Crackdowns on dissent haven't stopped people from making fun of a photo of the Thai prime minister sniffing sock. https://t.co/Ix9bepdEob— Foreign Policy (@ForeignPolicy) August 17, 2016
Silence your mockery. The man is a poet. He was enacting Puccini's beloved aria, "Che gelido piedino," from La Bohème. See video below, though in that production they perversely insisted on changing "foot" to "hand."
One of the great film noirs is The Night of the Hunter from 1955, starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, and Lillian Gish. This reading by director Charles Laughton features some of the film's hauntingly beautiful cinematography and music as the children flee down the river. I needed a break from current affairs yesterday, and this artistry from a dark film was restorative. Evil can be overcome.
The Night of the Hunter was not a success with either audiences or critics at its initial release, and Laughton never directed another film. Nevertheless, the film has found a wider audience over the years, and Mitchum's performance, in particular, has been praised.
The film was shot in black and white in the styles and motifs of German Expressionism (bizarre shadows, stylized dialogue, distorted perspectives, surrealistic sets, odd camera angles) to create a simplified and disturbing mood that reflects the sinister character of Powell, the nightmarish fears of the children, and the sweetness of their savior Rachel.
The Tina Fey of 2016 has emerged, and it is our best girl, @LauraBenanti. Now I have something to look forward to during the rest of this campaign. Brava, Laura. You nailed it. My favorite moment is her squinting at the teleprompter.
This video has gone viral. A tough and wise speech.
'Orange is the New Black' star Lea DeLaria wants to stop using 'LGBT' term https://t.co/h9DXskQsqg— Washington Blade (@WashBlade) June 10, 2016
I remember enjoying Lea DeLaria's acting in a film I saw years ago at the Reel Affirmations festival. But I. Am. Not. Queer. She can call herself whatever she likes, but she can leave me out of it. Indeed, I am left out by the term "queer," as are many others who deem it offensive and have no interest in "reclaiming" it.
As Mashable puts it, "Postmodern Jukebox takes the theme song from 'Titanic' and remakes it into a song that would fit into 'Grease.'" If you agreed with Andrew Sullivan that the original version was a form of torture, check out this rousing doo-wop version. Lead vocalist Mykal Kilgore is a knockout.
I am writing a serious column about atomic bombs and the first American president to go to Hiroshima, but I needed an ice cream break. Here is a sample of the show I saw in NYC yesterday, to give you an idea of why I am rooting for this lady to win a Tony on June 12. Seconds please!
Seeing the matinee Saturday of She Loves Me starring the fabulous Laura Benanti was like a generous helping of vanilla ice cream on a hot Manhattan day. Score, set, performances and staging add up to a delightful show. Its Tony noms (including hers) are well deserved. Laura is like family to members and veterans of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington. She is the beloved niece of our late stalwart Bob Wonneberger, and has performed with the chorus. Yesterday she texted me that between shows she threw a baby shower for a friend. She has been a bit under the weather, but is a real trouper. Take care of those pipes!
Sondheim's most beloved song, sung by his greatest interpreter. Its rueful tone, rather than fear, seems to fit this absurd election year:
Isn't it rich? Are they a pair?
Hillary's feet on the ground,
Trump in midair?
Where are the clowns?
Time magazine's rainbow cover sparks outrage https://t.co/Rbu8t99qpF— Washington Blade (@WashBlade) May 25, 2016
This article quotes one objection to the Time cover:
“Dear @time this is a gay pride flag, not a trans pride flag. This is erasure and a failure of basic due diligence,” one person tweeted.
Erasure? Really? The cover of Time Magazine is the opposite of erasure, whether you like the illustration or not. According to Wikipedia, "Unlike within the wider LGBT communities worldwide which have adopted the Rainbow flag, the various transgender individuals, organizations and communities around the world have not coalesced around one single flag design. Instead there are several flags used and endorsed by the varying transgender individuals, organizations and communities." The cover design is a striking graphic inspired by the far better known rainbow flag, which our enemies certainly regard as including the T even if you don't. This is the sort of fake controversy that causes people whose support we need to roll their eyes and turn away.
Top LBJ aide Walter Jenkins was arrested in October 1964 for sex with a man in a YMCA bathroom in Washington. Above is a scene in the movie All the Way referencing it, in which President Johnson makes a dig at FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Below is a recording of Johnson talking by phone to his wife Lady Bird about the scandal, which occurred a few weeks before the 1964 election. The conversation starts about 45 seconds into the tape. (Hat tip: Mark Thompson)
The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington writes:
Standing ovations last night for Carmina 35! Thank you to New York City Master Chorale, Gallim Dance and everyone who came out to help us celebrate our 35th anniversary!
It was a wonderful evening at the Kennedy Center on Sunday. The Gay Men's Chorus has never been better, with a vigorous performance of "Carmina Burana" as the centerpiece. Former director Bruce Trinkley's confident direction of his exquisite and challenging arrangement of "The Boy Next Door" from the 80s was a treat. Music Director Thea Kano, Executive Director Chase Maggiano, and the whole talented ensemble have done us proud. It was great seeing chorus founder Marsha Pearson honored, and the award to Mara Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality was a timely reminder of the broader movement the chorus is connected to. Kudos to all involved.
(Full disclosure: I am a co-founder of the chorus, and therefore may be a bit biased.)
I watched on C-SPAN. Wilmore certainly didn't care whom he offended. A friend says the transcript reads more funny than it came across live. I have mixed feelings about it. I have enjoyed many of Wilmore's bits in the past.
If Ted Cruz can announce a running mate, so can I.
My running mate will be Mrs. Danvers. She is loyal to a fault, meticulous, and can talk people into jumping out of windows. This latter skill will be invaluable in my administration. She promises she will not set the place on fire unless she is seriously disappointed. You wouldn't want to disappoint her, would you?
I duly observed the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death yesterday by reading some Shakespeare, but I wasn't in a blogging mood. This piece is interesting. More from the director of the Folger Shakespeare Library here.