Saturday, February 02, 2013

The Filming of Godspell (1973) (Part 2/3)

Part of a really interesting documentary.

"Godspell" - Woodland Opera House

Left: Erik Catalan.

A reasonably-large of musical theater fans were at WOH Friday night to see 'Godspell'.

When I was in high school, I believe we saw the movie more than fifteen times in the theater (we really liked the movie.  Maybe too much!)

This is the first time I've seen the Babel prologue to this show. It was well-done by the WOH cast - well-performed - but as an academic type I have to say I don't think I like its underlying message. I think it means that I'm not a Christian, at some deep level.

Left: Hannah Wallace.

The cast members that impressed me most with their energy and vitality were Alex Cesena, Quentin Carbajal, and Hannah Wallace.

Left: Eimi Taormina, and well-wishers.

Friday, February 01, 2013

New Mexico Weather Forecast Looking Abruptly Less Optimistic

It's tough in the desert.

Beyoncé Is The Best Pop Singer Ever, And Don't Forget It!

In the second video she discusses the Inaugural kerfuffle, and all that.

Black History Month This Morning On "Good Day Sacramento"

Here in this morning's Good Day Sacramento piece on Black History Month, Tyehimba Kokayi, his son Osayande and a third person (Lion's Den Entertainment) play in the background as Good Day Sacramento's Courtney Dempsey tours the art exhibit at 40 Acres Art Gallery, near Sacramento's Guild Theater.

Lately, Tyehimba has been working (with others) on skits suitable for (if I'm not mistaken) elementary and middle school classes that want to have a segment on African-American history. Let me know if you have a need for such a show. I believe their rehearsals are nearly-complete, and they are ready to tour.

Trouble In UBFFT Land

I don't fully understand - I didn't quite feel the diss. But the Internet is a big place, and if an alternate concept can prosper elsewhere, we all benefit. Still, like Rodney King said, "Can't we all just get along?":
hello dear awesome Baddies: We here at UBBFT always have and always will since our beginning over three years ago have made this a open group where you are free to post anything and everything here regarding the show. We like to think that this group isnt like other groups where you are relegated to a small portion of our Facebook page to the right and only the Crew get to post anything of relevance on the main timeline. Thats just not us. ... Unfortunately some past members didnt think so and continually dissed our tours. Thats fine, thats their opinion but to us if you wanna diss what we do, then get up from behind that computer and do what we have done and if you think you can do better than please do it. ... But again and like we always say if this group isnt for you we wont be upset if you leave and find another joint to go to. But please you dont have to be caustic about it if you do decide to leave.

Things Girls Lie About

Treating Guns And Computers As Weapons

There was a thought-provoking article recently regarding similarities between treating guns and computers as weapons:
And then you have a situation very much like the current gun control debate. On one side you will have mostly corporate and government interests who would love to see the neckbeards controlled better. There could be some popular support too, it depends on how directly black-hat hackers impact everyday life. For example, if an Anonymous-like group caused a major blackout, or knocked out the credit card processing infrastructure for a couple of days, lots of people would sit up and take notice. On the other side you will have computer people who will be in absolute despair that their freedom to tinker and invent is being taken away. And that won’t be any more comprehensible to the general public than the despair of gun owners, (once any new regulations pass), is to me.

NRA's Flip-Flop

The NRA used to be all about background checks, but since the millennium its policy changed. So, what's different now? My theory is that there is now just too much money to be made in drugs-for-arms sales. There is a tide of guns from unregulated Texas gun shows to Mexican drug cartels: the infamous Los Zetas cartel, in particular. The reason the GOP got all upset about Fast and Furious isn't because the U.S. carelessly sent guns to Mexican drug gangs, but because the guns went to the Sinaloa Cartel, the deadly arch-enemy of Los Zetas. This de facto alliance between the GOP and the crazed decapitator squads of northeast Mexico is just too lucrative.
From the Huffington Post, in June of that same year, the NRA also took out an ad supporting background checks at gun shows:
The message of the NRA’s 1999 campaign was “Be Reasonable,” and the organization bought ads in top newspapers, including USA Today, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, to make its case.
“We believe it’s reasonable to provide for instant background checks at gun shows, just like gun stores and pawn shops,” the USA Today ad reads.
“We’ve always supported instant background checks,” LaPierre sat at a Friends of NRA event in May 1999, HuffPo reports.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Martin Solveig ft Dragonette - Big In Japan

I like their playful videos!

