Own Your Rage

I think I know what’s on the minds of many of you.  There needs to be a purging of something deep inside you.  Not something bothering you about the political world, but something deeper.  The banal things that surround you.

Perhaps the Billy Joel etc. thread set this off, but I cannot fucking stand how fake people are totally running the world.  Pre-packaged crap dressed up as The Next Big Thing, corporate speak, routine, routine, routine — all to cover for loneliness, for inadequacy, for imperfection, for being a total fuck-up.  The money that is made, the women that are scored, the big money, fabulous prizes, power and control.

But that’s me.  If your fist could smash something, friends, what would it be?  Nothing profound like war or hate, you know.  The simpler things — the creepy guy on the bus, the ad in the window of the bank, the girl chatting away on the cell phone while walking into traffic. 

What’s that one nagging, annoying itch that you want to scratch with a tactical nuclear missile?  Dear friends: what’s pissing you off today?


My wife is addicted to it and I hate every one of the characters. A neutron bomb dropped on Albert Square would be just fine with me.

Axe commercials, the people that make them and the people that really believe them.

Sorry, fancy pants spray isn’t going to cover up one’s failings or inadequacies. Honestly, if one believes that Axe will help one get laid by supermodels then one has more problems then just smelling bad.

Tee-shirts with the word “princess” (or like language) worn on them, when worn by snotty little girls, of all ages.

Lord help me, I saw an eight-year-old girl with a tee-shirt saying “treat me like a princess,” and I suddenly had a wish for a billy club and full-on, law of the jungle license to deploy it on the mom who bought shelled out $15 to buy it for her. Seriously.

There’s a press person I have to deal with fairly regularly because he works for the sheriff’s department in one of the counties I cover. He is AWFUL at his job. He’s former on-air “talent” and has the arrogance of such, which makes him a prick. This makes his tendency to release press info at 4:50 PM (ten minutes before the news starts) even more maddening.

There is nothing so annoying as the person who’s bad at their job and also has an obnoxious personality to go with it. He gets loaded right into the catapult and launched.

Whatever it is that keeps me from truly excelling.

Ubiquitous Obamafied posters.
Like this is some really great clever unique idea to Obamify my kid or my dog or my dick and this is something that no one else has ever thought of.

Actually – now that I think about it – it would be cool to get an Obamafied poster of my dick. Later.

Movie ads (print or TV) with blurbs that insert exclamation points, when there were none in the original.

And, in a similar vein: Eddie Murphy. Disseminating unadultered crap and scoring a nine-figure box office. Motherfucker.

@ManchuCandidate: by similar extension, I’d also go with ads by most beer and liquor companies. They really do think men are all morons.

@chicago bureau: I really do feel a need to question parents who buy shirts like that for their kids with the good end of a hockey stick.

I just put in a 12 hour day at the office, yet somewhat surprisingly, I’ve no axes to grind.

(bracing for impact)

And I’m no Billy Joel fan, but “Big Man on Mulberry Street” is one of my favorite songs of all time. Perhaps my memory is colored by this superb performance by the divine Sandahl Bergman, whose dancing is simply sublime.


And yes, Benedick, you may now blast me with both barrels.

@chicago bureau: Sorry my Billy Joel rant set you off, but it had to be said. As for what’s pissing me off today, probably Antonia Novello. But that’s a tale for tomorrow.

blogenfreude: No joke: I was immersed in Billy Joel at home when I was a mere cubicle. My mom, I firmly believe, at some point wanted me to be him. So no fault to you.

I’ve always been amazed by choreographed dancing. The self-discipline, years of training and physical control required is truly one of the most amazing things about the human body. Not to mention the memory and practice needed to remember all the steps! Maybe I’m just especially uncoordinated—I’d flunk the Texas Two-Step. But what I wouldn’t give to be able to move like that for even one day…

tj/”How it Was: The Shooting of Ronald Reagan”, Tuesday on the National Geographic channel. Live blog, drinks, fond reminences . . .

