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The Evolutionary Perspective
Daily Archives: February 10, 2020
Posted: February 10, 2020 at 11:51 pm
Robert Conrad died at the age of 84. For most of us that grew up in analog America, Conrad was the quintessential model of the American Male. Whether he was playing super secret agent James West in Wild Wild West or 'Pappy Boyington in Ba Ba Black Sheep, Conrad command the screen. His career is well documented by our friends at Fox News.
I grew up watching the adventures of Conrad's character James West. He and his partner, Artemis Gordon traveled the country by train fighting bad guys in a combination Western/Sci Fi series. By the way, full disclosure they were both bachelors that loved chasing the women. West was the alpha who always got into trouble, but with the help of Gordan and his secret gadgets always beat the bad guys. You can get a vibe of the show here.
The world was simple and honest on television back then. It was good verses evil, right verses wrong. The men were masculine and heroic. Sadly, a show like Wild, Wild, West couldn't be made today. Too politically incorrect, too much toxic masculinity. (Whatever that means.) Here's a full episode.
Heroes were role models and the villains were sometimes comical. Robert Conrad became famous later in life by filming a battery commercial. It went viral before there was a thing as going viral.
Rest in Peace Robert Conrad...
Follow this link:
Remembering The Great Robert Conrad - KIDO Talk Radio
Posted: at 11:51 pm
Where have all the rock stars gone? That's a question asked with increasing urgency in the past few years. Pop and hip-hop icons have overshadowed the efforts of new and veteran rock acts, and if one takes a look at the Billboard Top 200, a majority of the scattered rock albums residing there are classic albums or greatest hits titles from the likes of Guns N' Roses, Queen, Creedence Clearwater Revival and AC/DC.
Perhaps theres no one to blame for this state of affairs more than the rockers themselves. It was the edgy, dangerous elements that originally made rock 'n roll so appealing, from inappropriate public behavior to verbally bashing politicians to actual activism. But when it comes to social issues, nonrockers are taking the reins, such as Lizzo confronting body image assumptions, country rapper Little Nas X challenging racist and homophobic attitudes, and Eminem drawing Secret Service scrutiny for anti-Trump lyrics. Mainstream rockers? Not so much.
The genre, and the historical moment, is all but screaming for the creative and political destruction of their landmark album, American Idiot.
As Green Day pondered on the song Somewhere Now from 2016s Revolution Radio: How did a life on the wild side ever get so dull? But that bout of self-reflection didnt lead the punk-revivalist rockers to return to their rowdy past on their new album, out Friday. The genre, and the historical moment, is all but screaming for the creative and political destruction of their landmark album, American Idiot. Instead, the most provocative part of the new offering is its profane title, Father of All Motherf------.
But how shocking are obscenities in an era when the president is known to use them. Musically, the albums approach of 10 songs spread out over 26 minutes is reminiscent of hardcore punk bands that roared through one- to two-minute anthems. Of course, Green Days music isnt hardcore punk, and these shorter tracks, ironically, play well in our Spotify era of short attention spans.
Father is essentially retro rock given an energetic Green Day facelift. The '70s glam stomp of Oh Yeah! samples Joan Jett's cover of Gary Glitter's Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah). (The band, aware of Glitter's numerous sex offender convictions, are wisely donating proceeds from that tune to sexual assault organizations.) The best cut, Stab You In the Heart, rocks like a '60s Merseybeat tune on steroids. Soul and Motown influences crop up. The hyperactive title track, which arguably cribs from Jimi Hendrix, even has lead singer Billie Joe Armstong performing a Jack White-like falsetto.
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Despite producer Butch Walker's overproduction threatening to crush the band's energy, Father is the bands most amped-up release in years, even if it is ruffling some fan feathers for being different and slicker. Change and rock make strange bedfellows. Many rock fans tolerate incremental change from their icons, yet complain if they stay on auto-pilot or change too much. And many aging rock fans are also more conservative than some thought, leading bands to tread cautiously today in politics.