Weather Forecast Looking Brighter For New Mexico

Thank God for the ITCZ! What would we do without it? The source of the best desert Southwest water!

It looks like we're going to have a repeat of the recent storm system, with the only difference that instead of crossing Arizona it's forecast to pass through southern New Mexico, starting Tuesday evening, February 5th (at least, for now, that's what the forecast says - things can always change, of course).

If this forecast holds, New Mexico will get more precipitation than last time. Last time, precipitation falls were quite irregular. Some places got almost nothing, but it snowed for nearly 48 hours straight in the Jemez' Valles Caldera. This time, precipitation may be greater, and more widespread.

(The ITCZ is the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, a strip of rising, humid equatorial air located just north of the Equator. It's very far away from New Mexico, but the state really, really needs it to prosper.)

Gertrude Zachary Passes On

Famous Albuquerque jewelry merchant Gertrude Zachary has passed on:
Zachary, 75, one of Albuquerque’s most colorful and dynamic business leaders, was known for her jewelry and her quirky antique store.

In 1976 she opened a jewelry manufacturing operation on Second Street, and later three large stores that sold her jewelry. The company employs 38. Zachary’s daughter, Erica Hatchell, will continue in her role as COO, which she has held for 21 years, Griffin said.
Here is an interesting article about her "Castle":
Ms. Zachary's home, across from a shuttered restaurant and abutting the parking lot of a raucous bar, is the only apparent residence in the desolate neighborhood. Lush blue-green velvet curtains and centuries-old door and window frames overlook parking lots, an overpass and a billboard advertising Ms. Zachary's antique and jewelry business. Ms. Zachary's daughter, Erica Hatchell, who lives in a more affluent area, said her mother couldn't be dissuaded from building here. "Nobody else would have made that decision," she said.

"I like downtown," said Ms. Zachary, 73, noting that cities such as Paris and New York have homes in industrial areas. Married and divorced three times, she lives in her estate with her Shih Tzu named Zipper.
I went to high school with a girl named Cindy Zachary. In my imagination, I always linked the two, but I have no idea if they were related, or not.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Time To Phase Cats Out

They are just too dangerous:
And this morning, Nature Communications published a large analysis estimating how many animals are killed by cats annually in the US: 1.4-3.7 billion birds and 6.9-20.7 billion mammals each year.

Let me repeat: every year BILLIONS of birds and mammals are killed by free-ranging domestic house cats, Felis catus. And millions of reptiles and amphibians on top of that.
This is not a cue for you to pat Fluffy on the head and congratulate her for being such a “natural little killer.” These data are no joke. Domestic cats are on the IUCN’s list of the top 100 World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species for their ability to decimate prey populations. Those razor-sharp claws strike the hardest on islands, where animal populations are relatively confined. A 2011 review found that, on islands, cats are the primary cause for at least 14% of bird, mammal, and reptile extinctions and the principal threat to almost 8% of critically endangered animals.

Interesting Exchange On Guns

Wasted Advice

They will never get it:
From the Hispanic Leadership Network, a conservative group offering advice to Republicans on how to use "tonally sensitive" language when talking about immigration reform:
Don't use phrases like 'send them all back,' 'electric fence,' 'build a wall along the entire border'....Don't use the word 'illegals' or 'aliens.' Don't use the term 'anchor baby'....Don't characterize all Hispanics as undocumented and all undocumented as Hispanics.

