What do you do to stay friends? By Kathleen Choe (actor/singer/writer)
I once had a conversation with someone who said, “The universe is an inherently flawed place run by idiots. And they are my bitch. And they should be your bitch too.”
I disagreed with him. I like to think of the universe as my friend. Like all friends, it’s not perfect and can occasionally be a jerk, or a prolapsed rectum (or in layman’s terms, an asshole). Yes, it is inherently flawed, and yes, there are some idiots in charge, but until someone finds a way into an alternate dimensional plane:
McCoy thought the goatee gave him character, but other than that, the mirror universe? Not such a great place to be.
Which honestly, might not be so great:
Two words: Upside Down.
We’re stuck being here.
And the universe has been a Jerk these past few weeks. A Real Class-A Gigantic Ass-faced Jerk. And I’m furious at it.
And I have two choices.
1. Make the world my bitch. Demean it, scream at it, smack it down until I hurt it as badly as it’s hurt me. Laugh at it when I get my points in. Hit back twice as hard when it tries to take advantage of me. Live in a constant state of battle-mode and anxiety and anger at how unfair things are and let that exhaust me, until the universe is that way that it should be.
I know it’s exhausting because I’ve done it. I still do sometimes. That’s fine because I’m human.
2. Know that it’s being a jerk right now. Acknowledge that I’m angry with it. Call it out on every occasion when it is being a jerk, not backing down when it gloats, not staying silent when it says or does something nonsensical.
Keep speaking up, even when it tries to shout over me. Keep showing up.
Take care of myself and surround myself with people who are also trying a way to deal with it being an asshole. Help guide it to being the place that we want it to be.
Choice two is harder. Choice two will not always win. Choice two can also be exhausting.
But Choice Two allows for two things: hope and happiness.
So, Universe. You’ve decided to be a Jerk right now. That’s unfortunate. But I’m not going anywhere, and there are a lot of other people like me. And you’re going to have to deal with us until you come out of whatever dark hole you seemed to have crawled into.
A ton of people, both Republicans and Democrats, really miss George W. Bush. But why? By Erica Slutsky (Writer/Singer/Songwriter)
I don’t know if anyone under 30 knows this feeling now, but being a young Democrat in the early 2000s was like being the fan of a sports team that constantly lost despite great odds. There were a lot of television episodes and movies from that not-too-recent era that carried the unmistakable sentiment of “Rigged!” and most of them took the high road by not even showing then-President George W. Bush as a character (See: Recount). We felt like we were stuck with a President that we didn’t elect, and every excuse felt valid, from the missing ballots in Ohio and Florida, to the fact that the person controlling the ballots happened to be the brother of the President-Elect. Al Gore won the popular vote by a huge margin but lost the Electoral College by 0.5%, and John Kerry lost 49% of the popular vote. Trump’s win and his tax plan may hit millennials the hardest, but many of us over 30 had to deal with a very similar feeling of “It don’t make sense” for years until Nancy Pelosi took back the House midway through Bush’s second term. We did not get hot chocolate and free counseling.
Remember when Mr. Peanutbutter stumped for John Edwards? So full of hope.
Bush seemed like he could barely form sentences, let alone run a country, despite being a C student at Harvard and Yale who served in the National Guard, the second First Kid to become President, the first President to hold an MBA degree, and someone whose biggest non-government job was running a baseball team (yes, really). Writers were afraid of making W look bad, largely because he was a Southern gentleman who respected women and minorities. It seems insulting now to compare Trump to Bush, as I’ve heard way too many times to count from people who were also there. Today, the younger Bush is usually referenced in small, subtle ways (“Like you could grab a beer with him!”) So, when George W. Bush was portrayed fictionally in the moment, we got far more attempts to humanize a man, rather than portray him as the puppet of a vast Republican Axis of Suspicion or the architect of a useless, never-ending war. Even pre-9/11 responses to Bush like the Modern Humorist’s book My First Presidentiary took the obvious route, because very few people expected the outcome. Here’s a fun game: Try to guess how many TV episodes set in the future will feature a tyrannical President Barron Trump.
One of the biggest problems of a Trump presidency is that little girls and boys are being taught that girls are sexual objects. I cried when Hillary Clinton lost the presidency not only because I feared a country under the rule of a fascist white supremacist but also because of the message that came with that win: it's okay to sexually assault women.
