I'm a terrible blogger...

...so you shouldn't expect many posts here. Here's a list of places I'm probably updating more frequently than my LJ:

  • Twitter. I know, I know. But if it works for me, why fight it?

  • My website. Which is wiki-based, so it automagically updates when I change something in my public wiki. Click on the second-to-last link to see what's changed lately.

  • Tor.com. Mostly recaps of the monthly KGB Fantastic Fiction readings and occasional musings on SF theatre or culture.

“Every man’s fantasy becomes his worst nightmare.”

As I mentioned, I’ve been trying out the Twitter thing. Shockingly, embarrassingly, even, I…really like it. While I theoretically agree with everything ktempest has to say about the ephemeralness of the medium, I've been sucked in anyway, maybe because I associate with the sort of people that tend towards complete, witty sentences and constantly teeter near the 140-character maximum.

The thing is, though, I’m a lousy enough blogger that Twitter may be your best source for new content from me, so I'm going to go against my better judgment and re-use some of it here. Consequently: under the cut, if you want it, is a Collapse ) If this is remotely of interest to any of you, I’ll try to send a summary once or twice a week. If it's not, you can feel free to spew a bunch of invective at me—or just avoid looking behind the cut.

Oh. I never do this, but since I was posting anyway, and we're all heading to Readercon in three days, I might as well clue you in on my programming schedule. I'm surprised I even have a schedule, since until a week or two ago I was only in the reserve corps; but now I'm on four panels. This all happened relatively quickly, and I hold Readercon programming in immense esteem, so I’m going through an abbreviated version of my standard “Good lord, why did I think I had anything intelligent to say aboutthat?” cycle. But I’ve done enough conventions by now to know that I'll calm down and figure it out eventually. Anyway, Collapse )

I'll be sharing my room with Brian Slattery, who—totally unrelated to how much I adore his fiction—is one of my favorite people in the world. He's also a rare presence at conventions (and on the internet), so please do let me introduce you if you happen to run across us.

I sincerely hope that this won't be the most egregious set of recycled content you’ll see all day, and look forward to seeing a bunch of you in Burlington.
  • Current Music
    Beirut, St. Apollonia

Experiments in Brevity, Part 2

Okay, so that last outing was obviously a failure. Perhaps this one will fare a bit better, though I have no intention of keeping up that level of activity—does everyone get that punch drunk when they start up a Twitter account? I’m spending the holiday weekend in Washington, DC/College Park, MD with current and former members of HRSFA (I’m not one, but I mooned around Vericon so much during college that Tom eventually took pity on me), which should be a good test case.

By the way: they asked me for some bio information for a brief talk I’ll be doing at Clarion Prime when I’m out in San Diego for CCI, so I cleaned up the relevant sections of my public wiki (which will theoretically also be incorporated into my new web page, whenever the heck that happens) and gathered them into this page here. Probably of most interest is my travel schedule—which puts me at Readercon, SDCC, and WorldCon in the space of four weeks; I’m not stressed out about that at all—but there is also some information about the sorts of submissions I’d be most excited about seeing. They tell me it is professionally inadvisable to post such things publicly, but I’m afraid I just cannot see the harm in it.
  • Current Music
    The Ting Tings, "Great DJ"

“I am not one of those women who can stand things.”

Alright, I suck. We’re going back in time a week.

The first time they ran Free Comic Book Day I was in college, with enough idle geeks in my environs that I could justify organizing a trip to all of Manhattan’s major comic book stores. This hasn't been feasible for awhile, and this time the comics wound up being incidental to the mission of flyering for MoCCA (I picked up a bagful, of course, but this was at Forbidden Planet, where they were dispensing mostly superhero comics that I didn’t much care about—which ought to teach me to go straight to Rocketship next year). We got rid of all of our fliers before too long, netting some positive responses from anyone who actually looked at them, and then I headed uptown for a home-cooked CUSFS banquet. Going back to college? Still weird.

Sunday was a theatre day with the parents that wound up encompassing both the dregs and the heights of the New York theatre scene. Our matinee was The New Century, the last show in our Lincoln Center Theater subscription. I disliked it enough that I’m pretty sure it’s knocked something else off my list of the ten worst shows I've ever seen, and we’re probably talking over 600 of ‘em by now. Granted, plenty of the audience—and a lot of reviewers, but New York theatre reviewers are hopeless—seemed to be enjoying themselves, but that almost made it worse: jokes about broad gay stereotypes are bad enough when they're aimed at audiences that will understand that they're jokes, but are vaguely creepy when most of the people watching are straight old people from New Jersey. Probably the show's only redeeming quality was Jane Houdyshell, who can't help but inject some humanity into whatever she's in.

