Thursday, September 24, 2009

Let 's go hand in hand, not one before another

Anyone who knows me will be very surprised that I have managed to NOT get blatantly political here for almost 3 months now! But, all things must come to an end….
And here’s what did it: The PA legislature finally passed a budget last Friday—at around midnight. I am thrilled for my friends who work for the state because some of them went without paychecks for a couple of weeks. What I’m not thrilled about is the planned 6—8% tax they want to impose on the purchase of tickets to non-profit cultural events. Really folks? You wanna kick non-profs when they’re already down?
Non-profit arts organizations have been struggling mightily for almost a decade now. Corporate sponsorships are down as large corporations tighten their belts—or go under. Grant money has been slowly drying up. And ticket sales and subscriptions have dropped an average of 20% per season. And now this—it will be the death knell for many of the area’s small innovative companies.
Here’s a little bit from the city’s main newspaper
“Peggy Amsterdam, head of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, drew sustained applause when she framed this question for Gov. Rendell and legislative leaders: ‘What were you thinking?
‘Your proposal to extend the sales tax to arts and culture activities - a proposal snuck in at the last minute in a backroom deal - attempts to balance the commonwealth's $28 billion budget on the back of one of its most valuable and vulnerable industries,’Amsterdam said.
‘It will price everyday people out of arts experiences, and it will push key cultural institutions to the brink. Yet with as much potential for economic and social damage as this tax threatens, it yields only a paltry one-third of 1 percent impact on state revenues.”
And to add insult to injury, movies and sporting events are not included! Does that seem fair? Everyone needs the arts. It has been proven time and time again that
a) Children who receive arts education in school do better in other subjects
b) Arts organizations actually bring in more revenue and positive impact to a city than a sports team does.
The state claims they need to do this in order to continue a modicum of arts education in the schools. Every arts organization I know of has an educational department that offers—many times free of charge—in-school programming and live performances. If this tax goes into law, ticket sales will go way down and the companies will no longer be able to continue their educational outreach.
Gotta love our government at work……

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together…

Now there’s a mouthful! I know it’s true for me. As I tell my friends, if it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any at all. Thank God I have a sense of humor about it all though. That’s gotten me through a lot of tough times. I try to “accentuate the positive” though—as hard as that can be at times. However, I think it’s time to let someone else learn how deal with all of that mingled yarn—I’m tired.
If you didn’t have the bad, would you appreciate the good?? And why do some people just seem to tap dance thru life, while others are generally up to their knees in ca-ca? Just wondering….

Friday, September 18, 2009

give to airy nothing a local habitation and a name

I love this quote.... It's from A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.

Shakespeare's line is spoken by Theseus: ". . . as imagination bodies forth/ The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen/ Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing/ A local habitation and a name."

This is what artists, poets, musicians, actors do. They use their art to create a world within the piece they're working on. I'm more familiar with this in the theatre. Each show I've performed in or directed, we created our own world, our "habitation" in which to tell the story. And for the time we're working on the play, it becomes very real to us. I've been thinking about this as I prepare to start directing another play. It's my job to help the actors find their way into that habitation; to take the words on the page and give them a "name."

But don't we, to some extent, do that in our real lives too. We create a world within the larger one--a local habitation. Our family and friends are our world. For them we want things to always be happy and wonderful. And sometimes we invent things to protect them from the harsh realities of real life. Which may not be a good thing. We need to know about the bad things to know how to protect ourselves. I've seen so many adults who have no coping mechanisms because they were too sheltered growing up. I wanted to keep my kids from ever getting hurt or knowing about evil, but I would have done them a great disservice if I had. It was my obligation as a parent to give them the tools they needed to function on there own. In a sense it was my duty to make myself obsolete.

Of course, as a parent you're never really obsolete. Your kids always need you there in the background supporting them. Just like my actors need me to parent them through the story.

Maybe that's why I love directing so much--I get to be "mom" over and over again--without the potty training.

Monday, September 14, 2009

You taught me language, and my profit on’t Is I know how to curse.


Yeah, that’s what I say when I hurt myself or something doesn’t go right. NOT! In many circumstances, the only thing that will do is to let a good expletive fly. I don’t really have a problem with that; I mean, the words roll off your tongue so nicely. Not that the adults in my life were setting a bad example, mind you. No, during my formative years, my dad was very careful around us; and one of my mom’s rules was “if you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all. [Boy that was a toughey sometimes…]

But, I must admit that since about my sixteenth birthday, I have been a big fan of shall we say “colorful language.” Not that I’m necessarily proud of that—or of the fact that I’ve apparently passed that trait on to my kids and grandson. But I’d rather the occasional F-bomb than words of hate or derision. I think I taught them to accept others for who they are and not the surface stuff. So, yeah, I’m okay with the curse words.