Within the context of the next four years I'm torn as to what to tell my four year old niece or any other school age girl for that matter. Should I continue preaching that women should be able to wear whatever they want because they are not owned by men, or should I instead tell them to protect themselves from evil men at all costs including covering up their midriffs? I want to think that I would continue telling them to wear whatever they want.
When shared that message on facebook before my feed suddenly became an explosion of anger from people I knew in Texas who claimed that I was teaching girls to be sluts, or teaching them to use their sexuality to get ahead in the world. I argued that I was simply teaching them that they were valuable members of society and should not be controlled by men. However I do see the basis for their claims. Many women have used their sexuality to get ahead in this world including our future first lady, Melania Trump.
Melania Trump's pornographic past is no secret and it is the exact thing that has made her first lady. Still, as millions of people condemn her for her past and the path that she took to the White House, I instead think she is not at fault. She was a woman who took the only thing she had in her power to elevate herself in a world dominated by the patriarchy. For it was in fact the patriarchy who created pornography in the first place. It is predominantly men who spend billions of dollars in pornography annually and it is men who have created a culture that sexualizes women so much that there is an entire illegal industry based on sex trade.
So instead of "slut shamming" Melania Trump I applaud her for being courageous enough to take power when she saw the opportunity. There are many teenage girls who see the same opportunity in their environments and decide to take it. Many of the girls being sent home from school for baring their midriffs are among these women. Still, I'm not sure I can blame them because as a country we have again proven that a women has more worth as a sex symbol than a strong leader who fought her entire life for the good of the public and for children's rights.
We have reinforced the myth that a bathing suit is more valuable than a pantsuit. I'm ashamed at everyone that thinks it is better to elect an alleged pedophile and known sexual assailant than an intelligent and experienced female leader. My common sense wants to tell young girls to use their bodies to gain a man of stature, but my heart still needs to tell them that this is not the way. Instead I call on all young women to unite against the patriarchy, to don a pantsuit and rebel. To go full Lysistrata on men in America. Women are half of the country and yet tyranny won the 2016 election.
Ladies wear whatever you want because it is your choice. If you want to wear a bikini than wear it. If you want to wear a burka than wear it. Just please show up, and please never stop fighting the injustices created by men in power!
The first in a series of how not to be an asshole for the rest of 2016. By Jennifer Anderson (Actor/Singer/Setting fire to the last remaining garbage pile month of this year)
Happy December, Crazytown. I think you'll agree with me when I say that I'm happy to see 2016, a year full of trials and tribulations, finally draw to a close.
But 2016 isn't done yet. We still have a full 31 days left, and leave it up to this crazy year to let even more shit hit the fan before it finally dies with a colossal void of its bowels. Despite what the rest of 2016 has in store for us, there is one thing we still have control over: ourselves. So let's all agree to allow the generous and joyful spirit of the holidays to influence our actions for this next month, if not the entirety of 2017.
Dumb Political Theatre is back. I always want to thank Crazytown for their lovely support and letting me rant here. I also want to thank Grunewald Guild where I just finished a residency yesterday. If you can make it to the end of this blog, I promise you an awesome video.
Ah, the BFF daughters of the rich and powerful. The star-crossed saga of Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton. I'm not sure how many people are aware of their friendship, but apparently it still kinda exists.
Seconds later, Chelsea slipped her the tongue and Ivanka grabbed - never mind. Via here.
So the daughters of two notorious horndogs/predators find (cold?) comfort in each other's arm? A play's a-brewin'.
Chelsea once gushed to Vogue:
“She’s always aware of everyone around her and ensuring that everyone is enjoying the moment,” says Chelsea. “It’s an awareness that in some ways reminds me of my dad, and his ability to increase the joy of the room." Full article here.
Note to Chelsea (and anyone else): If your friend reminds you of Bill Clinton, run!
Hello CrazyTown. Here's the honest truth: sometimes when you're doing mad research on a topic to write about, you don't finish what you sought to write cause information. Because of that, I bring you another 'sub' writer in the form of a man who, in my mind, is practically perfect in every way. Handsome, charming, funny, informed= Trevor Noah, will you marry me? In this latest video, Trevor let's us know the best way to respond to Donald Trump, and in doing so also tells us how to respond to his supporters: logic.
