Saturday, April 01, 2006

Rabbit Hole

Thursday night, after an excellent roast duck dinner at Marseille (I've never been disapponted there) I went up a few blocks to the beautifully renovated Biltmore Theatre to see Rabbit Hole. This is playwright David Lindsay-Abaire's fourth work for the Manhattan Theatre Club, though I haven't seen any of the previous ones.

The main attraction of this play was the pairing of two great actresses, Cynthia Nixon and Tyne Daly. The subject matter was off-putting though: the effect on the parents of the accidental death of their four-year-old son. Despite that, it was a great night of theatre.

The reactions of the parents to their loss were quite different. The mother (Nixon), tried to eliminate the reminders of her child from view, while the father (John Slattery) clung to them. He faithfully attended a support group for parents of children who died. She dropped out of it.

The situation is complicated by the mother's sister (Mary Catherine Garrison), who reveals she's pregnant, and their mother (Daly), who also lost a son--a suicide at age 30. And then there is the teenaged driver (John Gallagher, Jr.), trying to handle the fact he killed someone, even though it was at most only slightly his fault.

Lindsay-Abaire's characters ring true. All of the actors were excellent. The sets were highly imaginative: they were stationed on a large turntable plus a smaller one at one side, that allowed to the audience to see the living room from the kitchen and vice versa. My only quibble was some of the vocabulary used by the grandmother and aunt. They seemed to be from a lower middle class background at most--which the mother had risen out of. Not a lot of education (the aunt said she liked school, but she was never very good at it). Yet occasionally their words seemed above them--"prologue," for instance.

As I said, the acting was great. The mother was the biggest role, onstage almost the entire play, and Nixon was fine. Gallagher managed to portray the awkward high school senior quite convincingly--I was surprised to learn he is approaching his 22nd birthday.

But the real star is the story. Not surprisingly, I've never heard of a play on the subject. The only similar movie to my recollection was Ordinary People. But watching the parents work through their grief, and manage to reach a common point, made for a memorable evening of theatre.

Friday, March 31, 2006

I can hear the comedians now

Government to Settle Denver Mint Bias Case
DENVER (AP) - The U.S. Mint agreed Friday to pay $9 million to female workers at its Denver plant who alleged their bosses demanded sex in exchange for promotions, harassed them and retaliated when they complained...
The $9 million will be paid in nickels, dimes and quarters.

I'm afraid the city may have been too much for him

Hal, the Central Park Coyote, Dies
I first noted Hal in A coyote in Central Park??!!. This is sad.

More worries for Ney?

Republican Rep. Tom DeLay's (himself under indictment) former deputy chief of staff pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge involving convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff today. He promised to help in other investigations. His testimony could be quite damaging to Rep. Bob Ney, whose situation I noted back in January in ANOTHER REPUBLICAN IN TROUBLE. (Gee, I keep using that headline again and again).

More fun times for the Democrats.

Curiouser web search of the day

Yesterday I noted in Curious web search of the day that someone at the House of Representatives found my post Another Republican in trouble? doing a search for Jim Ryun. Today they did it again, and found Curious web search of the day. I wonder if tomorrow they'll find this post.

Assuming they work weekends.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Curious web search of the day

Somebody was searching for references to "Jim Ryun" in blogs and found my post Another Republican in trouble?. The searcher was on the U.S. House of Representatives ISP. Someone in Ryun's office, maybe?

Weird web search of the day

novelty:"pickle key chain" lists my blog as fourth. What makes this even weirder was that the searcher was on the Disney ISP. Hmmm.

ND/NF: Eleven Men Out

My only film at this year's New Directors/New Films Festival was Eleven Men Out (Strákarnir okkar), the story about what happens when an Icelandic soccer star, Óttar, announces he's gay. (Don't confuse this with Guys and Balls (Männer wie wir), the story about what happens when a German soccer star announces he's gay.)

The strange thing is, we never learn much about him at all. We learn much more about Óttar's family: his son (typical 13-year old), his ex-wife (alcoholic former Miss Iceland), his father (homophobic jerk), his brother (misogynistic jerk), and his sister-in-law (dull-witted victim of the misogynistic jerk). His coming out is a spur-of-the-moment attempt to move an article being written about him to a more prominent position in the magazine. Then things just seem to happen all around him, frequently for no good reason other than people are stupid.