Oh CB, this is the perfect thread for me because I just posted something on Facebook about I fucking hate this stupid commercial for Golden Corral. It is on every commercial break during the Australian Open coverage. Every Grand Slam tournament there is always one overkill commercial, and I fear this one will be (oh fuck, it is on AGAIN RIGHT NOW!!!!) the one of this year’s Australian.

Also annoying me today is one hella strong ocular migraine.

When I am mindful, I forgive all people their foibles, so I can’t honestly gripe about people who take 5 minutes to pay for their groceries, or block the aisle, or who drive badly, or even those who shout into theoir cell phones, no matter where they are, even that I forgive when I am mindful, though I may get enraged in a mindless moment. I try to cultivate peace, when I am delayed by a slow person, I always think, its not this person’s fault I am annoyed, it is the fault of the frenetic fucking american lifestyle that I am not enjoying tarrying on my errands and talking with people and generally taking life a bit slower.

I don’t care about cheap beer companies telling me the Swedish Bikini team will fuck me if I drink their beer. meh. Good for them, good for them whats believe it.

I am annoyed by talentless, completely, utterly talentless, celebrities, but only because the current system in which the media conglomerates decide who will be stars and then just focus all on them, rather than taking chances on new artists, the way the system no is monopolized by “stars” who are just brands, like Britney Spears and Madonna, every schlock piece of shit that they put out, it steals opportunity and time from anyone and everyone else out there trying to get an audience for their talent. The Disney-ification of Broadway, also.

I am annoyed by Tom Cruise.

Thats all I can think of, other than the obvious, injustice, misery, poverty, pain.

I do hate the commercial about the Amish-built fireplace mantles that come with a free heater in them, but the Amish have limited this offer to 2 per family. I want to go to the home of the owner of that company and burn it down.

Oh, I don’t know if you want to get me started on this. I am on a fucking rage tonight.

1. Every fucking moron who voted for Prop. 13 in the ’70s, which is the root of the California budget clusterfuck which threatens the livelihood of Mr. SFL, and the programs on which my clients rely.

2. Bernie Madoff and all the other Wall Street/hedge fund douche bags who robbed us blind and built an economy on sand resulting in major financial meltdown, and more personally, decimation of foundations and charities.

3. Me, for stupidly taking a job that supposedly gives me personal satisfaction but no salary and that doesn’t cover my share of the mortgage and student loans, let alone what happens when/if Mr. SFL loses his job and I’m supposed to support both of us.

4. Every fucking asshole wanker living in a fucking McMansion or drives an overpriced SUV or who has 3 kids who they can’t support in who knows what bland-ass white suburb where everyone is completely overextended, and I am now expected to bail their retard asses out when silly me was responsible and (a) who doesn’t breed or adopt children she can’t afford; (b) who doesn’t buy a house she can’t afford and instead lives in 400 square feet that is more like a boat than a home; (c) who sinks 15% of her salary into her retirement and savings; (d) who actually has her husband begging her to spend money on a haircut and undergarments due to her frugality; (e) pays her credit card in full every month, even when her employer takes 2-3 weeks to reimburse her expenses with no explanation as to why.

5. The fact that I make less than two coworkers (both with less education and one with less years work experience) who come in to the office from 11-3 every day.

Okay, that’s enough. I have to go back to doing work, and maybe get myself another glass of wine.

@SanFranLefty: I think you need to put on your special headband and sing a few rounds of ‘na na na na’.


Ahh, sweet of you to say. But true to my form, I left my special sparkly inaugural headband in DC for my little friend who is the 5 year old daughter of the friends I stayed with. I spoil my friends’ kids rotten, I am everyone’s favorite Tia/Auntie/Godmother because I talk to kids like they are adults, always treat them with respect, laugh at their fart and burp jokes, and buy them funny t-shirts and sparkly tiaras and wands (the latter two regardless of gender, naturally), and of course give them lots of hugs and never tire of playing games with them.