So lets be honest: Father is a fun album. But is this the Green Day album we need? Their 2004 opus American Idiot, put out at the height of the Iraq War and President George W. Bushs power, possessed an insurgent spirit that acted as a middle finger to an irrational red state America. Yet 15 years later, with racism, political corruption and authoritarianism on the rise under the Trump administration, that critique is arguably needed more than ever and their new record avoids taking a similar approach.
In a recent interview, Armstrong remarked that the band is just not in that mode, even though many people probably expected an anti-Trump tirade on at least one of the tracks. Theres so much toxic s--- in the ether right now, Armstrong told Spin. I didnt want to write songs that would contribute to that.
Instead, Green Day wants us to get up and dance. The video for the title track intercuts band performance footage in front of a Jailhouse Rock-type backdrop with images of people of all ethnicities and genders from different time periods doing everything from twisting to moshing. Its a message of unity through music, which is admirable, but theres none of the heavy social commentary in American Idiot or its follow-up,21st Century Breakdown, both of them ambitious rock operas.
One can't necessarily fault Green Day; theyve arguably done their part. They even led a crowd chant of No Trump! No KKK! No Fascist USA! live on the 2016 American Music Awards. But if their time for questioning norms and the powers that be has passed, where are their mainstream rock heirs to pick up the mantle? Leftist agitators Rage Against the Machine are reuniting for a tour this year, but where are their successors?
In the late 1960s, American rock 'n roll found its mojo in pissing off conservatives by espousing sexual and chemical experimentation, challenging authority and protesting the Vietnam War. The Clash, Sex Pistols, Ramones and numerous '70s punk bands added gasoline to the fire with anarchistic intensity, though some of them later flamed out.
During the Reagan and Bush era of the 1980s through early 90s, a resurgent time of conservatism and uber patriotism, many artists continued to challenge the status quo. Even heavy metal got in on the act with bands like Anthrax, Queensryche and Megadeth, plus various underground thrash acts, making statements about the Cold War, social issues and political corruption.
But in the late 1980s came the buffoonery of hair bands, and with it, the ugly side of the rock paradigm emerged. Truth be told, many of those rockers had more in common with Wall Street brokers in their pursuit of hedonistic pleasures and big money. That type of hard rock ultimately ended up pissing off liberals who did not like its self-absorbed nonrebellion, while many of the elements that made rock 'n roll dangerous were things that became clichs and also politically incorrect.
Grunge and alt-rock in the early to mid-1990s did its part to reinvent the genre while espousing more inclusive messages. Green Days breakthrough album Dookieemerged in 1994. But in the latter half of the 90s, techno, teen pop and nu-metal took over. With the 2000s came the karaoke posturing of American Idol and a deluge of safer pop and rock artists.
We need rock stars with purpose again this time those willing to piss off or unsettle both sides of the aisle in their quest to express their truth. Partly, that should come through the message, and partly from the musical approach.
Solo artist and System of a Down singer Serj Tankian has been a lifelong musician and activist, so the combination is natural for him. A good love song can help change the world as much as a powerful political one," Tankian told me. "That said, when something is very obviously unjust and artists bypass it so as not to lose fans, I dont have any respect for that."
Many of the elements that made rock 'n roll dangerous were things that became clichs and also politically incorrect.
Gary Clark Jr., at 35, might be the best current model for the type of reinvention rock needs. An artist who straddles the blues and rock worlds, Clark's Grammy-winning single This Land thrives on the spirit of classic protest songs and was inspired by racist incidents he experienced in Texas. The song's chorus, an angry exchange between a racist and a black man defying him, should make any white person uncomfortable, even empathetic ones, especially if they attempt to sing along to the chorus in public.
Rock needs this type of renewed energy, and the younger, more diverse generation Clark represents. We need a new cohort of rock artists who are keenly aware of the huge stakes in what promises to be the most bitter and divisive presidential election cycle in modern American history. So we can respect the middle-age and elder statesmen like Green Day that are passing the torch to a new generation if that new generation is willing to set things ablaze.
Posted: at 11:51 pm
For the second year in a row, the Academy Awards will have no host, confirming that the Academy's attempt to cancel Kevin Hart has permanently backfired. If accepting the hosting gig ensures the woke mob will turn over every stone in your past to paint you as problematic, why would anyone want the job? It's likely that the Oscars will never gain a host again.