Earliest Income Tax Filing Ever, Today

Gotta get that refund. It looks like it's going to be an unpleasant, turbulent year, in some respects. Litigation is not my forte, but there is no choice. As soon as I can go public, I will, and lay waste to the terrain.

It's A Start

FOX News suffers:
In January, Fox News had its worst primetime ratings since 2001 in the all-important age demographic of 25-54, according to new Nielsen data. Furthermore, its total day ratings for the age group fell to their lowest levels since 2008. The grim news for the conservative cable network was gleefully publicized by liberal rival MSNBC, which boasted a 20 percent boost in the 25-54 demographic from the previous year, and an 11 percent climb in primetime.

What happened? While some liberal commentators would like to see Fox's decline as evidence of a leftward shift in public opinion, coinciding with President Obama enjoying his highest favorability ratings in three years, the truth is probably simpler. Conservative viewers in January — participating in a collective version of see no evil, hear no evil — likely passed on watching President Obama's inauguration, a ratings bonanza for MSNBC. Fox has suffered similar ratings declines during other big Democratic events.

It's also important to keep the latest development in context. As Katherine Fung and Jack Mirkinson at The Huffington Post note, "Fox News still had nine out of the top 10 programs. It has spent 11 consecutive years as the top-rated news channel. Its 6 a.m. show drew almost double the ratings of CNN's top-ranking primetime show."

Hope Things Went Well Yesterday

They had to virtually shut down a portion of Albuquerque's downtown for the recent filming.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Follies" Closes - DMTC

What Hip Hop Taught Me

Part 2 is fun too.

RIP, Joanna Johnson

Pam brings word that Joanna Johnson passed away a couple of weeks ago. She did only one show at DMTC: "Sweet Charity" in January, 1998, but she danced in other musical theater productions around Sacramento.

I remember Joanna told an amusing story about a stint playing the sexy assistant in a Reno magic act. She pulled it off every night with aplomb, but just couldn't turn on the sexy, one night, when she knew her father was in the audience. She just couldn't!

Joanna was a real sweetheart, and will be missed.

Buick Celebrates Albuquerque

Kind of gauzy and ridiculous, but Buick celebrates Albuquerque.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Andrew Drives His Little Red Car Off A Cliff

Andrew writes:
I drove my car off a cliff at Diamond Harbour a week ago!!! Yikes!! It was TERRIFYING and I am lucky to be alive. Saved by a small tree at the rear and a low metal fence at the front.
I will miss that little red car. He lent it to me in 2008, and I drove from Christchurch to Greymouth, and to Paparoa Nat'l Park, and back.

I always felt slightly-guilty that instead of immediately shooing this Arthur's Pass kea away from the car as it started dismembering the upholstery, I took a photo instead. Now, guilt absolved! Like all material things eventually become, the punctured upholstery is now just a memory!

John Gray Passes On

Steve calls with news that John Gray passed away. From the DMTC Master Cast List, here is his record of DMTC contributions:

California has lost one of the best Landscape Designers. John (Jay) Gray passed away Jan. 18, 2013, at Modesto Memorial Hospital after a month’s battle with infectious diseases and kidney failure.

John was born in Oakland on Feb. 19, 1947, to John and Maryann Gray of Sonora. Raised in Sonora, he graduated from Sonora High School in 1964, and went on to graduate from UC Davis in 1969 with a degree in plant science.

His father’s ancestry was Scottish and John spent summers in the ’80s getting to know the people of Scotland and their gardens. He conducted garden tours there and in Ireland, and also managed to get in an occasional round of golf and dip a fly line in one of the many famous streams. He often said that “Going back to Scotland every summer was like going home, a déjà vu of sorts. Everything became more alive and recent and I enjoyed every moment.” He will be missed by his friends here and across the pond.