But the day was a net gain thanks to The Sound and the Fury (April Seventh, 1928), an Elevator Repair Service show at the New York Theatre Workshop that’s grounded in a word-for-word enactment of the first part of The Sound and the Fury. It is a living example of theatre’s transformative powers that a direct literary adaptation could yield something so beautifully done and weird and funny and involving, one of those shows that teaches you how to watch it as you go. I immediately wanted to see it again, but this is why theatre both gives and takes in its ephemerality: given a fast-approaching close date and the droves of people lining up to get on the wait list, I pretty much had to give up that idea as impossible. But then they extended the show for a week and I was able to grab four more tickets for the final performance: bless you, NYTW and your $20 Sundays. If you're at all able, you should try to snag one, too.

I can't remember anything about what I did on Monday, and there is nothing in my schedule wiki, which is kind of discomfiting. Did I see you? Was I there? But on Tuesday there was NYRSF, where I heard Kelly read her glorious story "The Cinderella Game" for the third time. And dinner gave us the opportunity to have a long talk for the first time in awhile, a secret cabal of quiet-voiced people talking under the crowd.

On Wednesday we had the volunteer orientation for the MoCCA Art Festival. It was reasonably well-attended by interested-seeming people; the only downside being that that meeting marks the point where, whenever I am doing non-MoCCA-related things with my free time (like, oh, writing this entry), I am kind of shirking and should kind of be stopped. After we finished, I rushed home to eat a sandwich and meet a prospective new roommate, who...did not show up. He is automatically less awesome than ecmyers.

A digression: Back in ‘04, my dearest darling Shay got me into the habit of attending the annual screening of Oscar-nominated shorts that the Academy puts on each year at Lighthouse International. I eventually sucked fullcopy into the habit; but we missed it this year, out of strike-related timing confusion, and me with theatre tickets, and him with bridge. Eventually he convinced julianyap that we should just buy all of them on iTunes and do a home screening. On Thursday we actually went through with this plan, and though it was a long night, and I disagreed with the winners (as usual), it was probably the strongest overall slate I’ve seen so far. glvalentine, have you seen "Tanghi Argentini"? It is darling.

On Friday, musetoself, glitter_femme, and I ate some empanadas (the new cupcake!) and then saw Crooked at the Women's Project. It was impeccably acted, frequently hysterical, sometimes brutal, and— though I kind of felt like I'd been slapped when it ended—I basically loved it and can't stop thinking about it. There is only one performance left, but if you're not doing anything on Sunday afternoon, there are many worse things you could do than show up at the Julia Miles at 2:00 and try to rush it.

After the play, I bought some cookies and brought them to Matt's party, where I felt vaguely entertaining for awhile, totally awkward for about twice that long (repeating “this is why people drink” in my head the whole time), and then gave up and went home in a fit of social retardation. Sigh. Also: friends my age getting engaged? Still weird.

When I started this entry on Saturday morning, it was supposed to end that afternoon with some statement about what a relief it was to have a completely unscheduled day, especially given how full my Sunday was going to be. This plan was spoiled by the fact that I had been shockingly moronic and had listed the two plays on the wrong day in my schedule, a mistake that was—comically? tragically?—perpetuated by an e-mail from my mother that said "We'll see you at 1:30 at Sunday" (she meant in the Park with George, of course, though she did not actually say that last part). I misread this note as a confirmation that both shows were on Sunday, and didn’t think enough about how improbable that was until my parents showed up at my apartment, half-convinced that I was dead, to ask why I had failed to show up. Eeep. Don't let anyone ever tell you that too much theatre doesn't lead to a life of ruin! Anyway, I have the unused ticket, and I’ve managed once before to recover from gross flakiness by convincing the box office to let me transfer an unused ticket to a future performance (feminine wiles? No, I have none of those—probably sheer patheticness), so perhaps all is not lost.

Luckily, I hadn't imperiled our plans for The 39 Steps. I'm having a hard time judging this one: I thought the performances were great; the stagecraft was brilliant; that the show is charming and clever, delivers everything it promises, and is doing something genuinely new; and I’d gladly recommend it most anyone. And yet, there's a tiny part of me—the part that hates uncomplicated fun—that feels a little bit dirty about the whole operation, like I’d bought into something I oughtn’t. I suspect I may be dragging unrelated emotions into the equation, but it’s hard to tell from here. Ask again later, I guess.