But if anyone can make us miss a specific host, it's Ricky Gervais. The comedian, fresh off of his expert excoriation of Hollywood during the Golden Globes, took to Twitter to share how he would start his opening monologue if tapped to host the Oscars.
Gervais already quit while he was ahead, announcing that this year's Golden Globes would be his last, and if the Academy couldn't stomach the slightly politically incorrect Hart, there's no way they'd let Gervais host the Oscars. But the Brit perfectly distilled how the only kind of humor that lands in our deeply unserious times is self-deprecating.
Consider, Oscar attendees are not only claiming that we're on the breach of the apocalypse because of the Orange Man in the Oval as they live in the best place in the best time in human history. They're sipping on Cristal and munching on caviar as they're doing it. No one, except for the left-wing presidential candidates they love, expects successful celebrities to resign themselves to asceticism, but a little self-awareness about plutocratic prosperity could help. And rather than wax on about wokeness and women not receiving enough Oscar nods, perhaps they could try a little penance for their protection of the Harvey Weinsteins of the world.
But of course, that would actually be entertainment, a commodity hard to find in Hollywood these days.
Could ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ win the Oscar for best picture? The case for Quentin Tarantino’s ode to Tinseltown – Omaha World-Herald
Posted: at 11:51 pm
Quentin Tarantino doesn't make traditional "Oscar movies." His nine films to date are filled with violence, cursing, politically incorrect observations, more violence, more cursing and a good deal of pulp. They tend to be angry, bloody affairs. Despite that, he's won two Academy Awards for best original screenplay. And this year presents his best chance to finally nab the top prize with his sentimental ode to the industry, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."
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The movie doesn't just depict the Hollywood of the 1960s, it downright glamorizes it. One sequence finds us at the Playboy Mansion, decked out for a party, as Steve McQueen smokes a joint and slyly watches Sharon Tate dance. Our characters drive down the Sunset Strip, visit the Spahn Movie Ranch and dine at El Coyote. The whole thing is a shot glass full of nostalgia for anyone who's spent time in Los Angeles, particularly during the latter half of last century (a number that includes many academy voters). It doesn't hurt that the movie is funny, well-crafted and, in a strange turn for the auteur, sweet.
Is that enough?
Total nominations: 10 (picture, director, actor, supporting actor, original screenplay, cinematography, sound mixing, sound editing, costume design, production design).
Synopsis: A washed-up actor (who lives next to Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate) and his stunt double stare down the end of their careers in 1969, as the Manson Family cult continues to grow.
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino.
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton, Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth and Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, with a supporting cast rounded out by Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Julia Butters and Bruce Dern.
Why it could win: The academy has a soft spot for movies that present Hollywood in a good light. Who doesn't enjoy a bit of self-adulation? In the past, we've seen films like "Argo" and "The Artist" earn the top prize against arguably better fare, probably because they bathe Tinseltown in a golden light. Well, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" does that and more, correcting a historical atrocity while romanticizing the movie industry of the 1960s. Toss in a few movie stars and killer soundtrack, and we've got a real contender on our hands.
Why it might not win: The movie ends with a quick but intense bout of pulpy violence, the kind generally found in the sort of genre fare that hasn't historically resonated with the academy. Such gore (along with a nearly comedic amount of strong language) isn't uncommon in Tarantino films, but it's also a major reason his movies tend not to earn best picture. Still, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" is arguably his warmest, most traditional film. Perhaps in this instance, nostalgia will outweigh the brutality.
EDITORS: This story is part of a series evaluating the chances of all nine best picture nominees.
Posted: at 11:51 pm
While skipping a host for the Oscars every once in a while is nothing new for the Academy, this year many are speculating that this will become the new norm after the second year in a row of not having a host, seeming to surface in the era of cancel culture.
In late 2018, comedian Kevin Hart publicly stated he would be hosting the 2019 Oscars; an announcement that triggered intense public scrutiny regarding homophobic jokes and tweets he had previously put forth.
While backlash against Hart came from all directions, a majority derived from social media platforms like Twitter. Although it is not a particularly new phenomenon as it has been particularly prevalent in the last five years, cancel culture was brought to the forefront of American pop culture after Harts canceling.
