Entries from May 2006 ↓

Stream of Consciousness

What do you blog about when you have nothing to blog about? The weather? Nothing is quite as sticky as NYC with high heat and humidity. I just wanna spend all day in a cool shower.

Iím so not enjoying looking for work. Iím optimistic. I just hate the whole process and the fact that just when I was starting to be content with life, Iíve been dealt more upheaval. There is never a time when life is easy.

I was gonna do this big arts event blog, but it was turning into a project. Iíll just post links. NewFest starts tomorrow. Not sure if Iíll get to any films but hereís the schedule. The JVC Jazz Festival begins in two weeks. The Signature Theatre Company will pay tribute to August Wilson by staging three of his plays this season. Billy Porter will spend his summer in my hometown working on a new play, Mixed Company. Further north, in western Massachusetts, Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival gets underway in about two weeks. Danny Glover is doing a benefit reading at NYU. Sheryl Lee Ralph will perform her own one-woman show at Aaron Davis Hall.

And speaking of HIV awareness, Frontline on PBS has an informative retrospective on the worldwide pandemic. You can watch the whole thing online starting Friday.

Did nothing Memorial Day weekend and I had a whole four days off. Caught an interesting French film classic. Otherwise sat around. Iíd hoped to spend quality time with someone special but that didnít happen. INSD.

Thought about a Memorial Day blog entry, but that didnít happen either. Just think anti-Iraq War and the need to stop glorifying war and youíll have the gist of it. But I was going to remember this heroic US World War I soldier, who waited 83 years to finally get recognized by his own government.

Reality Check

Someone else has more clearly stated the same thoughts that have been running through my mind since the price of gasoline started going up. Cities and towns all across the fifty states had better begin now the process of developing alternative means of transportation because our national love affair with the automobile is about to smash head-on with reality.

Gas prices are going up because the worldís supply of oil is diminishing. It’s a fact, accept it or not. Oil is after all a finite commodity, but then as this author makes clear, we always knew that. This is not theory. This is not someoneís doomsday scenario.

Iíve been thinking about this issue because of the fact that I live in New York City, where we have a mass transportation system that runs 24/7/365 and which can take you just about anywhere for $2.00. Most of the 8 million inhabitants of this city donít have to deal with rising gas prices, unless we rent a car on the weekend to get out of town.

But I know we are the exception, not the rule. Practically everywhere else in America, there are cities surrounded by suburbs with highways connecting the two; long commutes to jobs or entertainment venues; shopping centers located outside of inner city areas inconveniencing those without a means of personal transportation, in short, a complete dependence on the automobile to get around. In recent years many communities, including my own hometown and other cities Iíve lived in upstate New York, have spent federal transportation money on widening highways, adding access roads, and building parking facilities to aid the commuters. Wrongheaded thinking.

This is Economics 101 Gas prices will only go up because the supply is only going down. Oil reserves will not replenish themselves. Even alternative energy sources will not be enough to meet the demand for our current leveling of driving. And what automakers are mass producing cars with alternative energy in mind anyway? None.

Renewed and increased expenditures for Amtrak and the rail trainsportation infrastructure, development of electric-powered light rail commuter lines and intra-city trolley and electric bus systems, even wider use of and public accommodation for the personal bicycle should all become part of our thinking. Politicians and other decision-makers who arenít even raising the topic of transportation alternatives, arenít really planning for the future.

Thinking out loud

I havenít had much to blog about lately. I have had much to think about, just nothing Iíve cared to put in this blog.

Since learning last week that I am to be ďdownsizedĒ as of June 30, I have once again been forced to think about what I want to be when I grow up. I do hate such adult decision-making. I hate job-hunting even more. As I have told many friends, this was really the perfect gig for me in many respects. It fit very comfortably around the rest of my life, instead expecting my life to fit around the job. I am loath to give my all to any employer and will be hard-pressed to find a similar work environment elsewhere.

I will however have a long list of requirements and questions to ask during any interviews. Certain work conditions will be non-negotiable and if they canít accommodate me, Iím not interested. But thatís if I go back to a traditional 9-5.

Iím also weighing consulting or chef-ing (in a restaurant or catering environment) or even a return to acting (Iíve previously quit and returned to show business about four times now). I contemplate leaving NYC for less expensive and less stressful locations. I think about the value of employer-provided health benefits and how in the past few years Iíve been able to see a general practitioner, a podiatrist, cardiologist, chiropractor, psychiatrist, get new eyeglasses and contact lenses and join a health club because I either had it as part of my benefits package or simply had the money to do so. Iím not eager to give any of that up.