He leaves two sons, Jedidiah of Washington, D.C., and Zachary of Manteca, and a daughter Isabel of Manteca; sister Janice Moon of San Andreas; and cousin Lynn Bahten of Jamestown. Also living are his three former wives; Sue Gray of Davis, Anne Lincoln of Davis and Rebecca Gray of Ceres.

So, Now Gorbachev Blames The Collapse Of The Soviet Union On Chernobyl

True, Chernobyl was a big blow:
That might sound like an audacious proposal, but it’s been advanced by none other than the man who oversaw the dismantling of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev. He states flatly that the Chernobyl explosion was “perhaps the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union.” According to Gorbachev, the Chernobyl explosion was a “turning point” that “opened the possibility of much greater freedom of expression, to the point that the system as we knew it could no longer continue.” Gorbachev introduced his policy of glasnost, or “openness” of ideas and expression, not long before the Chernobyl explosion. It was his remedy for widespread censorship and government secrecy. To Gorbachev, Chernobyl proved the wisdom and necessity of glasnost. The explosion and attendant tumult, he claims, “made absolutely clear how important it was to continue the policy of glasnost.”
Nevertheless, there was a lot more going on than Chernobyl (the U.S. arms buildup was just a blip, but it diverted some resources). Nevertheless, a collapse of the system was probably inevitable. The True Prophet, of course, was Andrei Amalrik, who wrote "Will The Soviet Union Survive Until 1984?" in 1969!:
I have undertaken this study for three compelling reasons.

The first is simply my interest in Russian history. Almost ten years ago, I wrote a work on Kievan Rus. Due to circumstances beyond my control, however, I was forced to interrupt my researches on the origin of the Imperial Russian State; now, as a historian, I hope to be compensated for that loss by being a witness to the end of that state.

Second, I have been able to observe closely the efforts to create an independent social movement in the Soviet Union a development that in itself is very interesting and deserves at least a preliminary assessment.

And third, I have been hearing and reading a great deal about the so-called "liberalization" of Soviet society. This idea may be formulated as follows: The situation is better now than it was ten years ago; therefore ten years from now it will be better still. I will attempt to show here why I disagree with this notion. I must emphasize that my essay is based not on scholarly research but only on observation. From an academic point of view, it may appear to be only empty chatter. But for Western students of the Soviet Union, at any rate, this discussion should have the same interest that a fish would have for an ichthyologist if it suddenly began to talk.
Amalrik was wrong about some details - how could one be entirely right about something so complicated? - but he saw it all coming, and should be honored for his insights:
Amalrik was incorrect in some of his predictions, such as a coming military collision with China, and the collapse of the Soviet Union occurred in 1991, not 1984. He also failed to predict that he himself would not survive 1980. Correct was his argument that: views the present "liberalization" as the growing decrepitude of the regime rather than its regeneration, then the logical result will be its death, which will be followed by anarchy."
Amalrik predicted that when the breakup of the Soviet empire came, it would take one of two forms. Either power would pass to extremist elements and the country would "disintegrate into anarchy, violence, and intense national hatred," or the end would come peacefully and lead to a federation like the British Commonwealth or the European Common Market.  As 1984 drew nearer, Amalrik revised the timetable but still predicted that the Soviet Union would eventually collapse.

Predictions of the Soviet Union's impending demise were discounted by many, if not most, Western academic specialists, and had little impact on mainstream Sovietology.  Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky described that "in 1984 KGB officials, on coming to me in prison " when Amalrik's essay was mentioned, "laughed at this prediction. 'Amalrik is long dead', they said, 'but we are still very much present.' "Of those few who foresaw the fall of the Soviet Union, including Andrei Amalrik, author Walter Laqueur argued in 1995 that they were largely accidental prophets, possessors of both brilliant insight into the regime's weaknesses and even more brilliant luck.
I, for one, don't believe in brilliant luck. Amalrik saw, and understood, when almost no one else did. A true giant!

Southwestern Water Muscle

Times are getting desperate:
This month, Texas asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its complaint that New Mexico has been diverting water it is obligated to send downstream under the 75-year-old Rio Grande Compact.