According to Vox, to be canceled is defined as being, culturally blocked from having a prominent public platform or career. Whether justified or not, it is evident that this was the intention of the public backlash as many fighting for social justice sought to tear down Harts career by resurfacing old instances of homophobia reflected in his style comedy.
After a back and forth of Hart refusing to apologize and claiming he had already adequately addressed his past comments, Hart ultimately stepped away from hosting the Oscars, citing the whirlwind of drama that followed him as the reasoning behind the decision, not wanting to be a distraction to the main purpose of the ceremony.
This opinion seemed to be shared by other celebrities, with Seth MacFarlane declining the offer to be Harts replacement in 2019. MacFarlane hosted in 2013, opening the ceremony with a skit that included a number called We Saw Your Boobs in which he named the various actresses who have appeared topless in their movies, effectively minimizing their performances in Oscar-nominated films to the fact that the audience saw their breasts.
Considering the Academy was already infamous for its lack of diversity, this host inflamed tensions by making the women in the room feel even more isolated and objectified. Although MacFarlane was accused of sexism and faced scrutiny for the manner in which he hosted the Oscars, he was asked to return six years later.
Perhaps this was out of desperation on the Academys part as they sought to quickly find a replacement for Kevin Hart. Regardless, MacFarlane pointed out that there would always be a target on the hosts back, no matter who was asked. Any celebrity that would agree to host would immediately be placed in the public eye to be scrutinized if they had made mistakes in the past.
More so than who hosts the Oscars (or if anyone even hosts at all), the larger issue at hand is cancel culture itself. Many find themselves asking what the purpose even issome view canceling as a tool to hold powerful figures accountable who, without extreme backlash from a public audience, would face little to no consequences for their actions, while on the other hand some view canceling as a toxic practice that impedes improvement without accounting for character development.
Those in favor of the practice cite the fact that it is necessary for powerful celebrities to face consequences for their words and actions, especially considering that most of the celebrities who have been canceled in the past few years have been only minimally impacted by it. A Time article mentions comedian Louis C.K. getting dropped by his agency, losing almost all of his career opportunities at the time, only to sell out extremely controversial shows a short time later.
While his career was temporarily affected by public backlash, it is clear C.K.s career did not and will not suffer in the long term, even considering the fact that he abused his power as a celebrity in order to take advantage of female comedians he worked with.
More of the same was seen with actress Gina Rodriguez, who was canceled after using the n-word in an Instagram story in October of 2019. While this caused some scandal for her in the short term as she has almost entirely disappeared from social media since, it is likely Rodriguez will continue with acting without long term repercussions to her career.
To some extent, it does feel unfair that celebrities can seemingly get away with hurting other people or making damaging and harmful statements, even after being canceled for a little while. At the same time, it is worrisome and perhaps detrimental that as a society, we perpetuate a culture of simply canceling someone instead of encouraging them to be better and holding them accountable in a constructive way.
Public outrage against celebrities is expected and perhaps even justified in some cases (especially in those like Louis C.K.s where there are nearly unforgivable atrocities that have been committed), but many disagree with and push back against this culture and acknowledge the fact that apologies should suffice for smaller missteps, that growth should be allowed for celebrities just as much as it is for the general public. Really, the only difference between them and us is every mistake they make is recorded and put on display for everyone to see and remember for years to come.
Both positions make sensecelebrities should absolutely be held accountable for their actions, but at the same time, they should be allowed to make amends when there is an opportunity for growth.
Though I disagree with Seth MacFarlanes approach to comedy as it appeared in the 2013 Oscars, it is true that whoever hosts the Oscars will have a target on their back. In general, celebrities should try to be better people and probably not seek out offending other people out of cruelty, nor should we want people who will attempt to make other people uncomfortable in a degrading way, but we should also give them the chance to be better.
At this point, with most celebrities having politically incorrect pasts (especially comedians,) it is unlikely there will be a host for a few more years. Hopefully in time we will be able to get to a place where we hold people accountable in a constructive way so that we can continue the tradition of great comedy at the Oscars instead of opting out of having a host at all.
