Amen.
His poetry from whatever city he writes, from whatever place he lives, gives me solace: a kindred soul who stands up for the outsider, the poet, for me who often feels alone.
I like "SPORTS HEROES, COPS AND LACE," with its deepness of heart & dignity, love of the other & love of the father. There's a warmth in this poem & in the following "HOLIDAY HELL"; humor in "THE SOUND OF POLICE CARS."
In "WHERE DO WE BELONG," set in Ireland, he writes about Paddy Lally, his relative & guide to his Irish ancestors: "I fell in love with his / way & his manner & the fact that / he obviously was addicted as I / am to words on the page as they / express worlds in the minds & the / lives of others so far from us --" Words: a common bond. Michael Lally is a brilliant American poet!
10 15 18
Harry E. Northup

Monday, October 15, 2018

ANOTHER FAVORITE QUOTE

"Fill you bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity."

—Lao-tsu (from Tao te Ching
translated by Stephen Mitchell)

Sunday, October 14, 2018

MANIAC

What makes this Netflix limited (what we used to call "TV mini-") series worth watching is the acting, most consistently Emma Stone's. The storyline is so over the top, it's like this is the last season of some show that's been running for twelve years and the writers have so run out of ideas they finally "jump the shark"—only it's just ten episodes that use the settings and characters of classic film genres to explore their two main characters' characters, played by Stone and Jonah Hill.

Hill is terrific too, except for the film noir episode where he misses beats and Bogart-style opportunities in his (or the director's) choice to only play one note. Other than that, watching the two leads interact was delightful to me, especially since the supporting cast includes Sally Field playing a guru, Justin Theroux playing her mad scientist son and almost stealing the show, and Sonoyo Mizuno playing his co-scientist and lover in a star making performance.

Once I surrendered to it, I wanted more.  

Saturday, October 13, 2018

PIRIRA

If you've never seen J. Stephen Brantley's 2013 play PIRIRA performed, there's a production of it in my part of Jersey that you shouldn't miss (it runs until October 28th) at Luna Stage in a section of what we used to call "The Valley" where Orange and West Orange collide.

Directed and cast by Ari Laura Keith, this staging is finely tuned and the results are impactful, as intended. The cast pulls off the challenging and at times nuanced choreography of articulating two initially seemingly only slightly related stories. Without being too "clever" the stories suck you into the vortex their juxtaposition creates, until it's too late to not give in.

The four members of the ensemble live up to the demands of their characters' arcs, even those I was initially suspicious of (as written characters and of the actors playing them). But I left totally impressed by Naja Selby-Morton, John P. Keller, Kevis Hillocks, and a wonderful discovery (for me) David Gow whose seamless performance seemed to hold the play together.

I laughed, I cried, as the old cliche goes, but I really did. If you live anywhere near Luna Stage (555 Valley Road, West Orange NJ), I mean anywhere within driving distance, get thee to this theater and this production of PIRIRA.

Friday, October 12, 2018

AN UNPUBLISHED SONNET FROM 1972

IGNITE

With Ed at The Skyline Faggots commune, Ted, a
young black man, called me Foxy Miss Michael
as he brought out a box of jewelry and put a tiara
on me, then looked surprised as I picked out some
clip-on earrings and a necklace. Someone gave me
a mirror and my turn to be surprised, by the rush
when I dug myself. Someone else got a big piece of
purple velvet I wrapped around me, gliding around
the room posing, moving in ways I never had before,
discovering a whole other side to myself, not man,
as I’ve known that, not woman, shocking the gay
men with my unexpected grace and poise. A young
redhead said I looked like an English Princess. Earlier
he read a poem ending Faggots of the world ignite!  

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A STAR IS BORN

Went into the theater with high expectations because of the raves my friends have been giving this film. The fourth remake of a 1932 film, and the third with the same name. If my memory serves me correctly, this one is more closely based on the 1976 version with Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand that I was alone among my friends in liking at the time, mostly because people felt Streisand overwhelmed Kristofferson, deliberately.

This new one stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, and neither is gonna get overwhelmed by the other, these are two great talents matching chops. As usual, Cooper's acting is seamless. Gaga's often is a revelation, though there's a few scenes where she's not as believable as the rest. But her singing and musicianship is so powerful on the big screen, I felt like I was at a private concert for my benefit and was grateful.

Cooper's singing was surprisingly good as well. Just to experience their singing is worth the price of the movie. And his directing was also good, with only a few stumbles, including length, he could have cut it by at least twenty minutes, if not more, and made the same impact, or a better one. But his casting was smart, with some surprisingly poignant performances by several unexpected cast members, like Andrew Dice Clay and Dave Chapelle.

All in all, worth seeing on the big screen.  

Monday, October 8, 2018

HAPPY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY

The children being held in prison camps and the adults being held in prisons around the country, because they sought asylum or a better life in this country, are mostly descendants of the indigenous peoples of the "Americas" who should be free to cross any mythical "border" created by "white" Europeans and their descendants on land that wasn't theirs to begin with.

Friday, October 5, 2018

FAHRENHEIT 11/9

Michael Moore's latest documentary, FAHRENHEIT 11/9, does what Moore's films always do for those of us who share his goals and values: scores points we've been waiting to see scored for our side and exposes truths the media overlooks or distorts about how bad the other side really is.

But in the age of Trump, it feels like not enough. It's worth seeing for a lot of reasons, and it does its best to motivate audiences to take action. But despite its partly accurate, party selective evidence that the Dems are at fault too, it seems as lacking in usable focus and organizing methods as the Dems too often do.

I'd love to see a younger filmmaker, preferably not a white straight male, bring more focus and clarity to solutions for the dilemmas we are in. Just look at the poster above and the film title and you can see how the Repubs and the right in general often do a better job of engaging and focusing their audiences and constituents through their slogans and soundbites and repetitive catchphrases and talking points.

Still, I recommend seeing it for its many strong scenes and even revelations, and to support Moore's ongoing attempts to educate the public even if it's too divided I fear for this film to change any hearts and minds at this point.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

THEN

Me and my first born, my daughter Caitlin, not long after her birth in Iowa City in 1968.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

TOMORROW NIGHT

Hey, my oldest son plays bass behind Greg Farley, who I'm a big fan of (my son and Greg Farley, as well as the drummer Michael Lesko), so I'm gonna be at this gig at Bowery Electric  tomorrow evening, maybe see you there.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

ANOTHER OLD FAVORITE QUOTE

"And it is strange how all forget when they have once made things or themselves to be very different."  —Gertrude Stein (from The Making Of Americans)

Sunday, September 30, 2018

JULIET, NAKED

Saw this a few weeks ago and loved it. A small romantic comedy with some serious themes—including my favorite: redemption. And well-acted, with a great cast led by Rose Byrne, Chris O'Dowd, and Ethan Hawke. Well-directed by Jesse Peretz, and well-written (despite it being by a group of writers) based on a novel by Nick Hornby. And very clever, not meant ironically or in quotes but in the original meaning of clever. A treat. Catch it if you can.