By allowing its residents to sink nearby wells and pump water from the river, "New Mexico has changed the conditions that existed in 1938 when the compact was executed," the Texas complaint charges.

The dispute centers on the Rio Grande Project, a system of dams and canals that impounds water at the Elephant Butte and Caballo reservoirs in New Mexico and delivers it to farmers in southern New Mexico and West Texas. The compact among Colorado, New Mexico and Texas settled years of litigation by establishing a formula for allocating the river's water to various users.

"All we're trying to do is protect the project and its users," says Pat Gordon, Texas' representative on the Rio Grande Compact Commission. "There's been a lot of tension for a lot of years. It seems that it's gotten progressively worse."

For one thing, he says, more than 2,500 wells have been drilled below Elephant Butte since the compact was signed. The wells cause water to flow from the river into the adjoining underground aquifer, he says, reducing the amount of water available for the irrigation network.

...Sarah Bond, an assistant New Mexico attorney general, denied that her state had changed its interpretation of the accounting and delivery of water under the compact.

"We are in compact compliance," Bond said in emailed comments. Referring to Texas' request pending before the high court, she added, "We would not speculate on any 'true motives' for the Supreme Court action. It would appear they want more water delivered to them than their compact entitlement."

...Charles DuMars, a prominent water law specialist and former University of New Mexico law professor, says the dispute "has been brewing for a long time." For years, New Mexico did not regulate groundwater pumping below Elephant Butte and only stopped issuing new well permits in 1980, he says.

...Water issues are taking on added urgency as hotter, drier conditions afflict Western states with their burgeoning urban populations. The Supreme Court agreed this month to hear another lawsuit from Texas over water — by a water district against Oklahoma. At issue is whether the Tarrant Regional Water District in northeastern Texas can use water supplies in Oklahoma.

In New Mexico, years of drought have left Elephant Butte water levels perilously low, and the mountains in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado are seeing lower-than-normal snowpack. Flow in the Rio Grande near Santa Fe this spring is projected to be just 47% of the 1981-2010 average.

Australian Tide Of Wind-Whipped Sea Foam

Just one of many amazing videos!

'I'm Different' - A Night At Blush

Blush Night Club

On Saturday night, I thought it might be fun to check out the nightclub scene on the K Street Mall. Last time, I went to K Street at night, in mid-July, I was intrigued by the scene at K-Bar.

Nevertheless, I arrived too late to easily get into the majority of the five or six clubs on K Street. Instead, intrigued by the Nicki Minaj tune bleeding out of the doors, and by the much smaller line, I ended up at Blush Ultralounge.

An Ultralounge differs from other lounges by being smaller, and a bit more pretentious. What made this Ultralounge special was that it appeals primarily to a black crowd. Well, what's the point of all that hip-hop-oriented dance-type exercise at Pepper Von's if not for moments like this?

I tried to figure out the scene. The crowd was only about 10% white. I was clearly the eccentric here. When I presented my ID to the security guards at the door and got the obligatory pat down, they smiled.

The dance floor was bumpin' with 2 Chainz' "I'm Different", which struck me as a suitable theme song for me this night. I exchanged pleasantries with two ladies who fit the classification found in every club: Friends of the DJ. I watched another young woman whom I thought might fit another stereotype - Insecure White Girl - but soon realized she was Insecure White Girl Who Wasn't Really All That Insecure. Fellow with nice grill beamed at my dancing. Talked with a few. Danced with a few. Had fun, but there was always a wariness.

It was a 2 Chainz night. The dance floor also rocked with "Birthday Song" (All I Want For My Birthday Is A Big Booty Ho).

Interestingly, I don't think they played 2 Chainz' latest "Fuckin' Problems", which strikes me as the better song. And despite the language, popular too, if I'm not mistaken (which I probably am, since 'I'm Different').