Harvey Weinsteins First Witness Said The Dogpile Of Women Saying The Producer Allegedly Sexual Assaulted Them Was Hideous – BuzzFeed News
Posted: at 11:51 pm
A producer was called to the stand by Harvey Weinsteins lawyers to testify about his former friendship with Annabella Sciorra and then prosecutors used his own texts to reveal his close relationship with Weinstein.
Paul Feldsher, a New Yorkbased film producer, was called to tell the jury about how Sciorra allegedly told him about a consensual encounter she had with Weinstein. During his testimony on Thursday, prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon used Feldshers text messages to show that he and Weinstein were in frequent contact after allegations against the producer were made public in 2017.
Illuzzi-Orbon read out text messages Feldsher sent Weinstein alleging that the dogpile of women recalling repressed memories was hideous and telling him, until you are proven legally guilty, I will continue to be that politically incorrect person who defends you.
I had no idea that my text messages would end up in court, Feldsher said.
Feldsher was the first witness the defense called to testify after prosecutors rested their case Thursday morning. Feldsher said in court that Annabella Sciorra who testified earlier this month that Weinstein raped her had told him that she did a crazy thing with Harvey at some point in the early 1990s.
Feldsher testified that he assumed Sciorra was referring to fooling around with Weinstein.
As I recall if it had been something provocative or something that had frightened her, I cant imagine that it wouldnt have evoked something more, he said. There was no component of what she said that was shocking or stressful. Feldsher also said that he recalled Sciorra was taking Xanax and drinking alcohol a lot during that period of time.
Feldsher testified that Sciorra and he had been close friends three decades ago but under cross-examination, he revealed he did not know her friends and had never visited her Gramercy Park apartment.
We have not been in touch for seven years, but I still care about her, he said.
Things took a dramatic turn when Illuzzi-Orbon presented Feldsher with text messages that hed exchanged with Weinstein, including ones discussing Sciorra.
In one message, Feldsher described Weinstein as voracious when it came to a script, a movie or yes, a girl.
When Illuzzi-Orbon asked Feldsher what he meant by that, he described Weinstein as someone with extreme appetites and said he had a sex addiction.
I probably shouldnt have called him a sex addict, he later said.
Illuzzi-Orbon then presented texts between Feldsher and Weinstein where they discussed Sciorra.
Earlier this month, during her testimony, Sciorra read out a text message she received from Feldsher after she spoke publicly about her alleged abuse to the New Yorker. In the message, Feldsher said he was sorry about a bunch of stuff and that he Would love healing and peace, and friend back, I hope you are all well. Current events are way too much for text, but obviously acknowledge goes to that awfulness, X.
Around the same time, Feldsher texted Weinstein: I think shes full of shit.
I know you guys had an awkward whatever the fuck night twenty years ago, he wrote.
In another message to Weinstein, Feldsher called Sciorra as an asshole and said, The rape version got her an agent at CAA, so theres that.
Feldsher also texted Weinstein about other women who had said he had allegedly sexually assaulted them. I think the dogpile of women who are suddenly brave in recalling repressed memories is hideous, he wrote.
I was speaking to him partially because nobody else was, Feldsher said in court. I felt badly that he was completely abandoned. I felt bad that it would be difficult for him to be the recipient of due process.
Illuzzi-Orbon asked Feldsher if he was just saying what the defendant wanted to hear both in his text messages and in the courtroom.
No, Feldsher replied.
Illuzzi-Orbon then presented Feldsher with a final message this one from Weinstein to him. It simply read: I love u.
Posted: at 11:51 pm
There should be few complaints about the level of nastiness at Just for Laughs Nasty Show this summer. The festival has landed the grandfather of filth, Andrew Dice Clay, to appear at the 32nd Nasty Show series.
Just for Laughs will also bring back one of the best, brightest and most acerbic standups in the business, Bill Burr, who will take his act to the Bell Centre July 25.
And although he will perform after this summers fest, Just for Laughs and Evenko are presenting the ever politically incorrect Bill Maher on Aug. 30 at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier of Place des Arts.
