"I came to the conclusion, having read Eliot again, that maybe he was the inventor of rap. His metre for the Rum Tum Tugger is so wonderful… it raps.” - (Musical Over)Lord Webber’s recent decree By Joanna Syiek (Director/Producer/Blogger)
[T.S. Eliot, well-known essayist, publisher, playwright, and author of "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" is taken out of a cryochamber. Though he was reported dead in early 1965, it is revealed that his body was preserved – along with other influential literary greats – for science. Webber and Eliot sit at a small dining table, with afternoon tea freshly poured and cooling in two ostentatious teacups.]
Webber: It’s just that I’m afraid I’m losing my edge. I once had this field on lockdown. I could write about, quite literally, almost anything and they’d lap it up! Like cats and cream!
Webber: That one was for you.
Webber: You know. Since you’re fond of kitties and all.
Webber: But nowadays, all the folks want it new, quick, hip! Have you seen the reviews for this Lin Manuel Miranda fellow? He can’t be topped! And all for what? A few rhymes? I can rhyme!
Eliot: I haven’t been…
Webber: The fat man sat. He sat on a rat.
Webber: On a rat he sat, because he was fat!
Eliot: That doesn’t make any…
Webber: I don’t know Eli. I’m a ballad-man. Give me a forlorn woman, five minutes, and a single pool of light and I’m golden! How am I supposed to keep up?
Webber: Oh you. I always loved the cut of your jib. Wait.
Webber: Dear god. Why didn’t I think of it sooner?
Webber: I’ll join them. These new young new writers. What do people already love?
Webber: CATS! Good man, cats! We’ll use your words, my musical theatre know-how, and serve up a show that they literally cannot not love.
Eliot: What could you possibly do now?
Webber: We’ll make them rap, T.S. Those cats. Will rap.
The foods we eat have a direct impact on our health, and it's no secret that a diet high in fat, sugars, and animal proteins has long-term negative effects. Writer Liz Richards sets up her new blog VEGANISTA:A FAT GIRL'S GUIDE TO COMPASSIONATE EATING, for which she will go vegan for six weeks to explore whether or not we're capable of life-altering, sustainable changes in our diets and our lifestyles.
by Liz Richards (Writer)
The Fat Girl
Something’s been on my mind for twenty years, so I’m finally going to come out and say it: I’m a fat girl. I love food and I consume a lot of it. I love a good, tender cut of meat paired with a little potato or corn and a nice well-cooked vegetable for garnish. I love a big chocolate cupcake with ganache frosting and raspberry filling inside. And pasta. Oh pasta. It’s a shame that it took twenty-three years to learn that none of that food has any real nutritional value.
Like any good Italian American, I was raised on sauce and meatballs. As a kid, when my grandma made Sunday sauce and we had leftovers on Wednesday, I’d make my favorite food of all time: spaghetti sandwiches. Two thick, sometimes buttered pieces of Italian bread mounted with spaghetti and sauce created the perfect blend of carbs and fatty sugars that sent my senses into overdrive. While I gave up the sandwiches, sauce is still my go-to comfort food, and of course I have to have a nice crust of bread on the side to dip and clean up the plate.
I was pretty young when I made the connection that the food we put in our bodies influences the way we feel, which may be part of why I identify so much with the food on my plate. I believe that food is sensual, spiritual, and social. To this point, I’ve consumed foods that taste good, that make me feel good, and that the people in my community also eat. A meal shared is a memory made and a life well nourished.
But like a lot of Americans, I have an unhealthy BMI and could never quite figure out why. Sure, I always assumed that I took in more calories than I needed, but I was never a picky kid and thought I had a well-balanced diet. I love spinach like I love steak and fruits like I love double-chocolate brownies. But since an early age, I’ve been aware that something is wrong with the way I eat.
At 5’0 and 139.2 pounds my BMI works out to 27.18, which puts me definitively in the “overweight” category. I’d need to lose only about twelve to fifteen pounds to be in the normal healthy range, and my BMI is actually below the national average, which in 2010 was estimated at approximately 28.6 for men and 28.7 for women. (Livestrong link) To be considered obese, a person’s BMI has to pass 30, but let’s not kid ourselves.