Of course, I think we should all educate ourselves to some of Shakespeare’s curses—dude could really put down. When one of the Bard’s characters curses someone it’s inventive—and scary too.

Here are some examples:

Thou viperous hell-hated misbegotten-divel!

I scorn you, scurvy companion. What, you poor, base, rascally, cheating, lack-linen mate! Away, you moldy rogue, away! [now tell me THAT'S not impressive]

So, so, thou common dog, didst thou disgorge thy glutton bosom.

Would the fountain of your mind were clear again, that I might water an ass at it.
[I think this is my favorite]

So much more original than wishing someone a sexual experience……For more fun, click on the title of this post to link to a “Shakespearean Curse Generator” website. Have Fun.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Every why has a wherefore

We mark a strange anniversary today: it was 8 years ago that the Towers came down, that the Pentagon had a hole blown in it, that a plane was crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. That almost 3,000 people died. Eight years—it seems like just yesterday. Images from that day—and the days that followed are forever etched in the psyches of all Americans. We will all always remember where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news.
My brother lived within walking distance of the towers; he sent me photos of them burning that he took from his kitchen window. His neighborhood was covered in dust for months after. New Yorkers started at any loud noise. My daughter worked for a trading firm whose headquarters were within blocks of the trade center—people her company dealt with died that day. Their families—and all of the others—have had to process their grief under the watchful eye of a nation. I feel such empathy for them.

We will never fully know the “whys and wherefores.” But, hopefully, we have learned something about how we want to be seen and treated by the other occupants of this planet.
It will be the defining moment for my grandson’s generation, like the Kennedy assassination was for mine. I can’t help but wonder what lessons they will take from it. He was nine that year; his school blocked internet access that day—they felt the kids should learn about the events from their parents. He was surprised to see his mom home from work when he got home that day. The preceding spring, the two of them and my son had gone to New York for the day. A picture of the three of them on the Observation deck was on the fridge. He kept staring at it in disbelief when my daughter told him what had happened.
He was full of questions. Questions none of us could really answer…..

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

“So so” is good, very good, very excellent good; and yet it is not; it is but so so.

That’s kinda how I’ve been feeling lately. I’m having a hard time getting jazzed about life. And I don’t know exactly why. I don't like it when I feel this way, but I don't know what to do to change it. Stuff that I usually enjoy just seems like too much effort. Cher's "Snap out of it" technique just doesn't do it.....

I think it’s a Fibromyalgia thing. I don’t have as much pain as others I know—or I’ve just gotten way too used to it—but I do have a whole laundry list of other weird symptoms. I have a constant high-pitched sound in my ears; I learned that was probably Fibro related doing research online. I seem to constantly have a cold or a virus of some sort—fibro has wrecked my immune system. I get blurred vision—another symptom I learned about doing research. It just gets better and better…..

And of course, there’s the whole sleep thing. God I miss the days of my youth when I could crash for 8 hours no problem. I didn’t know how good I had it. Now it seems like the frickin’ alarm clock is going off right after I’ve finally nodded off. And always just as my dream about Paolo the Pool Boy is getting interesting...... Then I lay there and play “If I don’t do such and such, I can stay here for an extra 5 minutes.”

They say you can’t—or SHOULDN’T— make up for lost sleep on your days off. But that’s what I find myself doing. Then I feel guilty for it. I can’t win.

Any suggestions? Would winning the lottery help? I know Paolo would, but he's yet to show up in my real life.....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

By the pricking of my thumbs,

just got an e-mail from my daughter--she's sliced her finger up and is in the ER waiting for stitches. My instincts are to drop everything, leave work and go be with her. What if she's damaged a nerve or something?Mamma hen worries about her chicks. [Of course, if she was able to e-mail me, it musn't be too bad--but she is a one-handed texter.]
I have spent my share of time at the doctor's or the ER with my kids. A few stiches here, a very high fever there..... And with my daughter, it seems as if all of the things that left marks were on her beautiful face! Including the time she managed to crash her car into a tree. [I told her, "Sweetheart, trees always win."] When my son was not quite 4 months old I rushed him to the hospital at the Jersey Shore. He had gastro-enteritis. I found out the next morning that he was so dehydrated that he was within hours of death. Parenting is a scary thing.
I was just thinking this morning that each new phase of a child's life brings a new set of worries for the parents--and as they grow, so do the worries.
That never stops--no matter how old your children get. My mom worries about me and my brothers [I got a panicked VM from her because I hadn't answered her e-mails (I've been really busy)], I worry about my two and my daughter worries about her son.
It's the "circle of life," I guess.