All that said, thinking about the Unicorn being in charge of shit and Shrub sucking down a bottle of bourbon in Dallas doesn’t help a lot of my issues.

I forgot this one, and the cause of tonight’s ulcer and alcohol consumption:

6. My duties on my condo association dealing with the psycho drama queen trustafarian who is also my next door neighbor. This bitch consumes all of my spare time and I have devoted countless hours of pro bono legal work in dealing with him and researching California property law.


Don’t forget bosses who get in after you do, take two-hour “working lunches,” then sail outta the office at 3:58 yet demand constant updates on every single thing that you’re working on.

Reality TV. We all thought it was going to go the way of all fads. Nope.

@SanFranLefty: Do I need to fly to Ess Eff and throw down with this queen?

I’m pretty blissed out by the amazing chocolate hazelnut milkshake I had for lunch, but I’m still mad that a transgender friend may be denied reappointment to her tenure track position because people who don’t like her “lifestyle choices” are blackballing her. Other profs get credit for coaching little league or organizing blood drives at their church, but her two books don’t count? Please.

@homofascist: Yes, please. Because I would have so much fun as your faithful fag hag in Ess Eff. Rptrcub can attest that I didn’t tag along but I put him on the right path for a good time in my city.

@Mistress Cynica: Ahh, fuckin’ A, why does this shit still go on? I live in such a bizarre bubble, I don’t understand how crap like that goes on, and then I venture into “real ‘merika” where Sarah Palin lives and apparently my mere existence is an affront to their way of life. Except for the fact that my pro-choice, educated tax dollars subsidize their poor life decisions.

@homofascist: Dokic is now suddenly “Orstrayan” (Australian) again now she has ‘battled’ her way into the 1/4 finals… ohhh I hate the Australian meeja. (Media)

I cannot help but think of Dmir “Beard of Bees” Dokic whenever her name is mentioned.

@SanFranLefty: There’s a certain class of asshole that loves litgation. It’s like a sport or hobby for some wealthy shitheads around here.

@redmanlaw: Yes, or for non-working trustfund-babies/rich people filled with insane entitlement who have nothing to amuse themselves with but to plan for Burning Man six months in advance and/or find new ways to create drama in their lives by antagonizing those around them. Then there’s the rest of us, who live in this little thing called REALITY.

TJ: Fuck.Me.

Unicorn and Pelosi to throw women and family planning funds for the poor under the fucking bus for Wall Street bail out. Uhh, money for birth control pills and pap smears saves money because then we don’t have to spend millions on welfare and foster care for unwanted children and completely treatable STDs.

@CheapBoy: Her performance, even on this side of the world, is pretty amazing. I have always liked her, mostly because I loved when she smacked down Hingis in the 1st round of Wimbledon in 1999 (if you need any proof of what a freakin’ tennis geek I am, I knew that off the top of my head).

@SanFranLefty: Well fine. Just lovely. Good thing it’s time for my xanax.

@SanFranLefty: House Democrats are likely to jettison family planning funds for the low-income from an $825 billion economic stimulus bill, officials said late Monday, following a personal appeal from President Barack Obama at a time the administration is courting Republican critics of the legislation.

And how well is that working out?

I appreciate the intention behind Barry’s crusade for Bipartisan Style Points, but as long as the Repugs are acting like Cartman, he needs to treat them like a dog whisperer. At least Bubba had the cojones to call them on their government-shutdown antics.

@nojo: Environmental protections next under the bus. D.C. and Sacramento. I’m sick of the term “shovel-ready” except that it makes me think of the quicksand/shovel scene in “Blazing Saddles.”

SFL, you have hit the wall, stoicism has its limits, you have put up with it all and have had enough, huh? I am sorry. I have no answer, except anti-depressants and martinis.

I think the family plannning funding in the bailout bill was sacrificial, it was like a red cape to the republican Bull, it distracts them as only protecting the baby fetuses for Jesus and keeping their daughters virgins can, and now they think they have won a great victory, have flexed their muscles and won a great victory, and they will let the rest of the bill pass. And soon enough Nancy will get back to the family planning and take care of that.