The figures reported here are a national average, and we already know that a large and growing number of Americans have BMIs well into the 30s and even the 40s. Don’t get me wrong, I embrace my curves and believe that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. I’m that girl who drops what she’s doing to hit the dance floor when “Fat Bottomed Girls” comes on and when the DJ plays “Baby Got Back” or “Bootylicious” I pop and lock with the best of ‘em.
But I wouldn’t be fooling anyone if I said I didn’t know that those extra twelve to fifteen pounds put me at much greater risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer, because I’ve seen each and every one of those inflictions kill someone in my family who lived sixty or seventy years on a diet similar to mine. I’ll bet you have too, and I’ll bet you, like me, already know that the kinds of foods you eat are insoluble, indigestible, and slowly building up in your intestines and arteries. It’s pretty gross, but it’s not a secret.
For me, the extra weight isn’t the only thing that today’s standard American diet has affected. I’ve noticed that even though I’m only in my early twenties, the older the I get, there are certain things that don’t bounce back (no not cellulite, but there’s plenty of that too!). My hair is constantly dry, even in the summer months when I see more sun and drink more water. The tips of my nails can’t seem to grow past a certain point without getting brittle and breaking off. Even though I’m well past puberty and acne has generally departed, I constantly get pimples between my eyes, on the tips of my nose, and increasingly around the corners of my mouth. I got my first period when I was ten years old at the end of fourth grade, a recent phenomenon almost exclusive to young girls who are slightly overweight and have a diet heavy in dairy and processed foods, and have been on and off birth control pills to control my irregular period since sixth grade. Despite a well-rounded diet by USDA standards, my vitamin D and iron levels are low every time I visit the doctor. These are all very minor ailments, and compared to many Americans suffering from anemia, heart disease, and morbid obesity, I’m in very good shape.
"I don't usually like dark guys but.." He began to educate me. So nonchalance - As though the trickle of white blood in the thick of my family tree Somehow made me just familiar enough to Fuck.
I stared in awe.
You see as a gay man that happens to be brown I continually stand corrected in my footsteps - Constantly unsure if there's a common steady ground. A ground fair enough to walk away from this balancing act of courting Without the opening of old scars, Without the fleshing out new ones.
In this establishment where nearly no one looks like me I am expected to find connection. Between pushy twinks and rude drag queens - this handsome blonde explains to me that the jaw line I've inherited from the ancient pain of a beautiful black body thrown to the floor in the not so distant past - makes him yearn for more.
Nothing but an exciting new caramel option. A spicy box to check off of your sexual list - Does anyone see something wrong with this?
After enduring the analytical gazes The eyes with computer like accuracy instantly finding me incompatible Based on my ethnicity Here in my plastic cup of vodka I try to find a slight moment to breathe... Or at least I thought. Only to be suffocated by the ignorant shadow of an age old racism that still spreads it's wings under the rainbow flag of oppression.
The little brown child somewhere in my right frontal cortex instantly rewinds at these words - Memories of nearly drowning in a White Sea - the childhood longing for smaller lips For the blue eyes on the television Knocked down by teasing white hands into the mud "Look it's the same color!" My throbbing dark difference Wrapped nice and neat With a deafening thud.
Real time - Standing Tall in the hard earned black beauty of self acceptance You drink in the richness of my mixed ethnicity The fullness of these lips My skin - my hips and find me JUST acceptable enough to live out your first "black fantasy." ??
What the Fuck??
I am not your new black toy. I am blood and thoughts and bones. Generations rich in pride And extremely heavy in unknowns.
This offender like a Wall Street tycoon simply posts his bail by paying in the stocks and bonds of white privilege. Never understanding the pain of being reduced to a color A curly lock A high cheek bone "Don't be so dramatic" He says in his condescending tone.
And so I looked up. Biting my newly approved black lips. Swallowing the vomit of ancestors past The forming of a verbal belt to BEAT that NATURAL white ASS - Yet in utter amazement - this criminal mind before me Boasting an audacity heavy like a whale leans in for the taste of his first chocolate kiss Only to be smothered by the weight of an angry brown hand.
You see this conversation has ended. But you still don't understand.