And that’s it for the past. I am hyperaware that by conflating too many subjects people are less likely to read or respond to any of them, but perhaps you will humor me this time around. Yes? No?
  • Current Music
    lesinrocks #74

"He'll be both a thug and a grammarian. He will be the WWE character I always wanted to be."

[Argh. I'm falling behind on entries and comments, cannot keep to a sentence limit, and am increasingly unsure why anyone would actually want to read what is basically "what I did today" reportage. Is this whole experiment worth it? I am dubious!]

Thursday: I've become more and more of a This American Life groupie since I've started walking to work and back in the company of podcasts, so I was very excited when they announced a live launch of the second season of the TV show, and crushed when the tickets sold out instantaneously and they started going for astronomical rates on Craigslist. Consequently, I am absurdly grateful to the nice guy who posted on Thursday morning offering up four tickets at face value (he later asked if he could take one back, and Irene and Greg took the other two). The event was amazing—funnily awkward live transitions, compelling previews from upcoming episodes of the TV show, hysterical outtakes from previous ones, and all— and suffused me with adoration from the second it started through to the very end. Why, yes, I am swoony for Ira Glass.

The event was in the Skirball Center, throwing distance from the Dessert Truck, which has fiendishly keyed into the obsessive unique-experience-collector side of my being with its get-it-while-it's-here weekly special. But they were out of the special by the time the show let out (fie!), so I fought with myself, then caved and tried the chocolate peanut butter thing instead. Alas, the milk chocolate mousse was sort of wishy-washy, the only menu item I’ve tried so far that's been a misfire. Perhaps it’s only disappointing in light of the absurdly high standards set by the rest of their options, but it still seems like some kind of a lesson in delayed gratification.

Friday: I'd planned to make it a relatively short night with an early show, the Dufus CD release at Cake Shop. But then there was a run of really weird offerings on my theatre comp service (Manicurist to Millionaires? Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z?), capped off by the chance to see Al Gore at Radio City Music Hall. I debated for about three seconds before deciding to both. That course of action seems to have been given the universe's tacit approval by the fact that Toby Goodshank—solo musician, Moldy Peach, half of Double Deuce, scheduled to play at the Dufus show that very night—apparently works for my theatre comp service, and was there when I went to pick up. Okay, I get it already: New York is tiny. Anyway, the show was on Cake Shop's new upstairs mini-stage, which I approve of, because what’s better than sitting on the floor of a bar with a PB&J bagel and coffee and getting pretty songs sung to you? And, yes, America's sweetheart was there, too.

I had to leave partway through Seth's set, but can't regret it too much: the Al Gore talk was even better than I expected (and I have no idea what I was expecting), funny, charming (really!), and humble to start, then alternately depressing and terrifying for the next hour or so. At the end, there was a note of optimism about the resourcefulness of the American people that didn't quite ring true to me—I'm not ready to give up yet, but most of the hope I manage to retain is couched in cynicism (see also: Part V of this Thomas Friedman article, or the first section of the Slate Cultural Gabfest on personal virtue)—but I don’t think you can blame him for offering some consoling measure. The moderated discussion after his talk was also great, bringing up a lot of the questions on everyone's mind but letting Gore duck them in amusing ways. I’m still working out what lessons I’ve formed from the experience, but I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to see the catalyst.

And now I really should start my journey to the CUSFS banquet.

08-05-04 @ 02:44: Edited for suckage.
  • Current Music
    Dufus, Tutu

"I'd say that they were all great dancers, and lord knows I love to dance"

[...momentarily harboring the delusion that posting before midnight is like posting yesterday...]

Wednesday: I darted off after work to an organizational meeting for the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art's MoCCA Art Festival, for which I'll once again be coordinating volunteers, and for which I've got two pressing appointments: on Saturday I'll be flyering and talking up the festival in front of one of the shops participating in Free Comic Book Day (where are you getting yours?), and our volunteer recruitment meeting will be next Wednesday.

There were two neat concerts I was considering for after the meeting, but the sold-out Langhorne Slim show at the Mercury Lounge seemed to actually be sold out (though I was told I'd have a good shot at it if I stopped back just before eleven); so I tried the Emilyn Brodsky show at Lit Lounge and found it strangely…non-existent—by which I mean that Emilyn was there, but she wasn't playing a show yet, and I'm not really one to stand around in an empty bar until an event coalesces around me.