@Prommie: They must have more childrens in order to create a Soylent Green situation. More food.

The overuse of “enterprise” and “going forward” among government policy makers. This isn’t the pvt. sector folks, and never will be. Don’t pretend it is, m’kay?

@Original Andrew: Thank you thank you thank you for that! I’d never seen it. She was a Fosse dancer, if I remember aright, and labored in the salt mines of Broadway for quite a while. And isn’t Bruce smashing!!! Oh why oh why did he stop working in the theatre? He was in the original (gorgeous) production of Fool For Love. And what a good song that is. I’m not at all sure why everyone is quite so down on Billy J.

Couldn’t agree more about dancing. I trained a bit when I was young in London so I could be in a musical without humiliating myself. No one can dance like Americans. They are peerless. I was in the original company of Crazy For You which was a big old-fashioned Broadway smash and more fun than I could ever say. One of the great treats was to work with crack dancers and choreographer (Susan Stroman) on some of the best American pop music ever written. Seeing them dance I Got Rhythm for the first time, tapping on a corrugated iron roof, dancing on steel mining pans was a great thrill. Though I mock them I’m filled with admiration for dancers and when, from time to time, I get to be in a big dancing musical, I love to watch them work. I get gobsmacked watching them pick up complex steps almost instantly – experience and training – and get quite indignant when they are treated less than well by management. (don’t know how much you all know about the business end of the theatre so forgive me if I’m telling you stuff you know but on Broadway and other big productions the dancers are on a different contract, a chorus contract, that means they are paid less and have fewer perks like dressing rooms, etc). We rehearsed Crazy For You in New York for 6 weeks before going to DC. At the end of the 5th week we did the first put-together of the whole show. Then we had a day off. We came back for the final week, which is usually spent polishing, to find that the director was throwing out the second act (which included a very elaborate, and not very good ‘ballet’) and starting from scratch. The dancers learned maybe four big new numbers in five days, including Stiff Upper Lip which I got to be in (playing an eccentric English tourist). We got it done and went to DC for the tech (10 days) in fine shape. I still get choked up when I think of our sitz probe when we all got to hear the orchestra for the first time (Brilliant arranger, Bill Brohn, an American treasure as is the conductor, Paul Gemignani) and everyone stood around weeping, feeling certain we were in a very big hit. Then seeing everything on the stage for the first time and watching the agony caused by cutting what was perhaps the most exciting music in the show buried in a number that just didn’t work. And so on…

Just being around all those supremely talented men and women (women who could jump backwards and turn in the air wearing 3 inch heels while tap-dancing) was one of the great adrenaline rushes of my life. And being in the curtain call, when the hall company got in a line across the stage and started to down dance down at the audience with the orchestra thundering at our feet and the audience jumping up, screaming… well. Once in a lifetime.

When it really works, the theatre is like an ideal community. You see human beings doing human things superbly well. I mourn the loss of what’s real and human in all the big mechanical shows that are about sets or effects. But I count myself among the most fortunate that I got to work with those people a few times.

What a long post. Hope not too boring. I’ve come over all nostalgic and will now go play the CD.

Hope we all get to do something that makes all the shit worthwhile every few years.

@Benedick: A fantastic post, thank you. This – When it really works, the theatre is like an ideal community. You see human beings doing human things superbly well. – could describe Sport, as well.

When done right, playing improvised music is like communicating in another language where thoughts are formed in the air above one’s head.

@redmanlaw: I still remember the first night I heard Coltrane. Oh. My. Fucking. God. Once you understand the language, a new world opens up.

@nojo: 50 year anniversary of Kind of Blue this year

@Benedick: Wow, nice inside baseball account. @nabisco: I always wondered why the arts weren’t covered like wrestling. The raging egos. The monstrous physical pain endured, say, in ballet. The fucking soul-crushing madness of the big thematic climaxes. The poisonous professional rivalries. The bone-crushing conflicts about interpretation of historical literature. Wild stuff. I watch sports besides baseball and, eh, yeah, OK, tell me when someone breaks someone’s face. I go to symphony and it’s really hard not to stand on the chair and start screaming during the big moments.

