Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Shhh ... sales tax

There are legitimate, across-the-aisle-respected economic theories and models and ideologies that shape the modern Republican party -- well, not the clown slaughterhouse of the party's current assault on rational logic and human decency but on the modern party in general -- that can easily be generalized enough to be explained to and understood by an 8-year-old ... not to mention the entirety of Twitter.

Then there are the staggeringly ignorant, lazily belligerent, contemptuously grotesque oversimplifications of Republican economic agendas that permanently disqualify you from every conversation on every topic ever even if you whisper them only to a dead elephant.

Grover Norquist -- a Harvard Business School MBA who founded something he calls Americans for Tax Reform -- is apparently that dumb.

Ladies. PLEASE.

I know my new all-natural, all-masculinity mustache makes me engine-revving catnip to everyone whose mustacheless life is starving for a smoldering swoon or ten, but notice the background -- if you can tear your eyes away from my suave-1920s-bank-robber lip -- in this selfie. It's shoes. Hundreds of shoes. Organized by color. SHOES. Do you know what that means? It means I'm homoshoeual. My passions and emotions lie first with shoes. Chicks are like a distant 46th on the list. So you, me and my romance-novel bad-boy mustache? It just wouldn't work out.

But my dark-mysterious-stranger mustache and I can't stop you from swooning at a respectable distance. We know you can't help yourselves.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

What the hell do gay people have to be so proud of?

We’re proud because despite relentless persecution everywhere we turn—when organized religion viciously attacks and censures and vilifies us in the name of selective morality, when our families disown us, when our elected officials bargain away our equality for hate votes, when entire states codify our families into second-class citizenship, when our employers fire us, when our landlords evict us, when our police harass us, when our neighbors and colleagues and fellow citizens openly insult and condemn and mock and berate and even beat and kill us—we continue to survive.

We’re proud because pride is the opposite of shame—and despite what systemic bigotry and the ugliest sides of organized religion work so hard to make the world believe, there is nothing shameful about being gay.

We’re proud because—thanks to the incredible bravery shown by gay people who lived their lives openly sometimes to the point of being defiantly in the decades before us—we can live our lives more and more openly at home, at work, with our families, on social media … and even on national television.

We're proud because we've worked tirelessly to achieve legal equality in marriage, adoption, parental rights and many other ways that make our families recognized as Families in our states and across our country. And though we have more to accomplish—and though bigotry disguised as morality and religion and the supposed mandates of constituents works and sometimes succeeds at eroding our newfound equalities—we have the momentum and intelligence and drive and humanity and ability to keep driving back the hate as we continue to drive forward with both our newfound and future equalities.

We’re proud because through our tireless work and the prevailing powers of common sense and compassion, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and Proposition Hate and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act have collapsed in on their illogical, immoral, meritless foundations—and new legislative attempts to dehumanize us gain little to no traction or visibility and soon die on the trash heap as well.

We’re proud because we are smart enough to overcome the self-loathing that our venomous, mindlessly theocratic society forces on us, and we have the power to stop its destructive cycle by fighting back and by making intelligent choices involving sex and drugs and money and relationships and the way we live our lives -- and by using our lives as examples of success and humanity and love that other gay people can respect and emulate and achieve more and more easily.

We’re proud because after all we’ve been through, the world increasingly continues to notice and respect us and enthusiastically appropriate the often fabulous culture we’ve assembled from the common struggles and glorious diversity of our disparate lives.

We’re proud because especially this month and always all year we’re celebrating with parties and street fairs and parades overflowing with drag queens, leather queens, muscle queens, dad-bod queens, glitter queens, you’d-never-even-know-they-were queens queens and even straight-but honorary-queens-for-a-day queens, and together we can see beyond the pride in the parades of our lives and together celebrate the underlying Pride in the parades of our lives.

Quite simply, we’re proud that we have so incredibly much to be proud of.

If he got paid a nickel every time he tweeted this, he could eliminate the national debt and pay off Putin by Thursday

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sitzprobe (noun)

1. A seated rehearsal that merges orchestra, vocals and sometimes body microphones for the first time in the production of a musical; 2. A vaguely naughty-sounding German word that though it may seem so at first reading doesn't really lend itself to clever sexual innuendo and don't even think you're going to come up with the elusive and brilliantly definitive "probe" joke because millions of very talented and clever and profoundly disturbed actors and singers before you have exhausted every last possibility a thousand times over; 3. THE COOLEST REHEARSAL OF EVERY SHOW OF YOUR LIFE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE; 4. I'm wearing my sporty-cool lightning-bolt shirt today; 5. That has nothing to do with Sitzprobe but I didn't have any other place to fit it in today.

It's time for man-boy and his traitors to shift to other accommodations involving the words "lifetime" and "prison"

Flashback Friday: Personal Best Edition

I hit my yet-to-be-beaten personal best (1:56:03, baby!) in the 2009 Chicago 13.1 Marathon (which is a weird rebranding name for half marathon). My goal was to finish under 2:00 and I'm STILL four minutes early to everything because of this race. 