JAIME CEPEROis a singer/songwriter and frontman of the band JC & THE REMEDY. You probably recognize him from SMASH. FACEBOOK | TWITTER | YOUTUBE
I was a freshman in college when I first was introduced to Hedwig and the Angry Inch (I had seen ads in magazines for the original off-Broadway run in high school but didn’t pay them much mind – my aunt Fran and uncle Alan saw the original, and for that I am eternally jealous). Growing up in Delaware, and having never attended a performing arts school or summer camp, access to new and exciting forms of musical theatre was limited. I knew I loved musicals, but I was only familiar with mostly the Broadway blockbusters, Sondheim, and not much else.
My first week at Emerson College and performing in the now-defunct New Student Revue was an eye-opening one. I was introduced to titles of smaller, off-Broadway musicals I had never heard of, that took forms and structures I had never seen before. John & Jen, A New Brain, Songs For A New World, these shows were in vogue amongst the upperclassmen, and it became clear quickly that I had a lot of self-education to do. I did what any 18-year-old did in 2001 when he needed to listen to new music: I found the nearest record store and bought up all the CDs I could find (oh, the world before iTunes – simpler times).
The only image I have of me as Snoopy on the label of a broken "pictue CD" (note the crack in the center of the CD - I'm still pissed that I can't access the files on it).
Then, in the fall of 2001 I was cast as Snoopy in a production of the revival version of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown as part of Team Players, the then resident children’s theatre company at Emerson College (that student organization has since been renamed “Kidding Around”), with a production staff filled with awesome sophomores and juniors who introduced me to a little musical called Hedwig and the Angry Inch by way of the film adaptation that had just been released the past July.
Fight or flight and making art. By Rachel James (Treasurer/Writer/World Champion Procrastinator)
I’ve never been particularly good with time management. When I’m meeting others, or when I have a particularly hard deadline, I am there at the ready. However, it’s always a struggle.
I envy people who plan. People who can make lists and check them off must lead amazing lives. They have order and structure. There isn’t the last minute panic of will it get done or not. There isn’t the constant worry of the deadline looming just right there. They probably finish their assignments as soon as the task is received. I admire these people.
I've learned to accept the fact that I'm a grown up...finally. By Geoffrey Kidwell (actor)
I turned thirty-two last Tuesday.
Two things about that:
How the heck did that happen?
I mean, seriously, thirty-two.
I didn’t mean to do that.
I was minding my own business and then, out of nowhere, I’m…oh boy…an adult.
And not a like a sort of adult. I’m a full blown, grown-ass man - the kind that pays bills, has some sort of new muscle ache almost daily, rents cars and has gray hair.
It’s downright crazy.
To be perfectly honest, and maybe you feel the same way, my youth - like, high school, even elementary school - doesn’t seem that far behind me in the rearview mirror. I can still remember the day I graduated from eighth grade. I remember what I wore. I remember feeling like I was basically grown up. I remember starring in my high school production of Oklahoma. (I was a fabulous Aunt Eller.) I remember my absolute first day of college - that wonderful feeling of starting over. I can recall telling myself that I was going to be a totally different person - cool, smart, confident, the kind of guy who knows exactly what to say and when to say it.
I graduated college and somebody pressed fast forward.
My twenties flew by. I know they happened, but if I stand back and try to gain any sort of perspective, it all feels like a blur.
And now, I’m sitting at the airport, waiting for a flight to take me back to my grown up, thirty-two-year old life in New York City.
I never meant to be this old. And yes, I know I’m not old. I’m still young (ish), but I never considered that there would be a time in my life when forty was closer in years than sixteen.
I guess the real question is how do I feel about all of it.
I feel fine.
The day I turned twenty-eight I cried like a baby. I felt my whole life slipping away from me. I stood in Madison Square Park with a melting ice cream cone in one hand and my phone in the other hand, telling my mom how miserable things were for me.
That feels silly now.
We have a lot of choices in life:
What to wear. When to eat. Who to date. How to make money.
Growing older isn’t up for discussion.
I think I’ve reached the point where I’ve accepted that I am powerless when it comes to the passing of time. It just keeps going and there’s nothing I can do about it.
So why ruin a perfectly good birthday, or a perfectly good ice cream cone, for that matter, with tears.
I’d rather take the Beyonce approach.
AND NOW...THE WEEK IN WHITNEY HOUSTON!!!
My little chubby eight-year old gay self is freaking out over this video. Here is Miss Houston doing a medley of All At Once and Where Do Broken Hearts Go. DYING!!!!