Thursday, March 22, 2007

As with the nation, so with this state - by unanimous vote in the Massachusetts Senate, Therese Murray was elected its new President, the first time in the state's history that a woman has run the Massachusetts legislature. She's a Democrat (surprise) whose home district is Plymouth County, ironically the single most Republican area in super-liberal Massachusetts.

She's more liberal than her district; she's more liberal than her predecessor in the job (who resigned suddenly to pursue job prospects in the private sector). She's a supporter of gay marriage and she's probably a huge breath of fresh air in a state whose legislators are [in]famous for collecting their popularly believed to be overinflated salaries while accomplishing absolutely nothing for months at a time. We're getting further and further away from Mitt Romney (who's been out there destroying himself faster and faster anyway) all the time!


I haven't been able to check out Thursday night TV in quite a while and I got to see a bittersweet episode of Ugly Betty tonight with Michael Urie's Mark as the featured character. Patti LuPone showed up as Mark's bitchy mother, chewing scenery manically. With Betty's urging and support he finally had the guts to stand up to her and tell her he's gay. At which point she rejected him and walked out. As is typical of this show, it left the stereotypes and caricatures in the overtly comic scenes and allowed Urie to register his fear and finally the pain of rejection in a strong performance in the spotlight he's deserved on this show for a long time.


The man who turned Tchaikovsky's uber-romantic ballet Swan Lake into a homoerotic love story, and who made a ballet out of Edward Scissorhands: Matthew Bourne is taking on Shakespeare in the upcoming Romeo, Romeo. In a Sunday Times of London interview, Bourne identified the personal challenge to be choreographing a credible love duet for two men: "It's more to do with dancing than with sexuality. A male dancer, whether he's gay or straight, fits into a relationship with a female partner very happily.
Getting away from that, making a convincing love duet, a romantic, sexual duet, for two men that is comfortable to do and comfortable to watch - I don't know if you can. I've never seen it done."

Well, those of us who've seen Bourne's Swan Lake either in the DVD of the original London production or — with far more impact — live on stage, would say that it HAS been done and done by Bourne himself in the breathtaking and highly erotic duet for the Male Swan and the Prince. But Bourne is working on it: "I have a way of approaching it so as to make it - I hate to say 'acceptable', it's a terrible thing to say - but so that people don't run screaming from the theatre. I let them find their own way with it, take it as far as they want in their own heads."

Bourne chose to adapt an iconic play of young heterosexual love because, despite the incredible success of his Swan Lake, he feared that he hadn't created a true homosexual love story. The Prince was a man but the seducer who brought him out was a mythic animal creature, not another human. In any event, there's a considerable body of critical writing on Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet in particular, that explores the homoerotic subtext in the male-male friendships and dependencies seen in the plays and sonnets.

Bourne will begin improvisatory explorations with his dancers this summer and go into rehearsal early in 2008.


I'm driving up to New Hampshire early tomorrow morning for a meeting that focuses on all the windows in the new house. There are many, many of them — the light in the house should be spectacular. Issues to be discussed are: double glazed or triple glazed?; the material of the exterior window framing; amount of UV and other protection in the glass (the more of those shields, the less solar gain you enjoy from the large array of windows on the south façade of the house). After lunch, we'll visit a Verizon store (they're the dominant internet/cable TV/phone provider in the area) to find out what kind of package they'll put together. I want wireless internet in the house and the fastest connection they can give me in an area that has no fiber optic cables in place at present.

A lot of the weekend will be spent at Symphony Hall. Tomorrow night there's a concert performance of Beethoven's Fidelio (me alone because it's opera) and on Saturday we're both going to a concert by Broadway and cabaret legend, the great Barbara

As I think you were, I was puzzled by Bourne's "gosh a pas de deux for two men; how to do it and not offend teh audience?!?!?--cuz it has never been done before!" thing. Puh-leaze! I saw the Swan Lake, and you know this particular challenge was surmounted quite effectively and affectingly. But I guess he has to somehow not make it not about teh gay. Though, come to think of it, I guess there is no such dodge available here-- is he pumping up interest on the grounds that we will be seeing something unprecendented? I guess that is the angle. He wearies me. Love the work, I am not fond of the marketing.
a little building advice -- even if you're going with "all wireless," I'd recommend that you also redundantly wire every room (or at least the remotest rooms) with ethernet cable (or some kind of cable) "just in case". We did not, and at a certain point, we got very very frustrated with the performance of the wireless router, especially in one part of the house. So we ended up having to run wires after all, which was a lot harder after the plaster was up.

Enjoy! It all sounds like a wonderful adventure!

-- liz
I've been meaning to watch Ugly Betty but one can only spend so much time in front of the idiot tube, and I don't dare measure what that time currently adds up to for me. I've caught an episode here and there though, and enjoyed what I saw, but have resisted adding it to my list or shows to record in my PVR... so far anyway. On the other hand I just watched the first episode of 'The Riches' on FX, and, oh my God, if other episodes are half as good as this first one they've got a masterpiece on their hand. The previews make it look more like comedy than drama, but really, it's the other way around. In any case, catch it if you can. Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver are in it - nuff said.

Will, I completely agree with Anonymous above. Expect the best but prepare for the worst. WiFi still isn't nearly as reliable as it should be. To some extent dealing with it inside your own house is manageable - to some extent - but I would be terrified if my only option for getting Internet service was wirelessly, from a company that's not exactly known for its outstanding technical support. Don't mean to scare you of course :-(
Liz and Scooby--thanks, you're not scaring me but providing just the kind of experiential info that I need. I would never have thought of the problems you describe and will make sure to have both kinds of access, particularly in the new office/studio upstairs.

Mark--yes, we both got the same impression. It's nice to have your voice among my readers and commenters.
She may be a supporter of gay marriage but there still will be a vote.

Perhaps that's a good thing but I still have my fears of this going to a general election and while it may work out for us, it may not.
I was very happy that the Swan Lake was finally released on DVD. I hope they'll do the same with Bourne's other works - especially the Romeo, Romeo.

just a little more on the Swan Lake--- the idea that he did not really depict homosexual desire/love in that outing of SL because of the fantastical/animal/supernatural idea is silly; when it is done with a man and woman it is not depicting desire/love? And, honestly, the black swan was in tight leather too... that was teh sexaay, dishing him up as an object of desire surely, and because of the subsequent dancing with another man and all the rest, the whole thing is made quite avaialable to a homosexual reading--- it is so weird that Bourne makes us have to say these things.
Philistine that I am, I'd never heard about this particular Swan Lake. Does it still get produced? And is the DVD pretty good?
Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake toured the US with a very good company last year at this time. I wouldn't be surprised to see another revival in the future.

The DVD is good, if for no other reason that it preserves the stunning performance of Adam Cooper as the Swan, one of the most exciting and sexiest performances by a male dancer ever.

The disadvantage is that you don't get the visceral thrill of live dance, bodies arrogantly defying gravity, etc, nor the impact of seeing the entire stage picture without the editing eye of the camera. But don't let that get in the way of at least renting it. It was a landmark ballet event and is pretty impressive on its own terms.
i missed the tour of bourne's SL. now reading your review and thoughts makes me yearn for it.

I remember when culture was more than the coagulating factor in my yogurt at breakfast...

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