Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Play's sequel gives voice to Matthew Shepard's killerA decade after "The Laramie Project" became a theatrical phenomenon, its creators are back with an epilogue highlighted by a riveting prison interview with the killer of gay college student Matthew Shepard _ depicting him as candid but not remorseful over the murder. The new production, which opens nationwide Oct. 12 at more than 130 theaters, features a segment based on more than 10 hours of face-to-face interviews with convicted killer Aaron McKinney, conducted by Greg Pierotti, a gay actor/writer who helped create the original docudrama. According to the detailed notes taken by Pierotti and condensed into the new script, McKinney says he had been drawn to crime ever since childhood, feels sympathy for Shepard's parents and expresses regret that he let his own father down. "As far as Matt is concerned, I don't have any remorse," McKinney is quoted as saying in the script, which was provided to The Associated Press by the production company. McKinney, according to the script, reiterates his claim that the 1998 killing in Laramie, Wyo., started out as a robbery, but makes clear that his antipathy toward gays played a role. "The night I did it, I did have hatred for homosexuals," McKinney is quoted as saying. He goes on, according to the script, to say that he still dislikes gays and that his perceptions about Shepard's sex life bolstered his belief that the killing was justified. McKinney and his accomplice, Russell Henderson, targeted Shepard at a bar in Laramie in part because they assumed he was gay, according to the script. "Well, he was overly friendly. And he was obviously gay," McKinney is quoted as saying. "That played a part ... his weakness. His frailty. And he was dressed nice. Looked like he had money." Early on Oct. 7, 1998, McKinney and Henderson offered Shepard a ride in their car, then robbed and savagely pistol whipped him and left him tied to a fence in a remote area outside town. The 21-year-old University of Wyoming student was found 18 hours later and died in a Colorado hospital on Oct. 12. -DAVID CRARY AP

Monday, September 28, 2009

like a string of singing pearlsTo the Tune of “As In a Dream”
Jumbled shadows-
jade banana leaves,
the moon halfway up
a red railing.
Wind arrives
from turquoise skies,
blowing down
like a string of singing pearls.
the one I love hidden
behind an emerald curtain.
-Sun Daoxuan (c960?)

Michelle Obama hosted a luncheon and a tour for the wives of the dignitaries at Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. The arrivals walked past window displays of spinning disco balls suspended above black-and-white photos of Warhol looking through the center of a tambourine and wearing his trademark sunglasses. Carla Bruni Sarkozy was the only wife who spoke to the media there. "I think I wish I could stay a little longer," she said about her Pittsburgh visit. "Because we only stay one-and-a-half days, but I think it's beautiful."Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Sarah Brown watch asMichelle Obama shows off her screen print at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, 25 September 2009; Crown copyright
Frabel Tree
President Obama Gives A Gift of Art

“The work sustains a tension that goes beyond the experience of duration and repetition, beyond the humor, fear, anxiety, or lust of witnessing sexual performances: it is a tension inherent in male desire and the abiding fictions that seek to both define and sublimate it.” source: press release Sterling Ruby’s The Masturbators @ Foxy Production -Art Baloney

Girls Girls Girls!
Ursuline Nun is a Devoted Elvis FanShe left her Elvis records, scrapbooks and her tube of "Love Me Tender" lipstick in a box under the bed at home when she entered the convent to become an Ursuline nun. But in recent years, as the Ursuline order has modified some rules for nuns, Sister Anne Michelle, now 63 and the principal of St. Paul Elementary in Grayson County, has been making up for lost time with Elvis. She has more than 40 books about Elvis, numerous posters, T-shirts, refrigerator magnets, lamps, an Elvis telephone that plays "Hound Dog" when it rings, an Elvis quilt and Elvis pillow cases. She has an Elvis alarm clock and watches, Elvis Christmas tree ornaments, most of his music, all of his movies, and a stand-up cardboard figure of Elvis that is stored in the convent closet. Sister Anne Michelle nearly got her hands on an authentic Elvis concert scarf several years ago, but her brother, a retired Kentucky state trooper who had been given the scarf when he escorted Presley at a concert in Louisville, lost it before she could add it to her collection. -Bryon Crawford
Maine's Catholic Churches Ask for CashMaine's Catholic churchgoers were asked to make an additional donation on Sunday toward repealing the marriage equality law in the state. Church officials said the donations would pay for television ads and campaign efforts to overturn the law in this November's upcoming vote. Though church officials are going ahead with the collection efforts, there have been defectors raising their voices against the donation drive. Among the protesters outside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Sunday were two former nuns who now belong to the group Catholics for Marriage Equality. "The fact that the bishop and the Catholic Church is coming out to help reverse the law for same-sex marriage is just appalling to me," Kathy Tosney told WMTW News. - Michelle Garcia, The Advocate

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Babara Streisand’s latest album, “Love Is the Answer,” will be released on Tuesday by Columbia.
Barbra Streisand’s one-night-only show. “I was plotzing,” said Reneé Cole, an aspiring actress.

