Piledriver at CHAC

If you think you don’t want to see a play about semi-pro wrestling, one that has an overtly homoerotic subplot, well, to my stunned surprise, you’re wrong.

Last night I was lucky enough to catch Piledriver at the Cap Hill Arts Center. I found it wildly entertaining. Oh, sure, it’s obscene. It’s rife with profanity. It openly represents and explicity discusses gay sex. And there’s a whole lotta body slammin’ going on – after all, it’s about semi-pro wrestling. But tangled in all the showy head banging and theatrical bouncing off the ropes, there’s a good story, rich character development, and loads of laugh out loud humor.

The unlikely hero of the show is the writer. Harvey is a lumpy, aging, ex drag queen with crazy hair who sets up all the story lines around each night’s show. My friend K – who invited me to tag along – is an editor and writer and the two of us cheered like crazy when ever they made writing gags. (I didn’t mention the whole audience particpation thing.) Something that had us both hysterical? A scene where the wrestlers are arguing about the plot line. Harvey interupts with something like:

You don’t like the plot line? You don’t like where things are going? Well, F**K YOU! It’s my show. I’m the writer and you’ll follow the story EXACTLY THE WAY I TELL YOU TO.

Close enough.We were also big fans of this classic bit of ridiculous snark:

Do I look smaller to you? That’s because I’m WALKING AWAY!

The play is funny, raunchy, well staged, well acted, engaging, and, simply, a really good time. But hurry up, it’s only on for two more nights at CHAC. Get tix here.

Web 2.0 Is What, Now? What? Huh?

I have a confession to make, Nonfamousi, and I hope you will not think less of me for it. Here goes…

I have no idea what Web 2.0 is.

There, I’ve said it. Whew.

Look, I’m not a total techno-illiterate. I have a WordPress blog and I use the Performancing Plug-in for Firefox to do my authoring. I use – and love – Flickr. I participate in blogging community sites like this one and BlogHer. I do almost all of my blog reading via RSS. I use Technorati tagging. I know what MySpace and Del.icio.us and Digg are and I know what a lens is. I had a 43Things account for a while, I’ve made a podcast and listened to others. All that technology name dropping aside, I still have no idea what Web 2.0 is.

I tried to read the O’Reilly presentation and the Wikipedia entry about Web 2.0, but I’m also reading Dickens right now and there’s only so much wading through complex language that a person can be expected to do in their free time.

I’m beginning to suspect that Web 2.0 isn’t a real thing. It’s a label that some academic type applied to the social networking phenomenon that’s becoming part of the technology mainstream. “Look, people are talking to each other and sharing ideas via user editable technology! We gotta call that something!” There are whole conferences devoted to Web 2.0. There are papers and marketing initiatives and there are jobs for strategists that will asssist companies with their Web 2.0 plan.

But I do not know what Web 2.0 is.

Does anyone remember when XML was the silver bullet? I remember it very well because XML’s ascendency was followed by a large packet of papers announcing that my stock options had been cancelled and were officially worthless, thank you very much. I’m only mildly bitter about that, but I did learn a thing or two.

Like, one should find out what the technology really is before hitching their wagon to what’s supposed to be the next rising star. So I turn to you, Nonfamousi. Can anyone tell me what Web 2.0 is? My future probably doesn’t depend on my knowing the answer to this question, but I won’t know that until I know what Web 2.0 is.

Angry With Israel

Last night, I rode my bike down to the International District to join some friends for dinner. I crossed paths with Critical Mass, a bike ride comprised of hundreds of cyclists, all spinning up Jackson. It was a beautiful site and I was happy to be out with my own two wheeled friend. At the restaurant, we ate excellent Vietnamese food, had cake, talked about languages, and celebrated our mutual friend’s birthday. It was getting a bit dark and I’d forgotten my lights, so I took off, rolling home under a fading summer sky.