Fun fact: I ran so fast in part because a friend told me to take a bunch of Advil before the race so I wouldn't feel any pain. And it worked! Until the Advil wore off and I discovered I'd crippled myself FOR LIFE. But at least I figured out how to not pay for any pictures of my tendonal immolation.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Still not quite straight

I'm pretty sure that standing in the street for the last four minutes trying to center my head, the TCR logo on the marquee and the Palladian window above it all in a vertical alignment while artfully cropping myself to look handsome and buff and managing to take this picture without a car zooming by behind me or my hand shaking because I have yet to eat dinner was harder than the entire three weeks it took to learn and clean the tap number.

Anyway, we open in a week. Here in this gorgeous historic theater. With a cast of people I positively cherish. And a combined level of talent that will blow you away.

Come see our little show. You won't regret it. Get your tickets here.

CedaRound: Checking the architecture

It would be irresponsible and reckless of me to have picked a new bank when I moved back to Cedar Rapids based on its aesthetics -- as a random example, the former Merchants National Bank, which was built in 1926 in a neo-classical style with a tripartite exterior that allowed for a gilded three-story atrium, though none of that has any influence on which financial institution I trust to hold and protect my entire life savings -- but JUST LOOK AT THIS LOBBY.

Uh oh. Something's not right.

Please notice that I did not make a gratuitous pee joke

I took the morning off for my six-month neurology appointment, which is in the same building as this helpful sign. I'm -- either cynically or proactively -- always worried my doctors will run late, so for the big appointments I always take a half day of vacation for my visits. But my doctor was right on time and now I have a lot of time to kill before work. So I'm following the arrows on this sign to get myself a refreshing beverage and we'll just have to wait and see which arrow I follow after that.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

CedaRound: Kingston Square

The trump trash from tonight's rally has pretty much cleared itself, though I did just hear a "grab her by the pussy!" yelled proudly to nobody from a passing car as I walked to mine after rehearsal.

Speaking of, I'd grabbed the first spot I saw when I got downtown tonight, which ended up being about six blocks from the theater in Kingston Square, a long-neglected neighborhood that's making a slow but gorgeous recovery after drowning in almost 10 feet of water in the 2008 flood. There is a layered boxiness that visually links the architecture in the area, from the 1911 People's Bank Building designed by Louis Sullivan in his fortressy "jewel box" style to the post-war brutalist commercial spaces clad in corrugated concrete to the new mixed-use residential construction profiled with broad crenellations and proud cornices. There is a relentless horizontalness to the neighborhood's rooflines and setbacks, and someone somewhere in the neighborhood's recent revitalization decided to trace all that horizontal geometry with simple, bright white lights. And the effect at night is at once austere, majestic and stunning. So stunning, in fact, that I go out of my way to drive through the neighborhood every time I'm in the area at night. I've stopped and parked and wandered around with my camera a couple times to try and capture the magic, but I could never find the right spot to capture the full expanse of everything I find so beautiful. When I got to my car tonight, though, I discovered I was in an ideal location to capture most of it, which -- since I've finally accepted that all that grand horizontalness is just too horizontal to squeeze into one picture -- is still perfectly breathtaking.

So here, after almost a year of attempts to find the perfect angle, is why I always reroute my nighttime trips through downtown Cedar Rapids to make sure I approach the area of 1st Street and 3rd Avenue SW from every angle:

The Trump rally stink hangs over my entire downtown tonight like a fog of one-tooth spittle

OF COURSE there's a goddamn confederate flag

Because American "patriots" ALWAYS support an anti-American army that was defeated by America.

Do. Not. Even.

A pseudohuman who barely qualifies as a rudimentary intellect -- much less a functional president -- is clogging my downtown in a choking effluvium of losers (his favorite projection word!), half-wits and fiercely proud troglodytes for a rally tonight. So I'm wearing my pseudoscience T-shirt in a heartfelt tribute to them that will ironically soar miles over their echo-chamber heads.

I have rehearsal directly across the street from the man-boy rally. There are children in our show and we're all on high alert to protect them from the belligerent trash that is already littering our streets. A friend of mine was assaulted by a group of these rock dwellers as they started to coagulate downtown just hours ago. THE MINDSET OF IGNORANCE AND THE CULTURE OF PROVOCATION THIS HUMAN FILTH FOSTERS HAS ALREADY RESULTED IN THE ASSAULT OF A FRIEND OF MINE WHO WAS JUST WALKING TO HIS CAR FROM WORK.

Fair warning, trump trash: I am bigger than you, I am smarter than you, I loathe you and everything you breathe for, and if you start ANYTHING with any of my friends, show personnel, show kids or anyone else who actually matters tonight, I will finish it for you. I am not a violent person and I will contain the fury you fire up in me tonight unless you even try to start something. Then there are no rules.

You do NOT want to find out how serious I am about this.

Come for the locusts. Stay for the plagues.

Darkening skies. Reddening hats. Blood running from the faucets. Collective intelligence flushing into the sewer. "Material Girl" on the Spotify.

The trumpfant terrible is clearly on his way.

Ain't nobody gonna be grabbing this one while you-know-who's in town today