Osang Gwon, Deodorant TypeCurator Eric C. Shiner states, FORCES us to “question the skin we are in.” -ARTCAT

“Jota Castro, who curated the project, also contributes with Shanghai 2, 2009, a circular jumble of large-scale Mikado sticks, whose warlike qualities encapsulate his curatorial endeavor.” source: Miguel Amado reviewing “The Fear Society—Pabellón de la Urgencia” @ Arsenale Novissimo, artforum.com -Art Baloney Blog
“Surrounding the video are a series of cobbled-together objects—a bench for viewing, a plastic palm tree sheltered from a blowing fan by a Plexiglas sheet, a mechanical sculpture in which a panel of fake grass rises to a peak and then falls with a crushing bang—that together evince a survivor’s optimism and know-how in the face of great tragedy.” source: Annie Buckley reviewing Neïl Beloufa @ Chung King Project, artforum.com -Art Baloney Blog
Brigitte Bardot

In 1996, after the French government authorized the killing of a wolf that was terrorizing sheep in the south of France, Brigitte Bardot offered a $2,000 reward for anyone who captured the animal alive. “I adore wolves because they are animals who are poorly loved, who are rejected by society,” she said. She donated $100,000 to a nature reserve to protect the wolf population there. -DBeast
Academy-Award winning director Roman Polanski was taken into custody in Switzerland Saturday on a 31-year-old U.S. arrest warrant stemming from Polanski's alleged unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl, organizers of the Zurich Film Festival said early Sunday morning. Polanski, who won a Best Director Oscar for "The Pianist" in 2002, fled to France from the United States in 1978 after he was arrested in Los Angeles and pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. The Polish director, 76, was in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award for his work as a director, the Zurich Film Festival organizers said Sunday. The film festival officials said Polanski's arrest caused "shock and dismay" but wouldn't derail plans to continue with Sunday's planned retrospective of his work. The organizers said Polanski was nabbed by Swiss cops in relation to the 1978 warrant. Zurich police spokesman Stefan Oberlin confirmed Polanski's arrest, but said police couldn't provide more details pending review by the Swiss Justice Ministry. Polanski, a Holocaust survivor who also directed award-winning films including "Chinatown," "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Ninth Gate," made tabloid headlines in the late 1960s when his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered by Charles Manson's "family" cult in a gruesome stabbing. In 1977, the then 44-year-old Polanski photographed the 13-year-old girl as part of a guest-editing gig at the French edition of "Vogue." The girl later testified in court that Polanski gave her alcohol and quaaludes and sexually assaulted her without her consent. Polanski was ordered to take part in a psychiatric evaluation after he pleaded guilty. He fled to France, where he held citizenship and was legally able to avoid extradition to the U.S. -- until now. He was considered by the United States to be a fugitive after he fled the U.S. and established residency in France. -CAITLIN MILLAT

"I have been unable to live an uncommitted or suspended life."
-Edward Said

Feds: Zazi trips, shopping led to NY terror

It was midsummer in suburban Denver when an unassuming, bearded man pushed a red shopping cart between shelves stacked with hair coloring and nail polish remover. By the time Najibullah Zazi checked into a nearby hotel suite with a kitchen in September, he had at least 18 bottles of peroxide-based hair lighteners and pages of notes for how to turn the beauty products into bombs, authorities say.

This image made Friday, Sept. 25, 2009 from security video made available by CNN shows a man believed to be Najibullah Zazi shopping at Beauty Supply Warehouse in suburban Denver. Court papers say that during the summer, Zazi and three unidentified associates bought "unusually large quantities" of hydrogen peroxide and acetone, a flammable solvent found in nail-polish remover, from beauty supply stores in the Denver area. -TOM HAYS (AP Photo/CNN)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

NEA ScandalYosi Sergant and President Obama

Scandal in the headquarters of the National Endowment for the Arts. Former communications director Yosi Sergant officially resigned from the department on Thursday after a group of senators (led by Wyoming's Mike Enzi, above) wrote a letter arguing that Sergant's actions "politicized" what should be a bipartisan agency. According to the NEA, Sergant hosted a conference call with a handpicked group of artists, some of who helped to create Obama's "Hope" poster during the campaign. Sergant urged the known pro-Obama arts group to work on specific initiatives to raise attention about health care, the environment, etc., issues that could easily move into partisan territory. Initially, Sergant was just reassigned within the NEA, but this week, he stepped down completely. -DBeast


Najibullah Zazi--From Smiling Coffee Vendor to Terror Suspect
-Michael Wilson, NY TimesHis was the first hello of the day. Affable and rooted, he lived for 10 years in the same apartment with his family in Flushing, Queens. His father drove a cab for more than 15 years. He was, in other words, no brooding outcast, no sheltered, suggestible loner raised in a closed community. He was the smiling man who remembered a customer liked his coffee large, light and sweet. He had a “God Bless America” sign on his cart. He was the doughnut man. But prosecutors say Mr. Zazi, 24, who worked blocks from ground zero, was just as furtive an operative as the Sept. 11 hijackers when he traveled to Pakistan last year for terrorism training and returned to the United States with a plan to build bombs using beauty supplies.