He's thrown off his team (which is coached by his jerk father), joins an amateur team that has a couple gay guys quietly on it (thereby sending all of the straight players fleeing), attracts a bunch of other gay players to the team, and starts a relationship with one of them. No one wants to play the gay team, so they keep winning by default, and end up in the play-offs. Except their opponents are from a little fishing village, and half the team is on a trawler at sea, so they don't play that game either.

Then somehow it's decided the gay team will play Óttar's old team. The game just happens to be scheduled for the same day as Iceland's gay pride parade--thereby ensuring a huge crowd.

I won't tell you the game's results--just in case there is actually someone out there with enough interest in Icelandic films (or gay soccer movies, which seems to be a growing sub-genre) to want to see this thing. I will tell you that as a comedy, it's not very funny, as a character study, they're all one-dimensional, and as a drama, the plot is ridiculous.

Oh, one other thing. There is hardly any soccer shown in the movie at all. But there is a fair amount of nudity, and some gay sex. And a lot of rain.

Another Republican in trouble?

While lobbyist Jack Abramoff was given nearly six years in jail to consider the error of his ways, another Republican Congressman has been added to the list of those alleged to have benefited from a deal with an Abramoff-linked group. Rep. Jim Ryun bought a home from a non-profit group funded by corporations linked to Abramoff for much less than it was worth, it has been claimed. Ryun claims he paid the "fair market value."

There are more and more of these deals coming to the surface. Abramoff could get his sentence reduced for his co-operation with prosecutors, and the start of his jail term has been delayed so he can do this. We'll have to see how many of his former friends end up in jail with him.

Fun times for the Democrats.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

5,000 visits!

Today this blog logged its 5,000th visit. Wow! Considering that I don't write deep political analysis, or get into a lot of interpersonal relationship issues, or talk about sex, just slices of my life, that's a lot. Thank you to all who keep coming back.

As long as we're on the subject, here's a thin slice: last night I had an excellent mahi-mahi at East of Eighth with a friend in town on business. (A word to the wise: they get their fish delivered on Tuesday and Friday.) Then we went to Snapshot, "A Party for Queers...and their friends" at Bar 13. It was mostly young lesbians (very young...I was probably twice as old as almost all of them). Some "boi"s. (My friend said one nerdy one looked like her in high school, except without the pocket protector.) The music was pretty good (cute DJ), and not too loud for conversation. A few people danced occasionally, but it was mostly people sitting along the walls, just talking. Someone said it really got busy around midnight, but my friend had an early meeting today, so we had to leave before that.

Surprise of the day (NOT)

'Brokeback' Takes Top Film at Gay Awards

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A new transgender resource

I've added a link in my Blogs and Blogoids list to Transgender Workplace Diversity. This looks like a good place for the latest developments in anti-discrimination laws, among other things.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Save some trees: OptOut

My mail today consisted of one magazine, the Carnegie Hall monthly guide, a "personalized pocket directory" of restaurants at which I can get discounts, and four solicitations for donations or membership renewals--but not a single offer of a "pre-approved" credit card. I realized I haven't had any in a while. This was not an accident (nor a reflection on my credit rating, thank you).

A few weeks ago I "opted out" from receiving such offers. I went to and requested a stop to these things for five years. (To get a permanent stop you have to send a letter.)

The OptOut operation is not something the credit reporting companies are doing voluntarily, of course. They are required to offer consumers this by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

It's a great idea. I used to get at least a dozen of these things every week. Frequently I'd get one in my male name, and an identical one for Caprice (I think I asked for an optout for each of "us.") The thing takes a few weeks to go into effect, but it really seems to work.

So do yourself, the forests, and your postal service deliverer a favor: OptOut!

Some people never know when to give up

Someone found this blog by doing a search for "dominant crossdressing." I'm 579th on the list!

Searching for Clayelle

Last fall I wrote a little post concerning Clayelle Dalferes, one of the weekend announcers at WQXR, New York's classical radio station. I e-mailed it to her, and she sent a very nice reply, which I posted as a comment. Almost every week since then one or two people find this blog doing a web search for her. On Saturday one of them added the comment, "Clayelle Dalferes could hold my attention just reading the phone book." Just now someone did a search for "Clayelle Dalferes beautiful voice."

Yes. Her voice is beautiful. It is sultry. It is, I'm going to say it, sexy. Not what one would expect on a classical music station. I'm not at all surprised at the number of web searches for her.

Over the months a number of the searches have been for "Clayelle Dalferes photo." Well there aren't any on the web, other than the baby picture she put on her profile on the WQXR site. She remains the mystery woman, at least visually.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Judges on the dance floor?