While all that was happening, about a mile away, a man walked in to the Jewish Federation of Seattle and shot six women, killing one. He shot them because he was “angry with Israel.” A man walked in to a building and shot six women because they were – are – Jewish.

I’m angry with Israel too. I’m angry about a lot of things.

I’m angry that people can’t make the distinction between Jews and Israelis.

I’m angry that people can’t make the distinction between governments and individuals.

I’m angry that the US government can’t make the distinction between Iraq and Afghanistan.

I’m angry that Osama bin Laden has somehow managed, though one awful blow, to devolve American society into a culture of fear.

I’m angry that the US government exploits that fear.

I’m angry that the the US government is so embroiled in an endless war that they can’t spare the resources to dedicate to a cease fire.

I’m angry that the rhetoric Israel is using is almost exactly the same that the US adminstration is using. Olmert probably doesn’t even write his own speeches, I’ll bet he just recycles Bush texts, changing Al Qaeda to Hezbollah.

I’m angry that Tony Blair continues to act like George’s lap dog.

I’m angry that Al Gore conceded. Still.

I’m angry that people get all hopped up when oil companies post profits. They’re not state run, people. Get a grip.

I’m angry that we can’t make the connection between oil and war in the Middle East.

I’m angry that people like Dick Cheney have power.

I’m angry that something I was born to – being Jewish, like the color of my eyes or the shape of my feet – is something that someone could use to justify shooting me.

I’m angry that we don’t have gun control.

I’m angry that there are casualties in the Israel-Hezbollah war in my city, half a world away.

“Angry about Israel.”

I’m out of words to describe how angry I am that while I was eating dinner, a man walked in to the Jewish Federation of Seattle and shot six women, killing one.

Stommish Carnival

Stommish Pow Wow

We stumbled across the carnival accidentally – we could see it from the ferry when we came back from Lummi and figured we might as well check it out. The women at the gate told us there was “lots going on, lots of it!” They weren’t kidding. We arrived just in time for the Grand Entry to the Pow Wow.

It’s been a good long time since I’ve been to a Pow Wow. I’m never sure what the correct ettiquitte is around these events – it feels a little bit like crashing a wedding. But we were hungry and everyone was welcoming, so we had salmon and I took pictures. It was a visual feast. (And candidly, I feel like showing off a little, I can’t believe I got these pictures myself.)


Vienna Waits for You

President Bush is scheduled to visit Vienna on the 20-21st of this month and the Austrians are preparing to meet him. This rooftop by the Naschmarkt (“snack” market) is only one part of what the locals have planned for the extremely unpopular leader. Democrats Abroad are also going to be there, along with Cindy Sheehan and other activist organizations.

The organizers state up front that the protests aren’t anti-American, saying that US citizens are paying for the Bush administration’s war politics just like the rest of the world. (My flimsy translation.) The city of Vienna will be pretty much under lock down for the time of the visit, with streets and businesses closed for the duration. Sorry, your kaffeehaus won’t be compensated for loss of income, Herr Ober. (Think WTO, Seattleites.)

I’m sorry I’m not going to be there to stand in solidarity with my compatriots abroad.

People Get Ready

Tuedsday is six-six-oh six, time again for the rapture! Husband mentioned this to me while reading today’s headlines. The first words out of my mouth? “What are we going to wear?” On careful consideration I decided that I was going to stick with what I’m wearing right now – my most comfortable pants, which happen to be cargo pants (handy pockets), a black tank, and a zip front fleece. Layers and comfort are the key the dressing for adventure – and the rapture!
In final preparation, I’m relearning the words to Blondie’s classic 1981 track, remixed here.
See you in hell. I mean that in a GOOD way!

Alas my love, you do me wrong…

Yesterday afternoon the Democratic National Committee called. A nice volunteer somewhere was working the phone lists and trying to squeeze money out of registered Dems for the upcoming campaign. I know the run down all too well. I still feel the pain of the 2004 election. Oh, 2000 was an outrage to be sure; a right seizure of the White House by the courts, but 2004 was a loss, plain and simple. The Democrats couldn’t beat a man who stole the White House and started a war.