So I trudged home, worked for awhile, made a last-minute decision at 10:50 that I'm happier at rock shows than not, and headed out again. The Langhorne show was great, but deeply weird: the second or third time I saw him, he wound up having the last set of a long, late show, so it was probably after 1:00 by the time he started, and there were maybe twenty people left; but by the end of it, he and the band and every damn person in the room were dancing, and it stands as one of my favorite concert memories ever. And now he's gone the way of so many of my favorite antifolkers, and is getting Famous, and is selling out shows to rooms full of screaming girls; and I really don't think that that process ever stops being strange.
  • Current Music
    Langhorne Slim, "The Electric Love Letter"

"cuz new york is a certain kind of sickness"

The weird thing about seven-hour meetings (well, almost seven: I took a short break in the middle to do some publishing-rather-than-web-related stuff) is that you can go to work all day and barely feel like you've been there at all. Nonetheless, when kristin_wins, gl0ry_gl0ry, and some other ladies from the office caught me right afterwards and told me they were going downtown for free ice cream, it was basically impossible to refuse. I will probably regret this tomorrow, but hopefully I'll be too busy going INSANE.
  • Current Music
    Emilyn Brodsky (who I hope to see at Lit Lounge on Wed. night), "All You Want"

"What?! You agree with WHAT?"

[You know I suck at the LJ thing (or maybe the waking up thing) when I can write a three-sentence entry, get too exhausted to proofread it and post it before I go to bed, and run out of time to do it in the morning. So, despite appearances, this is actually YESTERDAY'S ENTRY. Today's entry will appear, well, later today. Maybe even before midnight, if I'm really good.]

Monday! A relatively productive day at work, after which I went home and made wasabi grilled tuna and Japanese eggplant with miso in an attempt to dispense with some ingredients I'd bought for my dinner party but didn't wind up using. I was a bit underwhelmed by the tuna (though, to be fair, I might have cooked it for too long—I'm still mastering grill-to-broiler conversion times), but the eggplant, while a bit odd at first, really grew on me: not a bad effort, on the whole. The crucial question now is how much conscious time I have left to read this awesome manuscript before my eyes start closing on me.
  • Current Music
    "The Super-Hot Girlfriend Gabfest" (Slate Political Gabfest)

"Hamlet 2? Doesn’t everybody die at the end of the first one?"

I gave today [er, yesterday—my internet issues are apparently more pervasive than I had hoped] over to food and friends, starting with brunch in Greenpoint with lowellboyslash et al, then frantic preparation for a dinner party I was throwing in the evening, a joke housewarming for my friend James. This may strike you as odd if you recall that musetoself, ecmyers, and I moved into our apartment in Alphabet City in September 2006. But we never got around to having a housewarming party due to the insanity surrounding our walls, and James has insisted on calling the place "new" until we did, so I figured the best way to make him stop was to hold a small dinner party for him, the roommates, their SOs, and julianyap. A trio of Japanese-esque dishes later and I think we can safely call our apartment warmed, with the added benefit of giving us our first chance to try out the living-room-plus-dining-table layout. The lack of a dinner party venue has been the biggest gap in my social puzzle, and—because I am secretly an old-fashioned housewife—I am absurdly excited about finally having the means to fill it.

[Edited 08-04-28 to fix our move-in date.]
  • Current Music
    PG-13 and Wake, “Lyrical Soda Paper” (KEXP’s Music That Matters)

"The breaking of so great a thing should make a greater crack."

Today was a theatre day, consisting of Antony and Cleopatra at Theatre for New Audience and Ty Jones' Emancipation at the Classical Theatre of Harlem, two companies that we love dearly and have subscribed to for years. Unfortunately, despite the heaps of strong reviews, I wasn't in love with either, for similar reasons: the productions were thoughtful, attractively designed, elegantly acted, intellectually appealing, and politically striking,
but I couldn't connect with either of them emotionally. In cases like this I'm prone to wondering if it was just me—was I distracted? was I in the mood for lighter fare?—but I don't think so: a college Shakespeare prof of mine who was at TFANA for the talkback concurred that A&C "acted very well, right past each other"; and Emancipation was oddly bloodless given the subject matter (the trial of Nat Turner after his slave rebellion) and the the gloriously engaging work I've seen come out of CTH director Chris McElroen in the past. Still: one could do much worse.
  • Current Music
    The Wood Brothers, "Walk Away" (KCRW's Today's Top Tune)