As the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump is still being sorted out, a common theme keeps cropping up from all sides: “Democrats failed to understand white, working-class, fly-over America.” Trump supporters are saying this. Progressive pundits are saying this. Talking heads across all forms of the media are saying this. Even some Democratic leaders are saying this. It doesn’t matter how many people say it, it is complete bullshit. It is an intellectual/linguistic sleight of hand meant to throw attention away from the real problem. The real problem isn’t east coast elites who don’t understand or care about rural America. The real problem is rural America doesn’t understand the causes of their own situations and fears and they have shown no interest in finding out. They don’t want to know why they feel the way they do or why they are struggling because they don’t want to admit it is in large part because of choices they’ve made and horrible things they’ve allowed themselves to believe.
There something mentally unstable with people who worship guns. But okay, I suppose everyone’s got a fetish. If guns are your thing, have it at. But don’t act surprised when someone uses your fetish to murder innocent people.
To be clear: the madman who took aim at Republicans on a baseball field was pure evil. Plain and simple. And if he hadn’t been killed, he deserved to die. (I’m not a knee-jerk bleeding heart against the death penalty. That said, any potential death penalty case should be clear cut with irrefutable, iron-clad evidence, such as with this madman in Alexandria. Innocent people have been put to death. See, contrary to radical right-wing popular belief, liberals are not monolithic. Link provided so you can look it up.)
Neither guns nor evil are going to disappear. But after what happened in Alexandria, instead of addressing the proliferation of guns and evil, our elected officials and the media are telling us to watch our tone. That both sides must be more mindful and careful about how we disagree.
For this post, I had intended to briefly mention the 10-year anniversary of the Two Spoonsworld premiere in St. Petersburg, Florida, include a couple of pictures from the production, then hit publish. But as I continued writing, it became clear I had more to say, some demons to exorcise. And then the stream of consciousness, or subconsciousness, made me think about some of my experiences as a writer and producer. Below is the result.
Ten years ago, the first production of my play, Two Spoons, was produced by Gypsy Productions at the Suncoast Theatre in St. Petersburg, Florida. I had originally submitted a different play, Andrew Reaches the Other Side, to Gypsy a year earlier. Since Gypsy produced gay-themed plays, and the lead character in Andrew was a gay Buccaneers fan, I thought the play would go over well in the Tampa/St. Pete area. Continue reading “Two Spoons, Three Ways, in Three Years”
It happened on a Sunday in early 1997. Because of Bergen County’s blue laws that kept most stores closed, I had driven down to Wayne, NJ, to shop for some new music. I’d been going to Willowbrook Mall and the other area shops around Wayne for as long as I could remember. As a kid, my neighbor’s mom would take her two sons, my brother, Matt, and I—with our pockets full of quarters—to the video game arcade at the mall. Years later, while I attended nearby Montclair State College, I would often go with friends to eat, shop, hangout, or sing karaoke in a basement bar of one of the restaurants (Casey O’Tooles?).
But that Sunday in 1997, I had gone by myself to The Wiz (an electronics and music store near Willowbrook, but not in the mall) to search the rows of CDs for something new. At the end of one of those rows was a special display, a rack of CDs featuring local artists. And that’s when Fountains of Wayne’s self-titled debut album caught my eye.
The 59th Annual Grammys Awards are this weekend. Twenty-five years ago, I worked at the 34th Annual Grammys at Radio City Musical Hall. My friend, Christine, a fellow Montclair State alum, asked me, along with a bunch of other recent Communication Studies graduates, to volunteer as a talent escort and seat filler.
On February 25, 1992, we met at Radio City early, received an orientation, a tour of the hall, and our escort assignments. Some of us would escort performers. Some would escort presenters. Performers got dressing rooms. Presenters did not. I didn’t know if my nerves could manage a performer, which that year included Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, Mariah Carey, Luther Vandross, Bonnie Raitt, LL Cool J, Seal, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Johnny Mathis. Continue reading “Grace and Gross at the Grammys”
For the last forty years, I’ve been asked why and how I’m a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, especially being from New Jersey. I usually say the first football game I went to as a kid was a Giants/Buccaneers game. But I think I was already a fan by the time I went to that game. Truth is, the Bucs caught my eye the minute they entered the NFL in 1976, an expansion team along with the Seattle Seahawks–another team I root for.
I was eight years old when the Buccaneers completed their inaugural season with zero wins and fourteen losses. It’s when I must have developed a thing for losers and underdogs—I’m also a Mets fan. In 1977, the Bucs kept me engaged by losing the first twelve games of their second season. With twenty-six losses in a row, my devotion to them was cemented. Continue reading “A Bucs Fan For Life”