I think about a return to public relations work or even government and politics. New York will have a new governor this year, probably a Democrat. I worked in the last Democratic administration, during the Cuomo years. Could I weasel my way back into that world. Would I want to?

Why canít I just win the lottery and not have to think about any of this?

In other thoughts apropos of nothing, Art in Harlem was a lot fun Sunday. It is always refreshing to be in the company of creative people.

Former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey is coming out with a tell-(almost)-all book about his life ďon the DL.Ē I canít help but notice the timing of that story in relation to this past Sunday nightís episode of ďThe Sopranos.Ē Closeted gay mobster and fellow New Jerseyan Vito Spatafore got wacked just for being gay, or as his brother-in-law and assassin Phil Leotardo called him, ďA fuckiní finook.Ē All the culprits wrapped themselves in Catholicism. McGreeveyís getting off lighter, but was still put through the same guilt trip.

I havenít followed the NBA playoffs that closely, but two teams I really wanted to see advance have fallen by the wayside. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers, perennial doormats in the league, stepped up and made it interesting this season before being eliminated. Maybe next year.

Iím hoping Buffalo and Edmonton face each other in the NHL Stanley Cup Finals, primarily for two reasons. Hopefully one of them will get their name etched on the cup.

I finally made it up to the new Apple store on 59th and 5th Avenue. I showed up at the grand opening last Friday, along with a few thousand other people, but unlike them, I had no intentions of standing in line. So I stopped by during lunch today and got right in. Itís open 24 hours, 365 days a year. If you wake up at 3:00 AM, feeniní for an iPod, you now know where you can go.

A Raisin on the small screen

Cast members from A Raisin in the Sun, which garnered a 2004 Tony-nomination for Best Revival of a Play, will restage the production, this time as a made-for-television movie to air on ABC sometime in 2007.

The industry trade paper Variety reports that Sean “Diddy” Combs, Phylicia Rashad, Audra McDonald and Sanaa Lathan ó who all starred in the Broadway revival ó will head the cast of the TV version, which will begin filming this December in Toronto.

Diddy is the Executive Producer of this newest adaptation of Lorraine Hansberryís ground-breaking play. Kenny Leon will again direct as he did for the Broadway revival at the Royale Theatre. The 2004 production was nominated for four Tony Awards. Co-stars Rashad and McDonald were the only winners.

Combs made his Broadway debut in Raisin but not without considerable controversy. Established Black stage performers were initially up in arms over his casting, and some reviewers were lukewarm to his performance. The fact that every star in the show was nominated for a Tony that year except Diddy, seemed to suggest that the theater community did not view him as one of their own.

Nevertheless, Combs told Variety, in reference to this tv presentation, “There are so many things the younger generation can get out of this. It’s an American story of overcoming obstacles that still rings true. It’s important for people of color, especially younger ones, to see this.”

A Raisin in the Sun premiered in 1959. It was the first Broadway play written by, directed by and starring African-Americans. Lloyd Richards directed. In the cast were Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil as the mother, Diana Sands, Ruby Dee, Louis Gossett, Ivan Dixon, Glynn Turman, John Fielder, Lonne Elder III, Ed Hall and Douglas Turner. It ran 530 performances. A 1961 film version followed, as did a later 1991 TV movie. It was also the basis for the musical, Raisin.

Not So Fast

Last Friday the track and field community thought it had a new world record in the menís 100-meter dash. American sprinter Justin Gatlin was believed to have run a time of 9.76 seconds at the Qatar Grand Prix, which would have broken the 9.77 time set by rival Jamaican runner Asafa Powell.

But it now turns out Gatlin only equaled the record and will have to share it with Powell. A timing error prompted the sport’s governing body Wednesday to take away Gatlin’s announced record. The International Association of Athletics Federations said his time was recorded at 9.766, and should have been manually rounded up to 9.77.

Gatlin’s time has now been adjusted to 9.77 and, pending ratification, will equal the record set by Powell in Athens, Greece, on June 14, 2005.

The IAAF uses times recorded to one-hundredth of a second, with figures always rounded up. A spokesman for the IAAF said this was the first time a world record has been taken away days later because of a timing adjustment.

Understandably, Gatlin was unhappy with this turn of events. In a statement posted on the USA Track and Field website, he said, “It is very disappointing to me that it has taken five days to determine the official time of a race with this significance. I remain confident that I am the World’s Fastest Man and I look forward to proving it once again. My parents raised me to be a good sport but I don’t want to share the World Record.”

The 24-year-old Brooklyn, New York native is the reigning Olympic and World Champion in the 100.