GARRIT GUADAN is an actor, musician, and award winning composer living in Brooklyn, NY. You can find him tickling the ivories and making crass jokes every Tuesday night at The Duplex piano bar. Find more about Garrit on his website, and follow him on twitter.
So many people I've talked to in the past couple weeks have echoed my desire to feel more involved in both politics and humanitarian outreach in the wake of, well, realizing how fucking scary things can get when we merely discuss our political beliefs instead of working beyond just election season to make sure they don't fall apart. Last year for Christmas, my family had the wonderful idea of giving to charity instead of giving gifts to each other. We each came up with a list of organizations and causes that we cared about and created a sort of an ungift-wish-list. Everyone chose something off that list to donate to in the name of everyone else, handmade some really lovely cards, and exchanged them on Christmas morning over coffee and baklawa. It was really nice, and all of our hearts grew three sizes that day. I'm not telling you how to do your holiday gift-giving season this year, but I'm also not NOT telling you that this is a great idea and feels so incredibly relevant right now.
I'm going to let you have look at some of my wish list for this year. Maybe it will inspire you to compile one of your own! And while I do encourage you to donate your holiday gift money towards causes that need your assistance, it also feels really great to give of your time. Participate in the democracy of our nation by volunteering to be a poll worker at local elections, help at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen in your community, invest in real journalism and support the free press by subscribing or gifting a subscription to a trusted paper or media source, donate used coats and clothing, call your local and state representatives and let your voice be heard. Get involved in an organization in your town that will help you find local ways to volunteer and causes you connect with (a great one here in NYC that I have written about before is The Uprising.)
KIND - in their own words: "“KIND staff and our pro bono attorney partners at law firms, corporations, and law schools nationwide represent unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children in their deportation proceedings. Together, we ensure that no child stands in court alone.”
The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) - in their own words: "People across the country are coming together to stand up for what they believe is right. Take your stand. Help us as we: defend free speech and the right to protest, fight relentless attacks on reproductive freedom, reform our racially-biased criminal justice system."
The Trevor Project - in their own words: "The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people ages 13-24."
Border Angels - in their own words: "Border Angels is an all volunteer, non profit organization that advocates for human rights, humane immigration reform, and social justice with a special focus on issues related to issues related to the US-Mexican border."
Flint Water Fund - in their own words: "The United Way of Genesee County has set up this fund for the purchase of filters, bottled water, emergency support services and prevention efforts. 100% of the fund is used for these projects and no Administrative Fee is assessed."
Habitat For Humanity - in their own words: "A decent and affordable place to live helps families by freeing them from such physical and mental hardships and placing them on a path of new opportunity and increased confidence and self-reliance. A family’s partnership with Habitat means they have a stable place to live and to spend time together."
The Southern Poverty Law Center - in their own words: "The SPLC fights hate groups and bigotry using education, litigation, and advocacy."
Running Start - in their own words: "By educating young women and girls about the importance of politics, and imbuing them with the skills they need to be leaders, we give women the running start they need to achieve greater political power. With an earlier start in politics, women will climb higher on the leadership ladder, allowing more women to share in the decision making power of this country."
Planned Parenthood - in their own words: "Planned Parenthood is a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world delivering vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide."
PEN America - in their own words: "PEN American Center is the U.S. branch of the world’s leading international literary and human rights organization. PEN International was founded in 1921 in direct response to the ethnic and national divisions that contributed to the First World War. PEN American Center works to protect free and open expression in the United States and across the world."
Hand In Hand For Syria - in their own words: "We’ve been at the forefront of humanitarian aid in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011. Many aid agencies and charities (even the biggest names) can’t work within Syria because of government restrictions or the risk to their workers. That means that most of what you hear about Syrians, or aid agencies supporting them, comes from refugee camps in neighboring countries. We have a network of people on the ground who take in life-giving support, or purchase it locally, to help sustain the most vulnerable people in the crisis: the ones still in Syria."
Prison Book Program - in their own words: "Prison Book Program mails books to people in prison to support their educational, vocational and personal development and to help them avoid returning to prison after their release. We also aim to provide a quality volunteer experience that introduces citizens to issues surrounding the American prison system and the role of education in reforming it."