@Benedick: Now, I have gone off to see some classics (Martha Graham’s work with Copeland) and some newer stuff (Mark Morris). Enjoyed it all but was struck about what notation system is used to archive the steps, formations and individual movements in synchronization with the musical accompaniment. I can go out and buy the score of Appalachian Spring. Or if it’s rental-only have it here tomorrow. Is there such a thing as a choreography score or are all the dance movements held as folklorish knowledge to be passed down from choreographer to choreographer?

@nojo: The GOP needs to be treated like the plague carriers they are. Piled high and set aflame. Appeasing these psychopaths will only lead to more destruction.

@FlyingChainSaw: Yes, there is a dance notation. I forget what it’s called. But I’ve seen it used. However, I think dances are still mostly handed on one person to another. For example, for Jerome Robbins’ Broadway a search went out for dancers who’d been in the original pieces to help re-create numbers. Graham’s dancers hand on her work. When a show is being done the choreographer has an assistant who works first on pre-production to get a basic vocabulary of steps and to outline the dances and then, if the show is a success, will teach it to new performers going into the original production or, if it’s a second or third company, will do most of the work of recreating the choreography.

I don’t know if this is true but I suspect that the dance notation – Laban Notation! thank you google – is mostly used to copyright a work. If a choreographer videos a work he or she cannot use it to teach new people. Can’t even show it to them. Union rule.

@nabisco: Yes, exactly like sport. Without the competition.

The clashing ego stuff is mostly folklore, at least as far as the theatre is concerned. There is really no room for it and too little work about. This is particularly true in the US. When people get a job they work very hard to do well and to get on with everybody. Also, there’s no time. We have far too little rehearsal time, and there’s going to be even less of it in the future. In my experience the only people now who have those big egos are the managers and producers – because they control the money. And even there it’s by no means the rule. But the performers on the whole are generous and respectful of each other’s work.

You do need a certain amount of ego to be able to walk out on a stage in front of however many people (I once played the St Louis MUNI: seven thousand people in the audience! Now that’s sport.) and perform. So you need a certain amount of courage. No actor worth his or her salt has any confidence, however.

@FlyingChainSaw: @Benedick: Labanotation is used to document choreography. My alma mater offered courses in it.

ADD: read all of Benedick’s post. Never mind.

@Mistress Cynica: Wild. Does it include a score reduction on some kind of dance grande staff with the music? I mean in situations in which dancers are trading figures with the orchestra, they are arguably functioning as battery percussionists. And having sets hit in synchronization with the score is key. How that is all kept together – and cofidied – must require a robust system. @Benedick: Really, OK, can’t use video to teach people and no one uses laban notation, wow, this is really an art dependent on folklorish transmission. Nice in a way. Must be one of the last of the apprenticing arts and skills in that way.

@FlyingChainSaw: The Mistress of Cynicsm might know this better but as I remember (years ago I worked as an assistant director on a big musical with a brilliant choreographer who used the notation for reference) it is done with a basic mark for the body and then the arms and legs. God knows how. If you want to know more you can google, Laban Notation has its own website. It’s not tied to the music, so far as I know. Dancers use a count of eight as the basic unit of dancing – unless that’s only musical type dancing. Chorus Line begins memorably with the choreographer counting the bar “… Again! five, six, seven, eight.

All Sing: God! I hope I get it!
I hope I get it!
How many people does he need…?

The tradition of the theatre is not generally known. But it is entirely transmitted, generation to generation. It both moves me and gives me a great sense of privilege when I stop to think about it. EG, some years ago I was in an English sex farce being produced in Boston. Now I adore sex farces. When they’re good there’s nothing more satisfying to act. Judging a laugh is exactly as I imagine hitting a ball with a bat: you feel it connect, and if you judge it nicely you feel it crack and zoom out the park. It is heaven. However, the director came from the mother country and at one rehearsal started to teach me how to yip a laugh: a technique to control the audience so you can land a laugh as already described. And I had a sudden image of two actors on a church porch in Chaucer’s day and one says to the other “Then you go yip and I go gobsmack,” and doing all the same things we do now.