In what should come as welcome news to fans, the Diceman has not mellowed at all over the years. He will be going full raunch in 11 Nasty Shows, starting July 15 at MTelus.
The festivals other big staple series, the Ethnic Show, returns for 19 performances, beginning July 8 and playing at Club Soda and MTelus.
Burr has been on a roll of late. In addition to his hit animated Netflix series F Is for Family, he just wrapped shooting on the Judd Apatow/Pete Davidson flick The King of Staten Island and has been selling out arenas everywhere, including Madison Square Garden. The brash Bostonian is particularly delighted with the play of his beloved Bruins and lack of same for our Habs.
Maher should also be quite fired up when he gets here. The Emmy-winning host of HBOs Real Time will have plenty of ammo with the U.S. presidential election looming in November. No pulling of his punches on the Trump front.
AT A GLANCE
Tickets for Bill Burr, the Ethnic Show and the Nasty Show, featuring Andrew Dice Clay, will be available Thursday at 9 a.m. at hahaha.com.
Tickets for Bill Maher are now available via Place des Arts: 514-842-2112 or placedesarts.com.
Posted: at 11:51 pm
Bad news for the president. Preliminary figures show the TV audience for the State of the Union (SotU) address Tuesday was down about 25% from 2019. What was lost to many was not what he said. Rather, it was how he said it.
Historically, a SotU speech has been boring. Previous presidents often had cabinet secretaries write sections of it. Thus it gave the country a look at what such diverse departments such as Defense, Commerce, Agriculture, Education, etc. thought had changed over the previous 12 months.
The Tuesday address created no such record. Rather it was a very well crafted campaign rally, complete with giveaways to critical constituencies and compelling personal emotional stories.
Story continues below video
Giving Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom is an example. Limbaugh has been a very successful radio shock jock, saying, among other politically incorrect and highly objectionable things about people of color, progressives and activist women, Theres a dog in the White House, while displaying a photo of President Bill Clintons 13-year-old daughter. But Limbaughs a human being, too, and sadly hes stricken with lung cancer. He made that grim announcement on Monday.
Limbaugh pretended to be surprised by the presentation, though he indicated in previous interviews that he knew it was coming. Ironically, Juan Guaido, the socialist claiming to be the legitimate president of Venezuela in a fight with its de-facto dictator, Nicolas Maduro, was also acknowledged.
There were other contrived scenarios that created a feel-good story just made for the television audience. Unlike the Congress assembled, after all, viewers can wander off to the fridge, the toilet or another channel if not sufficiently engaged by the presentation.
The president said things that were true, that were partly true, and that were blatantly false. He claimed credit for parental leave for women. That the bipartisan bill, which Congress passed in December, applies only to federal employees and increases the national debt by roughly $660 million a year, wasnt mentioned.
The president boasted of what he claimed were his successes. He turned the economy around and is determined to protect health insurance, he said. That the economy was growing faster under the previous administration and has, sadly, slowed since? That was ignored.
That his administration is currently in court seeking to destroy insurance coverage for pre-existing medical conditions? That ideological attack on the signature accomplishment of the Obama administration wasnt mentioned either.
The president claimed he has led the U.S. to be No. 1 in world oil and gas production. Actually, we became top in natural gas in 2009 and oil in 2013. The president then was Barack Obama.
Sadly, in my view, the president also resorted to again repeating the lie that immigrants are criminals. A number of studies show they commit crimes here at far lower rates than native-born Americans.
The giveaways? For the so-called pro-lifers he offered anti-abortion legislation. For evangelicals it was tax dollars for religious schools. That there are legal and constitutional problems with those promises was unmentioned. Perhaps thats because such mention wouldnt fit with the fictional, made for television, narrative the reality TV star was crafting.
That narrative was that hes the hero in the white hat who rides in to save us poor regular people from the pure evil that is his opposition. It will be well accepted by the significant minority of Americans who are his base.
Its sad that so much of what he said was either a bit of a stretch, greatly exaggerated, or just downright false, or, as he would tell us, Fake news! In the television business ratings are everything. That they dropped off so sharply Tuesday evening has to be a serious concern for the president. He won in 2016 even though 3 million more Americans voted for his opponent than for him.