“Um, no, I’m not actually ready to give you any money,” I said to the woman on the phone. “Listen, I feel totally let down by the party. In the face of everything that’s happened, it looks to me like Congress has just rolled over and let the Republican leadership wreak havoc on – well, just about everything. Until I feel that the party actually represents my values and my causes, I can’t promise that I’m not going to vote Green in the next election.”

I have, in the past, been a staunchly loyal Democrat. While I do support Green values, I have primarily taken them on as a lifestyle choice, not a political one. But yesterday, as I was talking to the volunteer on the phone, I realized that what I was saying was true. I am thinking about voting Green.

Over the past two years I’ve been rather impressed with Maria Cantwell’s efforts around environmental issues. She was elected in the 2000 race, so it’s concerning that it took her nearly three years to become active on issues that are so important here in the Pacific Northwest. Still, I’d thought she was coming around. But we part ways at the “war”. And she’s really been getting up my nose about gas prices.

My view of Washington State’s political leanings is admittedly skewed. After all, I’m in the liberal ghetto, the heart of it. I still don’t trust that she’s representing the people, though. Our other two voices in Washington, Jim McDermott and Patty Murray, have been consistently against the war – which I believe really IS a partisan issue. But Maria had protestors camping outside her office to plead with her to change her stance.

Cantwell’s response to rising gas prices was to call for anti-gouging legislation. While gas companies are likely guilty of exploiting the situation for their own gain, gas isn’t a state owned concern. I think we’re subject to the capitalist economic laws of supply and demand. If Americans had been paying attention, we’d know that the supply lines in the Middle East were interrupted by the war(s) in Afghanistan (remember Afghanistan?) and Iraq. We’d know that Katrina nailed our supply lines in the gulf. We’d know that China’s demands on the market are diverting resources to the other side of the Pacific. We’d be adding all kinds of other information to the equation about gas prices. Cantwell’s anti-gouging proposals didn’t seem to account for this. And they weren’t accompanied with calls for alternatives.

Cheap gas is not a civil right and I take issue with anyone – politicians or otherwise – who acts as though it is. For perspective on this, insurance rates skyrocketed after 9/11. Where were the calls for anti-price gouging legislation on health insurance?

I discussed all of this with the volunteer on the phone. She suggested that I was not seeing positive action by Democrats because of The Media. “Nope, I’m not buying.” I said. “If I was the kind of person who only watched Fox News, you might have me. But I’m not. I read the alternative press. I seek my news from other sources. I read voting records on the web.” She sighed. “You wouldn’t believe how much I’m hearing this,” she said, diverting from her script. “Well, I hope you’re passing it along. Because I’m telling you, right now, I can’t promise that I will vote Democratic in this upcoming election. I’ll be watching to see what happens, you can guarantee it.”

As self important and tiresome as I am, my paltry vote may not matter one whit. Given that, if I vote for the party and they still let me down, why should I vote for them again? Oh, sure, Patrick Leahy and Ted Kennedy and Jim McDermott are blustering around in Congress, making noise of outrage and disgust. But where’s the action? Sound and fury, boys. Sound and fury. Meanwhile…. Wiretaps. Guantanamo Bay. CIA prisons in Central Europe. Phone records. Civil rights. 46 million uninsured Americans. Haliburton. The Patriot Act. Weapons of Mass Destruction. Donald Rumsfeld. Dick Cheney. George W. Freakin’ Bush. God help us.

Republicans impeached Clinton over a lie about a blow job. Democrats have… what, exactly? I haven’t switched allegiances yet, because if the Dems are ineffective, the Green party is invisible. But the Democrats have not delivered. Where is the fight? I am willing to be convinced that my perception of the Dems as rolling over and showing their bellies to the Republican leadership is wrong, but the party better hurry the hell up. November is not that far away.