On the opening night on Broadway, the senior, or most respected member of the chorus, will receive the current gypsy robe which will have been sent on from the last show to open. He or she will wear it and parade it around the stage so all the cast can come down from their dressing-rooms to see. Then it’s taken to the wardrobe who will add the decoration celebrating that show and they will send it on in turn to the next show to open. They are very elaborate and often quite amazing to see. There are some fiercely clever and talented people working backstage.

@Benedick: Eight? That’s it? It assumes some kind of binary time signature? Something that resolves to four or eight. Primitive stuff. I mean, I can point you to a recording of the 13th place drum corps from 1974 and they marched in 4 against 5/8, resolving to 1 simultaneously like only every 13th bar of written music. It’s not unusual to see corps marching in compound signatures or against them in the most primitive note specie of the compounded meter – or playing off sections of the ensemble in different meters (some in marching to quarter notes while others to eigths) to effect apparent movement at different velocities.

Wow. You really are a guildsman, a member of an Artisan Order. No one can look this stuff up. You have to belong to the Order. It’s good to know the human being still have these kinds of tribes.

Hey, you’re not counter-zooing me with the gypsy robe story, are you? I mean, the Inaugural Pestoring Rite and the IPR Table really is an American tradition you should tell all your friends and relatives about in the old country.

Hey, is this lowbrow little epiphany I am having tonight of any worth? I started watching an instant download movie on Netflix, “Lets Make Love,” with Marilyn Monroe and Yves Montand. Its a backstage-showbiz story, and a musical romantic comedy.

Marilyn Monroe was a walking miracle of sex appeal, and a real woman, she was no waif.

I am struck by the conventions of dealing with sex, there are constant double entendres that are really quite filthy. The ban on nudity seemed to have a huge loophole in those days, this was 1960, and the loophole was that any fabric covering, no matter how filmy and translucent, counted as clothing, no matter how revealing. Marilyn spends a lot of time in what I can only describe as panty hose that go up to the chest, there is nothing left to the imagination (for that matter, in Some Like It Hot, when she sings “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,” tell me you can’t see her nipples).

I am completely charmed by this schlock.


I think “panty hose that go up to the chest” is better known as a bodysuit. Are the double entendres witty in the British way, or are they crass?

@FlyingChainSaw: No that’s all true. There are many more rites and traditions, too. that’s one of the most charming. The robes are stored at the Actors’ Equity offices on 46th St.

As for the counting, they work in multiples of eight. They talk about going from the fourth eight, for example. Even in waltz time, they’re counting in eights though the counts might go across the rhythm.

@Promnight: She escaped me. There’s something really tiresome about her. I’m more of a Rita Hayworth man myself. I thought she was the real deal. The movie that does backstage and the life of the theatre best, in my opinion, is Topsy Turvey. I know it’s a different era and stuff but it really is like the theatre.

@SanFranLefty: They are both, and even for the “crass,” they may have been crass at the time, but the fact of their necessity, looking back at that time, and how much fun they are, makes them charming and fascinating, and intellectually, there is the interest of seeing the norms in acceptable discourse at that time, compared with today, but also seeing the absolute identical facets of human nature, just being displayed in different ways. You know what I mean? Like, they could not openly speak of sex, but boy, they sure did invent a whole language, a code, of double entendres and other euphemisms, which they used to express exactly the same sexuality as people today.

@Benedick: I admire MM only because I set such a low standard for her. She is better than reputed. Not great, but good.

To me, Lauren Bacall, at what, 18 years old, saying “you know how to whistle, don’t you,” is the sexiest moment of all time. I think some men are attracted to helplessness and worship in a woman. They love Marilyn. But some men are attracted to a spirit, a force, an equal, a mind and spirit that will challenge and complement.

