Sunday, November 18, 2007


Looks like I've neglected my blog... again. The problem? I've taken on too much, and am overextended.

I've agreed to be the website committee chair for the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, although I know next to nothing about websites. I guess in that sparsely-populated area, I am, right now, the big computery fish in their pond. HA!

So there's that. Then there's the Help Holy Cross blog, which I've promised to contribute to when I can. "When I can" feels like never, though, and I'm finding that the stories I'd like to cover can't get covered in a timely fashion because of other obligations...

Like house-buying, for instance, which has by now entered crazy-serious stage, wherein I meet with termite inspectors, structural engineers, call insurers, obsess over floorplans, email our loan officer daily, and generally feel like, "Holy kamoly, we are DOING THIS!"

Add to this: work. It's near the end of the semester, and so naturally my students are all collectively panicking. I don't ever want them to panic, but if they're going to, I don't know why they save it until the last minute--most of the students who are panicking now haven't gotten a non-panic-worthy grade so far this semester. I guess the whole revision-bit staves off panic until now. How can I make revision serve its purpose without its appearing to be a free pass to fail and then fix?

I guess it's too late now to talk about Waiting for Godot... is it?

I'd made that wonderful assignment. I'd had such a wonderful class. I was practically glowing with the idea of it, and then...

I couldn't get in. Nor could my students. I showed up more than an hour before ticket-issuing, got dutifully in line (a line that looked only marginally longer than the one I'd been in before--the one that got me in to see the play), and waited for an hour. Soon, a guy from Creativetime came over and said there was no way we'd be getting in. There were seats for 400, and that number had been reached a few folks before me.

Which doesn't explain how, when I decided to wait and got closer, I was told that there were only tickets for forty more people--and more than 80 people in front of me.

I checked out the "Gumbo Party" and noted that there was nowhere near 400 people in the reception, so something had to be up. A rumor began to circulate: there was a guest list, and we weren't on it. The woman behind me in line lived just a few blocks away and had lost her house; she wasn't on it. So who was?

When I saw Ann Pasternak, the director of Creativetime, apologizing to line-standers being turned away, I approached her. I told her that I thought she should know that a rumor was circulating that there was a "VIP list." She denied it, vehemently (and a little rudely, I might add). "The only people on our VIP list are national press, like the New Yorker and New York Times."

I had to wonder: if I were, say, the woman behind me in line and not myself, would she have brought up the New Yorker and New York Times?

She'd assumed that I cared about the national press--the same national press that swoops in whenever there's a "gumbo party" in the ghetto and calls it recovery. Bor-ring.

"I'm not accusing you of having a guest list," I explained. "I just thought you ought to know of the rumor."

She did explain that the actors had a guest list. Also, there was a list of organizations nearly a page long. I'm sure these volunteers managed to be VIPs, too (at least I hope so).

I explained that I'd built curriculum around the play. "Will you add an additional night, like last week's?" I asked.

"No," she said, again with the vehemence. "I'm at such a deficit with this project."

That's when I was like, "Okay, peace."

Deficit?! Sister wants to talk to someone who lives here about a deficit!?

Here's my real problem with her deficit:

Creativetime saw it more important to buy gallons of gumbo than to avoid said deficit. For the umpteenth time, people: we do not need you to feed us gumbo! Gumbo is expensive--all crabs and whatnot. Skip the freakin' gumbo!

Creativetime saw it more important to admit actor Isaiah Washington (of Gray's Anatomy and "fag"-mouthed fame) and his bevy of ladies to the play--on a VIP list--and to get his picture taken (for said national press) than to ensure locals were able to attend.

Creativetime also wanted so badly to appear to extend a hand to the communities that they prioritized free admission over widespread access (via additional performances). Free stuff is great--and many needed to take advantage of the free admission. Many more, however, didn't (Washington, for one) and could easily have "contributed" a few bones to ensure more widespread attendance.

Finally, Creativetime's Pasternak prioritized press coverage over public access. One might argue that they can't be blamed for that; after all, that same press coverage will keep their donors happy. But if their mission is genuine--and is geared toward providing access within the communities to site-specific art--those communities should have been priority number one, and I think there were better ways of handling the production than Pasternak's.

The truth is, I'm picking this bone because Ms. Pasternak was dismissive, and I think she was because she was making assumptions about who I am and what I value. Annoying.

The real, real truth is that I love, love, loved the play and think it needed to stay longer, and I am blaming Pasternak because she's an easy scapegoat for my cranky-crankness. I've been feeling this crankity-crankyness lots lately, and it's not Pasternak or some play that's doing it. It's the accumulation of it all.

So: I need a break, and I intend to take one. Happy Thanksgiving to all. You can read more pleasant and less self-absorbed whatnot at

Until I'm feeling more inspired AND have more time AND can cut it with the whining, I'm signing off (for a spell)...


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