1984, And The Wall Street Journal

Unfortunately, this was inevitable once Murdoch bought WSJ:
One of the most discouraging recent developments, then, is what James Fallows calls WSJ harmonization:
that the WSJ's news coverage, which for decades has seemed independent from the Journal's editorial pages, is increasingly conforming with the editorial line. My China-beat buddies will recognize the term "harmonization" for this reining-in of unauthorized views.
When I first started reading the WSJ in 1980, I was startled to discover that the reporting was first-rate, objective, and not infrequently compatible with liberal interpretations, even while the editorial pages were slightly to the right of Attila the Hun. There was obviously a firewall in place to let reporters work without fear or favor from editorial, and the result was really solid, reliable reporting -- presumably because that's what the hard-headed businesspeople readers wanted.
Fallows is now documenting changes suggesting:
•Hypothesis: Under the ownership of Rupert Murdoch and the editorship of Robert Thomson, the Journal is deliberately bringing its news operations into closer alignment with its editorial views.
•Sub-hypothesis: You don't see this shift in the line-by-line content of the stories themselves but rather in the headlines, subheads, and placement of the stories in the paper. That is, we're looking at editors' work rather than reporters'.
This is very worrying, because it suggests that not even Murdoch, Ailes, et al., are alive to the political realities. As Paul Krugman said about Mitt Romney's 47% speech, this is what happens when the Inner Party believes the prolefeed. As the WSJ is "harmonized" with Fox News, it will become harder for the business community to chart a course away from Republican Party orthodoxy, and to realize that maybe it's time to have always had a different approach to Eastasia.

Meanwhile, New Mexico Continues To Suffer

That very promising southern storm dropped 0.11 inches of precipitation in Albuquerque. Sigh. 0.17 inches in Santa Fe.

Things were better in Arizona. 1.21 inches in Phoenix!

Meanwhile, there will be another shot in regards to a similar southern storm, in eight to ten days.

Tropical Cyclone Oswald Rakes Australia's East Coast

Trying to wrap my mind around this disaster. (I haven't been paying attention, and look what happens!)

Rainfall at Mt. Glorious over last 24 hours: 406 mm - 16 inches. UNBELIEVABLE! I can't even picture that! Indescribably wet, on steep slopes!

Not surprisingly, everything from Bundaberg on south is either swamped, or about to get swamped. It's even flooding in Warwick! The Condamine River is in flood, yet again (when I saw it in 2006, it had nearly dried up). The poor, battered Lockyer Valley is getting rebattered!

Alerts everywhere:

•Sydney rainfall totals could hit 150 millimetres
•Wind speeds in Sydney could reach 100km/h
•Brisbane braces for flooding
•Flights cancelled at Sydney Airport
•Drivers urged to avoid travel

...More than 500 Lismore households are preparing to evacuate as heavy rain from ex-tropical Oswald cyclone brings potentially severe flooding to the region.

...Areas surrounding Mullumbimby, in far northern NSW, were drenched in more than 400 millimetres of rain in the 24 hours to 9am, while Bellingen recorded almost 300 millimetres and Coffs Harbour about 200 millimetres in the same time.

...The same weather system is causing an extraordinary flood crisis in Queensland, as cities and towns across the state go under water.

Dramatic rescues were under way in Bundaberg, where the city’s worst flood on record left dozens of people trapped on rooftops. At least 2000 Bundaberg properties are flooded.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for people in north Bundaberg, and some other low-lying parts of the city.

The communities of Gympie and Maryborough are also flooding, while a major flood crisis is developing in the Lockyer Valley, where 19 lives were lost in the state's 2011 floods.

Brisbane and Ipswich are bracing for flooding expected on Monday night, with further flood peaks expected on Tuesday and Wednesday.

So far, three flood deaths have been confirmed in Queensland.

Mr Sharpe said one place in the Gold Coast hinterland had recorded an incredible 500 millimetres of rain in less than a day.