For pure phsyical sexuality, and not all that passive, either, Marilyn is supreme. But no, its not my cup of tea either, I just appreciate her stature in that area of appreciation. I actually, on the whole, judge women to be the better sex, actually superior to men, slightly, so no, I am not looking for a woman who is really just a comforting fantasy for dudes who need to feel superior.

MM: No.
Bacall: Yes.
Rita Cansino (Hayworth): Yes.
Ginger Rogers: Yes.

@Benedick: That’s amazing. That’s a photo feature book if I’ve ever heard of one. Really, it should be curated at least photographically. How far back do they go in history?

Wild. I guess they assume dancers don’t read music and went with the most practical note specie. It leaves out a lot of opportunities to map step with exact place in music and understand your place in both continuums. In your example, the counted bars would resolve at the beginning of every fourth bar of a counted set of eigths, for example, which would make it hard to have a shared sense of the meter’s shape with the orchestra, anyway.

@FlyingChainSaw: As to counts: understand I’m an amateur. I only dance with the halt and the lame: ie. the character actors. Though I have tapped in my time when I was in the national tour of Me and My Girl. Or as it’s fondly known among its many graduates, Yo Y Mi Chica. When dances are being staged, the choreographer works with a dance arranger. This is a different person from the ‘arranger’. Understand that the composer does not arrange the music. No, not even Sondheim. None of them do. The DA takes themes from the score and expands on them to suit the dances. So the choreographer will ask for music to accommodate the dance. Think King and I, choreographed by Jerome Robbins. In my estimation, the Entrance of the Siamese Children (sic) is one of the great moments of American musical theatre. Musicals are very limited in what they can do: they can’t develop a moral argument, for example. Opera can, but not musicals. They are not built on nuance: the music itself can’t be that complex. It must be comprehensible at first hearing. As the great choreographer Danny Daniels would say: “Play the goddam tune!” In the entrance of the children, everything comes together, steps, music, story, design (clothes by the peerless Irene Sharaff), performance, acting: to make a moment that makes the heart lift into musical land. But Richard Rogers did not write that music: the dance arranger did, under the instruction of J Robbins. Then the ‘Arranger’ takes the piano part created in the dance room and blows it into a full orchestral version. And that’s what you hear in the theatre.

As to the Robe: I know. There was an exhibit at Lincoln Center (please!) some years ago. But it’s unknown. And I don’t know how far back they go. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. There is also the Easter Bonnet and Gypsy of the Year. These are without doubt the most remarkable events on Broadway. Every year the current Broadway shows will participate. Easter Bonnet began in the wardrobe of La Cage Aux Folles. The boys got together to raise a few bucks for Broadway Cares, an organization to provide assistance to their friends who were dying from AIDS. This has grown into an annual extravaganza that is just about the best ticket in town. Each show contributes a ‘bonnet’ and builds a number around it based on that particular show. When I was with Crazy For You I devised a number in which we all threw into a hat the names of those we loved who had died while Jodi Benson sang They Can’t Take That Away From Me. Then in the Fall, there is Gypsy of the Year which is much more free-form. Each show concocts a number to display its best talent.

I tried to get the person at Equity who runs these events to let me get a documentary film maker involved. But he got all huffy with me and I got nowhere. But it should be recorded. Tradition, so far as plays are concerned, is almost dead on Broadway. But it’s vibrantly alive in musicals. You must understand: the period of the classic American musical, 30s, 40s, 50s, saw an explosion of talent not seen since the Renaissance.

As for dancers reading music: dancers can do anything. They are athletes with soul and artistry. Their lives (working) are short and they are treated like shit. They are beauty and strength. Too often they’re submerged under great piles of kitsch. But when you see them do what they can do..!

You see the body electric.

@Benedick: This arranging process, is this what is depicted in some detail in All That Jazz?