Thursday was the LGBT Lawyers Assn of Greater New York Foundation (LeGaL Foundation) Annual Dinner, Dance, Art Show & Sale at the Ritz-Carlton downtown. This was the second one of these I've been to, my first as a member of the board of directors.

Things started out much better for me this year--my cab driver knew where he was going. Last year we had to wander around Battery Park City for a while, until he found it.

On my way in I saw my friend Ivan Dominguez, the chair of the New York County Lawyers Assn (NYCLA) LGBT Issues Committee. He was walking in, as he works (and lives) nearby. No cabs necessary for him. We went in together, and a hotel staffer directed us to the second floor, where we were given our name tags. I got two: my regular one, which indicated I was seated at table 21 (in the teeniest type), plus a second one identifying me as Foundation board member. I stuck the first one in my purse, and clipped the second one to my blouse.

Ah yes, my blouse. It was this nice multi-colored print overblouse that I've had forever, which I wore with my good old black-on-black embossed paisley pants. And even with maybe 150+ gay guys there, you have no idea how much my blouse stood out. They may have been gay, but they were still lawyers, coming from work--it was a sea of grey and black suits. A few had colorful shirts. (Of course there were a good number of women there also. But lesbian lawyers dress even more conservatively than the gay male ones. There were two that wore red sweaters.)

We were pretty early, and there wasn't much of a line for drinks. I got one and strolled around, looking at the artwork being auctioned (the only thing I really liked were these very small oil paintings of various views through windows in Europe. But at $400 minimum each I thought they were way overpriced.) The hors d'oeuvres were served frequently, but I stuck to the bite-sized ones--trying to eat chicken on a skewer is quite hazardous to my make-up.

I said hello to a number of people I knew, mainly from the board, but a few others--unlike last year, when I knew only about two. I caught a brief sight of Congressman Rangel, who I think was the only high official to actually show up, if only for a few minutes. (At the dinner we were read a long list of officials who had accepted invitations, but outside of the judges I don't think anyone but Rangel and a City commissioner representing Mayor Bloomberg actually attended.)

Eventually they opened the doors to the dining room, and I went in and found table 21--at the outer edge near the far wall. I was the first, chose the seat most directly facing the dance floor, and started glancing at the program. Just as some other people arrived at the table, Ivan came and invited me to sit at the Cadwaladar table, where they had an empty seat. His firm, Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft, was one of the "Platinum" sponsors of the event, so their table was one of the best, closest to the center. I accepted this "upgrade"--though I had to assure one my now former tablemates that it wasn't something they said. (I found out later that one of the former tablemates was Tom Shanahan, who has represented a number transgender people in high-profile cases. It may have been he whom I had assured.)

But I went off to the Cadwalader table, where everyone except Ivan was a very young associate at the firm--one had just started a couple weeks ago. We ate the dinner (a nice salad, decent chicken, a good chocolate tart), while a short presentation was made. We heard a letter from Mayor Bloomberg read by one of his commissioners (with jokes about it not being a proclamation), and awards were presented to all of the past presidents of the organization. Ivan excused himself right after the meal--he had to get up for a breakfast meeting with Mayor Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion the next day.

Eventually people were encouraged to get up and dance to the disco music that had been playing in the background all evening. There were male couples dancing, female couples dancing, even a one or two couple of opposite sex! I recognized two or three of the dancers were judges. Now I know that there are human beings under judges' robes, but somehow seeing one doing the frug just destroyed my image of the profession (can anyone imagine Ruth Bader Ginsburg doing the frug?)--very much like how my image of teachers was destroyed when I joined my wife and her former colleagues at a bar where they had been TGIFing for a couple of hours (not to mention an end-of-term party we went to).

No one enticed me to the dance floor, so after a little while watching I left. There was a nice line of cabs waiting, and a hotel doorman to call one and handle the door, and I went off to Lips for a nitecap. I sat down at the bar next to Stephanie of MyFemSpirit, and we had chatted. Frankie Cocktail, the bartender, asked if we knew each other. Did we know each other? For years and years--I got measured for my first custom corset in her apartment. I was too late for Jesse Volt's show (though I did get to say hello to her), but Ginger did a couple of special numbers for some friends there: Good Morning, Baltimore from Hairspray (one of the people was visiting from Baltimore), and Talk Dirty to the Animals. She was great.