Dialogue 3 / with Guy Zimmerman, Theatre

John, one of the things I’ve been thinking about is the temporal inversion that happens in theater -- how plays seem to make their way forward, paradoxically, to the past. This uncanny retrograde temporality is clearest in post-war modernist tragedies like Endgame or Pinter’s The Homecoming, (or Albee’s Three Tall Women, or Churchill’s Far Away etc) which I think were really about that odd feature of our situatedness in time, but I think it’s interesting also to look back at the history of tragic drama through that lens. In Strindberg, Ibsen and Chekhov this temporal inversion seems very strong – whatever is happening via the forward motion of the plot, the affective structures of the play … [Read more...]

Cultural Novocaine

This is going to be very brief today. I was searching for writing on theatre, and theatre blogs. I found this.... http://createquity.com/2012/07/arts-policy-library-cultural-engagement-in-californias-inland-regions.html Sociology achieved real traction in the US in the mid 20th century. Its the perfect discipline for bureaucracies. These studies are a sort of constant, a cottage industry for the large foundations that parse out money to whoever will agree to be obedient and artistically opaque. The study refers to findings and concludes, "the home is a favorite location for arts activities..." I've no idea what that means exactly. Another favorite location is the internet. … [Read more...]

Protect and Serve

A short entry today following on this piece by Glenn Ford at BAR. http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/stop-and-frisk-goes-frisco The police are there to protect property. Their second mission is to exercise control on the poor. What that means in large measure, is to control black and brown skinned people...the racial dimension cannot be overlooked. Statistics bear this out if one looks at exactly 'who' is in prison. There is another trend at work in the US (and to a lesser degree in parts of Europe) and that is the blurring of the military with the police. The third trend is the privitization of both the police, the military, and the prison industry. In the 1960's the … [Read more...]

The Master Puppet Theatre

" “any alliance between the left and global capital ends up favoring the populist right.” Fabio Vighi The narratives of the Spectacle. What you see today on the corporate news front is a reliance on the most reductive of discourses. What's interesting is how this reduced bit of story-line, scenario creation, is filled up with a sort of ventriloquists performance. Or its like an old crystal ball mind reading act (cue: Screening of Nightmare Alley). There is a processing of narrative that demands the simplest sort of assumed psychological foundations. By which I mean, the perceptions of the political spectacle often seem to include personalized mind reading on the part of the viewer. "Oh, … [Read more...]

Plastic Magic

Interestingly, this topic of magical thinking seems to be in the zeitgeist. http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175561/tomgram%3A_lewis_lapham%2C_will_wonders_never_cease/ What needs to be kept in mind is the ideological implications of all this (if I wasn't clear before). In the Imperialist nations of the west, magical thinking, superstition, is labeled as "science"...often anyway. Junk science is really just the latest branch of marketing. Research is corporate manipulation. Here is an example of real science..... http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/06/bpa-linked-brain-tumor-first-time Pliable plastic is the greatest offender for it contains the most BPA. This has been … [Read more...]

The Water is Rising….send sunflowers!

A post of just collected flotsam and jetsam that is floating around out there....wherever 'there' is exactly. http://blackagendareport.com/content/citigroup%E2%80%99s-role-rape-haiti I recently was reading through facebook -- and found a thread on the posting of affirmations. The seemingly endless stream of sunflower photos, or memes on positive thinking (if life gives you lemons, make lemonade etc). The predictable response to the original complaint was to defend these memes, and to reinforce this belief (very much a US phenomenon I think) that life is about YOU and YOUR happiness, and that if only people would 'think positive' everything would magically improve. Its really that, a form … [Read more...]

Dialogue 2

A new dialogue, this time with my friend, playwright and director Guy Zimmerman.... http://john-steppling.com/dialogue-2/ … [Read more...]

Dialogue #2

DIALOGUE #2 A dialogue with playwright, director, and teacher Guy Zimmerman. Drive GZ John, looking back at the last year in popular culture Refn's film Drive with Ryan Gosling stands out as having a bit of a pulse - some of it is quite good, in fact - and I thought it might provide an okay jumping off point for a broader look at where we are at currently. Curious what you made of the film generally. ----- JS: Its interesting, if we’re sort of just talking film as an entryway to broader issues, that you mention Drive. I was running a Cinematheque out in Palm Springs at the Ace Hotel, and then later Palm Desert, and it was mostly quite young film enthusiasts (sic). … [Read more...]