The ratings drop may mean, of course, that his backers are so strongly on his side that they dont need to hear from him to know theyll vote for him. Given his weak popular vote support, though, and narrow support in certain critical states, he still must rely on swing voters to win again. If those folks contributed to the low ratings Tuesday, the presidents campaign could be in trouble.
The president has every right to craft the narrative he chooses. We citizens also have every right to regard that tale skeptically.
Dave Finkelnburg is a longtime Idahoan, a former newspaper journalist and is currently semi-retired from an engineering career.
Seeing (and sawing) through comfort zones with Fay Lovsky Jasper’s source for news, sports, arts, culture, and more – the fitzhugh
Posted: at 11:51 pm
Fay Lovsky performs Feb 8 and 9 from 7 p.m. at Habitat for the Arts. Tickets cost $20 and are available at Tekarra or at the door.| F.Dragon photo
Fay Lovsky doesnt mind if she makes you uncomfortable; a matter of fact, she thinks its one of the best ways to instigate thought. As a professional musician (bass, cello, saw, theremin, timple, xylophone, and percussion) from the Netherlands who now calls Jasper her second home, she translates her observations and interactions into quippy ditties. She spoke to The Fitzhughs Nicolle Hodges ahead of her upcoming solo shows at Habitat for the Arts, aptly named Politically Incorrect.
Fitzhugh: What is a theremin?
Fay: Its the first electronic instrument! It was invented by Lon Theremin. (It is controlled without physical contact).
Fitz: Is there a particular reason why youre drawn to this instrument?
Fay: It is unusual and fun. People always want to come up after a show and give it a go. You dont see it a lot. Its also a challenge and there arent many people who actually play it.
Fitz: And you play the saw too, is that exactly what it sounds like?
Fay: Yes. I was touring in the USA and had to go through security with my musical saw. Of course, they were suspicious. They didnt believe it was a musical instrument. So, I got it out, sat down at the airport, and played the American National Anthem. Then I noticed a sign that read If you are joking at the expense of security, you risk a fine of up to $1,200. I went home and wrote a song about that.
Fitz: You are from the Netherlands but you call Jasper home now?
Fay: I do. Isnt this beauty too much to take in?
Fitz: I feel like my heart is always exploding. Nature at this caliber really wakes you up.
Fay: And it makes you think about what were doing with the environment. Im currently working on a project about how landscapes affect your DNA. My grandmother is from the mountains and I always felt when I went somewhere with mountains, I was embraced. Its that feeling of Mother Earth heaving up so you can see her.
Fitz: Its so interesting to hear about the reasons why people are drawn to Jasper.
Fay: I believe that cities make you anonymous but this is a place where people say hello because they know each other. There is a philosopher that says communities should not exceed a few thousand because then you lose that sense of belonging.
Fitz: Reputation is as close as your shadow in a place like this too. How you behave ricochets off others and bounces back to you almost immediately. It really causes you to look at who you are, the small kindnesses and the bad habits.
Fay: People retreat to the shell of their comfort zones in big cities. Part of what I like to do with my shows is walk that thin line of entertaining songs that have matured badly over time and encouraging the freedom to speak freely in the prude world we live in today. There are shifting levels of social acceptability for lyrics and I find that incredibly interesting. I like lyrics that take things a bit too far but deep down it feels like a relief. If you mind your Ps and Qs all the time, you deprive yourself of your own observations.
Fitz: Your show is called Politically Incorrect so its pretty self-explanatory what people can expect?
Fay: Ill be telling stories and saying that its alright to think your thoughts, and its important that they dont fester in your mind and go unexpressed. The evenings will include my own songs and covers of songs that have an opinionated message, have stirred up controversy or been outright banned over the years since the 1950s. My goal is to offend everyone in the audience at least just a little bit.
Posted: at 11:51 pm
When funny people want to be funnier, they call Alan Zweibel.
A seasoned writer and comedian whose decades-long career has taken him from Long Island to Studio 8H in Rockefeller Plaza to Hollywood and beyond, Zweibel will be visiting the Madison Theatre at Molloy College in Rockville Centre on Feb. 14, along with some friends, to entertain audiences as he has for years.