@Promnight: haven’t seen it since it was new and don’t remember. Fosse was a great choreographer. Also great dancer: see Kiss Me Kate among others. Le sexy hot.

@Benedick: Dance Arranger. fascinating. I wonder if Leonard Bernstein picked up the DA’s orchestrations for his West Side Story Symphonic Dances.

@FlyingChainSaw: Bernstein did not arrange the music for WSS. The ‘Symphonic’ arrangements are by B and his orchestrator. This is not unusual. Lehar did the same. As did Coward, Lowe, Rogers, Porter.

Company. Sondheim, Staged by Michael Bennet (Genius!!!!) The way the play is put on the stage defines the play. Music. Dance. Story.

God, I have a thing for Bernstein. He was a gorgeous man with just an amazing way about him. So sexy. So alive! I saw a special about him on American Masters, and I fell in love. I’m not well versed in theater or classical music, but I own a Bernstein Beethoven CD, and I love it.

@JNOV: Hey Sweetheart.

B was a remarkable man. Torn apart by the need to be a ‘serious’ composer. He wrote much that will endure.

@Benedick: In All That Jazz, the fosse character would be in a room with the dancers, and a piano player, and someone I think was the original composer of the tune. He would bring out the dancers, and start working with the piano player, telling him “slow this part down, emphasize this,” and it would be working with what he had worked out for the dancers, but it completely changed the mood and tone of the original tune, and the guy I think was the original composer would be having quiet conniptions, smacking his head, covering his ears, and at the end, having watched what the Fosse character did with the tune and the dance number he had created around the altered music, and the composer, I think, looks up, in despair, and forced recognition, and says “its brilliant, you bastard.”

I am sure there is a lot of Fosse’s ego in that scene, but your description of the process so brought it back to my mind. I love the “backstage” shows, shows about shows and the performers in shows, even though I have never seen the biggest example of the genre, Chorus Line.

I thought it was sweet, too, the little subplot in All That Jazz, about the mediocre dancer he puts on the cast just so he can screw her, but then, he does have a loyalty, having given her the break, he works with her and pushes her and makes her live up to the opportunity he had given her. Hey, you cannot hate her, a break is a break, and he didn’t have to do that. I thought, anyway, maybe I just bought into Fosse’s attempt at justifying his behavior.

@Promnight: What isn’t true about All That Jizz is the idea that work is being done. The movie plays into the silliest stereotypes. I don’t know why that is. Fosse knew better but maybe the studio didn’t. He was a remarkable talent but Bennet was a genius.

@Promnight: I don’t think he cared. He fucked whatever he could. All That Jizz is a pale reflection of Fosse’s real work.

@Benedick: Ah, who doesn’t fuck whoever they can? Different people have different judgments about who they “can” fuck, while still maintaining their own code of morals.

The weight, the history, the societal judgments, the baggage of victorian prudishness, the sexism that still sends the message that “good girls don’t,” the guilt, all these artificial things that have become entangled in the simple physical act, these things, they are the cause of all the illnesses, pathologies, the sins, in the area of sexual behavior. Sex fucks so many people up, becomes their downfall, because our society has fucked up, conflicting, strange and impossible judgments, expectations, mores, about sex.

Its impossible to navigate this mess and come to a way of living that comports completely with what our society tells us should be our sexual existence. Our society simultaneously worships, values, and encourages, both promiscuity and virginity, in varying degrees depending on your gender. That one first basic conflict is enough to fuck up 90% of us and make a normal sex life, conforming to both what we do and what we feel is what should be done, impossible.

And beyond that one there are a dozen more conflicting messages. The homoeroticism that is so so evident in the culture of sport and macho, among football players and fraternity men, is shocking. These are subcultures in which the love and respect of other men is so so much more important than the love and respect of women, its crazy. These people do not love women, they regard sex with women as, foremost, a way to gain prestige among their male friends. Thats not heterosexual, thats someone who is more concerned with his same sex peer group than with women or sex itself.

Does anyone else see that conflict, how twisted our society is?

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