Sorry The Blogging’s Been A Bit Light

I’ve been really busy this week. I have less than a month left of school and this week I had a concert I needed to perform at, a restaurant I had to review, and three performances of two plays I needed to attend for my reviews.

Speaking of which, my review of the Black Hawk Children’s Theatre’s production of “Rumpelstiltskin” and my review of Columbus Catholic High School’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” should be up here between 10 p.m. tonight at 4 p.m. tomorrow.

Jonathan Mann Does Song of Waterboarding Portion of Memos

It’s the type of creepy that I like. In a way, it’s a bit cheery, reminds me of a Bayer Asprin ad. You know, the one’s that were like “Pump pump pump/pump pump pump pump pump/pump pump pump/pump pump pump pump/pumps your blood.” But because of that, the echoing lyrics, and the juxtaposed text as a caption, it has a horrifying effect.

So, here it is. This is the same guy that did the Paul Krugman song.

It’s Hot Up Here

The air conditioning in the journalism room, where I’m typing this from, is broken at the moment. It’s very warm in this room, which is on the second floor and has no windows that open. The door is wide open, but sitting in front of a window is not helping.

Especially if you’ve been sick recently.

I actually got a headache last night about thirty minutes before curtain for the invited dress for “Rumpelstiltskin.” (I’ll have that review up on Friday night.)

I wrote my review with a headache and that’s gone. But overall, I’ve been a bit sick.

I’m also taking breaks in my writing to fan myself with today’s New York Times.

In the meantime, why don’t we all sit around with some water or lemonade and read this article in today’s Washington Post on how the “Causes” application is not really helping non-profits.

Fun Fact About Me

I can’t write when the television is on.

The computer in my house is located in the same room as the TV.

I’m presently drinking tea and trying to type up an Op-Ed piece on the fight to keep gay marriage legal in Iowa. My sister is watching “The Soup” on E!.

I’m not getting very far.

This is why I have no intention of ever owning a TV.

Things I Don’t Care About and Do Care About: Week of April 13-19

Things I Don’t Care About:

-How great Parks and Recreation is doing.

Hannah Montana: The Movie

-What happened on American Idol?

17 Again

-Who got kicked off of Dancing with the Stars?

-What Glenn Beck’s doing this week.

-Bo Obama

-The Karl Rove/Joe Biden bitchfight.

Things I Do Care About:

-The tea protests.

-Paul Krugman appearing to be right.

-Anderson Cooper probably making the best double entendre of the entire tea party ordeal.

-Charles Isherwood writing NOTHING for the New York Times. What has America done to deserve this?

-Believe it or not, Susan Boyle. Mainly because I’m not seeing what’s so big about it and I’ve watched the video. I thought that shows like American Idol and America’s Got Talent (which is what Britain’s Got Talent is a spin-off of) were about these nobodies that aren’t fabulous being stunning. What am I missing? On the upside, kudos to Boyle for making Simon Cowell smile.

-Jonathan Mann’s “Hey, Paul Krugman.” I leave you with him performing it on The Rachel Maddow Show. Which I still can’t embed.

Ben Brantley and Celebrity Stunt Casting


Ben, may we please talk?

I’ve really noticed this season, due to the celebrity studded Broadway season, how celebrity crazed you can be. It’s breaking my heart because you’re the chief theater critic for the New York Times. You normally would seen as a force to be dealt with that makes producers tremble.

Granted, your star obsession has been known for a while. There was the infamous review of the revival of Three Days of Rain that was not only entitled “Enough Said About ‘Three Days of Rain.’ Let’s Talk Julia Roberts!”, but you confessed that you are (or were) a “Juliaholic.” You then proceeded to go on about how nervous it was to be in the same theater as Julia Roberts.

Which, if you were trying to convey a point, I understand. But at that time I banged my head into my desk. In fact, when I read those words today, I have to refrain from banging my head into my desk.

This was seen again in your review of “33 Variations,” which seemed as though you spent far too much time going “OMG JANE FONDA” and discussing the errors of the play than talking about the performances of the other actors which you seemed a bit dismissive of.

“In ’33 Variations,’ Katherine is being ruthlessly denuded of her defenses, and for those who grew up enthralled with Ms. Fonda’s screen image, it’s hard not to respond to her performance here, on some level, as a personal memento mori,” you wrote in your review.

“Those who grew up enthralled with Ms. Fonda’s screen image”? Were you referring to yourself? Your colleague at Time Out New York, David Cote, pointed this out on “Upstaged” and I couldn’t agree more with him.

Your approach to Fonda’s performance is more drooling than anything. In fact, your near-drooling is really sad after your colleague at the Times, Charles Isherwood, wrote in his article “Celebroadway!” this:

It gives Ms. Fonda so little to play that the production marks the saddest waste of an actor in at least a season or two, given that it has been more than four decades since she has appeared on a New York stage. As a chilly music scholar trying to unearth the secret history of Beethoven’s “Diabelli” Variations, Ms. Fonda is largely required only to lecture us about her research, act standoffish toward her needy daughter (Ms. Mathis) and then slowly succumb to disease.

She does it all with unexceptionable integrity, but you are left wanting a lot more. Ms. Fonda is as serious a person as you could hope to meet, but let’s hope that next time she braves Broadway — and I sincerely hope she does again, soon — she consents to make a spectacle of herself, or at least a spectacle of her formidable talent.

While you sounded breathless and over-the-top, Isherwood–who not only is another critic, but writes for the same publication–was refined and said that he hopes that she appears in something that isn’t a waste. You just pointed out the flaws in the play and talked about Fonda like you’re a host on E! News.

It makes me so sad since I’ve been reading and digesting your reviews since I was twelve. There are some weeks where I just don’t read your reviews because I know what the reviews will sound like. They will sound like shrill praise from a celebrity obsessed critic.

My heart leapt a bit when I read your review of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone because I thought that maybe you had gone back to being serious. But perhaps I shouldn’t think too much of it. There are still several plays awaiting to open.

Yours Truly,