Zweibel grew up in the Wantagh and Woodmere areas, and graduated from Hewlett High School in 1968. Shortly after graduating from the University of Buffalo in 1972, he began writing jokes for stand-up comedians, and in 1975 was enlisted by producer Lorne Michaels to join the staff of NBCs Saturday Night, later renamed Saturday Night Live.
Among Zweibelssketch comedy creations were John Belushis zealous samurai warrior and Gilda Radners Weekend Update favorites Emily Litella and Roseanne Roseannadanna. The actress remained a close friend, and Zweibel served as part of a team of writers on her Broadway show Gilda Live and its 1980 film, directed by Mike Nichols.
After Radners death from ovarian cancer in 1989, Zweibel enshrined their friendship in a 1994 book, Bunny, Bunny: Gilda Radner A Sort of Love Story. A stage adaptation, also written by Zweibel, premiered in Philadelphia in 1996, and the writer says he is interested in taking it Off-Broadway in the near future.
From what I can see, shes really reached this iconic status, Zweibel said. Its something she deserves.
Radner, he says, was Aunt Gilda to his children, and longtime friend Billy Crystal, with whom Zweibel co-wrote the Tony Award-winning stage show 700 Sundays, is Uncle Billy. Foulmouthed stand-up Gilbert Gottfried is the sweetest man ever, as is actor-dancer-singer-comedian Martin Short.
As of late, Zweibel has become a frequent face in documentaries, discussing his friendships with Radner in 2018s Love, Gilda, with Gottfried in 2017s Gilbert, and with comedian-actor Garry Shandling in 2018s The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling, directed by Judd Apatow.
Also among Zweibels writing credits are episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm, created by friend Larry David, Its Garry Shandlings Show, and the film Dragnet, co-written with Dan Aykroyd, as well as television specials for Paul Simon, Steve Martin and Jon Lovitz. For his work on SNL and the specials, Zweibel won five Emmy Awards for writing.
Not all of his projects resulted in raves, though. The 1994 film North, adapted for the screen by Zweibel from one of his own books, infamously drew the ire of the late film critic Roger Ebert, who wrote of the Rob Reiner-directed movie: I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it.
While the review stung at first, Zweibel says, he now carries a clipping of the zero-star Chicago Sun-Times review in his wallet, and has taken to reading it at his public appearances.
In recent years, Zweibel has focused on publishing, writing humor pieces for the New Yorker and Huffington Post. Hes also teamed up with humorist Dave Barry for the novel Lunatics, and with author Adam Mansbach for the childrens comedy book Benjamin Franklin: Huge Pain in My Mansback, Barry and Zweibel also collaborated on the parody book For This We Left Egypt? A Passover Haggadah for Jews and Those Who Love Them, published last year.
On Valentines Day, Zweibel will appear with comedians Lewis Black (The Daily Show, Inside Out) and John Fugelsang (Politically Incorrect). He met Black, he says, a few years ago at the National Comedy Center in upstate Jamestown, where they became fast friends. At a later Jamestown appearance, Fugelsang moderated a Q&A with Zweibel and Black, and they clicked.
We actually like being on stage with each other, Zweibel said.
Zweifel also says that no topics are off limits when theyre onstage.
The audience can expect us to talk about our careers, politics, whats going on in the world, Zweibel said. Hopefully theyll laugh, but we have no agenda laid out.
The months following February will see the release of Zweibels latest film project Here Today, due for release in the fall. Zweibel co-wrote the screenplay with director Crystal, who will co-star alongside comedienne Tiffany Haddish.
Also in 2020, Zweibel will be publishing a cultural memoir entitled Laugh Lines: My Life Helping Funny People Be Funnier, and will appear in Los Angeles with Larry David and at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan with Black to discuss the book.
The author, who lives in Short Hills, New Jersey, with his wife, says he intends to return to Long Island to promote the book.
I consider it home, Zweibel said.
Zweibel, Black and Fugelsang will appear at the Madison Theatre at Molloy College in Rockville Centre on Friday, Feb. 14, at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at https://madisontheatreny.org.
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The man who helps funny people be funnier - Entertainment - The Island Now