Media Morsels 6.4.10


  • Joke of the Week
    Bill Maher made the following joke on his show last Friday and, as it tickled me all through the week, I couldn’t resist sharing it with you: “I must be wearing orthopedic shoes because I stand corrected.” Thank you, Bill Maher! Share your favorite (particularly cheesy and/or punny) jokes in the comments section, below.


  • Wu Tang Clan May Come to Broadway
    That's not a joke. Broadway.com is reporting that RZA recently said he wanted to bring a Wu Tang album to the Great White Way within the next five years. I'm at a loss for words with this one - consider yourself warned.


  • Time to Scrub Up for off-Broadway
    Scrubs star, and Sidney Crosby look-alike, Zach Braff will return to the stage when he joins the ever talented Sutton Foster in the world premiere of Trust at Second Stage theatre later this summer. Performances begin July 23 (I’m seeing it the next day) and continue through September 5, at least for now. Trust is written by Paul Weitz (who wrote the film In Good Company) and will be directed by Becky Shaw helmer, Peter DuBois. I’ll be back later this summer with a review.


  • Bloody Bloody Rumors
    Playbill.com is reporting that theatre producer Jeff Richards (whose credits include the current revival of Hair) is exploring the viability of a Broadway transfer for Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, the sexy and rocking emo musical about our seventh president currently enjoying its third extension at The Public. In a statement, The Public said it is certainly open to life for Bloody Bloody beyond their walls. Right now, nothing is set, as Richards is still talking with potential investors, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted.


  • Too Many Words?
    Recently, the New York Times ran an article bemoaning long movie titles. The website Cinematical later responded to it, arguing that while there are some long movie titles out there, it’s nothing to cry about. I agree with the Times that these long titles can pose as a problem when writing about them, say in a newspaper where column inches are precious, or when the titles have to go up on a marquee with limited space. But most of the time, for movie goers, it isn’t a big deal. The Times cited Borat: Cultural Learning of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan as an example of a too-long title. But most people probably just called it Borat. I find I do this not just with movies but also with theatre titles (like the off-Broadway play currently at Second Stage, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity – I just call it Chad Deity.) I’ve also noticed the very long, colon-heavy titles in books. Every time Jon Stewart has an author on his show, which is often, the book almost inevitably has a title, a subtitle, then a heading and finally a zinger at the end. It shouldn’t take me longer to read the title of your book than the actual book! I guess over all I don’t mind long titles, so long as they’re not terribly awkward (I’m looking at you, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,) but ultimately I would urge the ad wizards coming up with titles to remember my favorite Shakespearean quote: “Brevity is the soul of wit” (…which is comically ironic because, as in this post, the speaker of that gem is being anything but brief!)


  • Got a Ticket to Ride?
    The New York Times recently ran an article offering strategies for snagging hard-to-get tickets to various cultural events happening around New York this summer. It’s a good primer for anyone heading to the Big Apple. Included in the article are tips for getting into Shakespeare in the Park (try the online virtual line – I got in to The Bacchae last summer on my first try!) and satellite TKTS booth locations, lest you have to wait on the long, winding line at the main booth in Duffy Square. And while you’re here, you’ll have to navigate around town. In preparation, check out this Times article about the new, more cheerful subway map that will soon makes its debut.


  • Award Season Update
    NY Times arts reporter David Itzkoff, and later Playbil.com, reported that Tony viewers can expect performances from American Idiot, Fela!, Memphis and Million Dollar Quartet (naturally – as they’re all nominated for Best New Musical) as well as Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison and Green Day. (The Playbill.com article also has some news on the presentation of the nominated plays.) Tune into CBS on Sunday, June 13 for all the action!


  • Matt Taibbi Makes a Lot of Cents
    The brilliant Matt Taibbi once again has written an impassioned article for Rolling Stone in which he elucidates the four key elements to financial reform, legislation for which is currently before Congress. He defines the four “fronts” on which the War for Finance Reform, as he terms it, is being fought: Auditing the Fed; Protecting Consumers; Ending “Too Big to Fail;” and Reining in Derivatives. What I find most compelling is Taibbi’s correct assessment of how things – that are largely antithetical to the public good – get done. He says, “…the system allows a few powerful members whose doors are permanently open to lobbyists to pilot the entire process from beginning to end.” When reading this, I was reminded of President-Elect Santos’s desire to ban lobbyists (in season seven of The West Wing.) Santos’s argument was that if you block the industry lobbyists, who, in some industries, outnumber the 535 elected officials in Washington, then legislators can legislate without the influence of big money and without making sweetheart deals. I’m not sure this syllogism holds water in reality and, to be sure, not all lobbyists are bad or come from big business, but clearly there’s a problem with K Street’s influence. Moreover, I would argue that the real problem is with the constant campaign cycle and campaign finance laws, but that’s a whole other can of tuna. For now, I urge you to read Taibbi’s latest masterpiece, and then head over to Amazon where you can pre-order his new, finance-related book, The Griftocracy: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids and the Long Con That Broke America, due out in October (just a couple weeks after my birthday!)


  • Santana Covers Classics
    In the same aforementioned issue of Rolling Stone, Andy Greene reports that guitar legend Carlos Santana is releasing, in September, an album of covers, as conceived by Santana and record exec Clive Davis. The record will find Santana covering great guitar songs, such as “Whole Lotta Love” (backed on vocals by Chris Cornell!) “Little Wing,” “Sunshine of Your Love” and “Back in Black.” Look for the record this fall.


  • Phoebe Strole Profiled
    Current co-star of the superb The Metal Children Phoebe Strole was interviewed this week by Broadway.com. In the interview, she talks about what drew her to the compelling material, working with the talented Billy Crudup and being a part of the original cast of the affecting Spring Awakening.


  • Sir Paul Visits the White House
    This one’s for you, mom: On Tuesday, Sir Paul McCartney performed at the White House, after being honored with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The NY Times article recounting the event said that McCartney was particularly honored to be accepting the accolade from this POTUS, Barack Obama. The Beatle later quipped, “After the last eight years, it’s great to have a president who knows what a library is.” Zing! (Bonus: The presentation and performances, including an appearance by my favorite Foo, Dave Grohl, were taped and will be aired on PBS on July 28.)


  • Meet the New Goodmans
    It was announced this week that real-life husband and wife Jason Danieley and Marin Mazzie will succeed Alice Ripley and Brian d'Arcy James in Next to Normal. As I've mentioned in previous posts, Ripley and d'Arcy James will play their final performance at the Booth on July 18; Ripley will go on to star in the Next to Normal tour in the fall and d'Arcy James will head back to Time Stands Still. Mazzie and Danieley will play their first Normal gig on July 19. Playbill.com reports that this is the first time the couple will appear on stage together. I've never seen Danieley on stage, but I did see Mazzie in her final performance of Kiss Me Kate about ten years ago and I can say I'm excited to see what she brings to the challenging role of Diana Goodman.


  • Thank You for Being a Friend
    Sadly, news came this week that former Golden Girl Rue McClanahan passed away at age 76. Playbill.com reports that the actress died after suffering a massive stroke. McClanahan is maybe best known to my generation as Blanche, from the Golden Girls, who was the Samantha Jones of the Girls’ retirement community. Check your local listings and you’re likely to find repeat episodes of The Golden Girls on Lifetime or TV Land. Ms. McClanahan, thank you for being a friend.

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