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Mar 282015

Weekly Twitter Digest

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Mar 212015
Mar 172015

Lewis_BlackThis past weekend was my birthday. I love Lewis Black, and have never seen him in person, so I was excited to find that he was performing his current show, “The Rant is Due, Part Deux,” at the Straz Center here in Tampa Saturday evening, March 14.

So, Lay took me to a nice dinner at a Brazilian Steakhouse, and then we went to see the show.

Now let me start by saying that I love Lewis Black and his comedy. I’ve watched a couple of his shows that are available on the streaming services, and often found myself laughing out loud. I have laughed out loud several times when he’s been on the Daily Show.

I was really disappointed when this show just seemed to go nowhere. His opening act, John Bowman, was better, but went on a tad too long. The show started late, and there was announced 15 minute intermission, which, as is always the case, was actually a little over 20 minutes, and then Lewis finally came out. Once in a while he got onto one of his rants, and seemed to remember what works for him, but mostly, it just wasn’t that funny. I mean, come on, this is Floriduh. I think he had one wise-crack about Rick Scott, and all the other material was just left on the table. Bowman did a better job of segueing into some good local and Florida material.

They do a segment at the end where you can send him questions and comments to which he will respond. He got to about two of those, after spending what seemed like 5 minutes figuring out a reflection from the iPad he had, which didn’t matter anyways.

I’ve seen him have great material, but this was just a huge let down. On top of that, the guy next to Lay kept his phone out for most of the second half of the show checking Facebook and showing it to his boyfriend. I was about to say something like, “Maybe we can ask the to hold up the show while you finish up with that important Facebook conversation.” There were a few laughs, but it was not worth the $100 for the two of us.

Mar 162015
This entry is part 6 of 35 in the series Gay Marriage

Chuck_StromWe’re starting to see the backlash against LGBTQ people as the likelihood of nationwide marriage equality increases, and LGBTQ people achiever equality under the law. One of the main ways the Christianists are trying to keep us in our place, is to pass these bogus, and clearly unconstitutional, religious liberty bills. We saw how cowardly they are in Oklahoma this week.

Earlier this year, Oklahoma Republican state Rep. Chuck Strohm (pictured) introduced his ‘Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act’ (HB1371). If passed, this would allow businesses to deny services to customers if they felt that such services were ‘against the person’s religious beliefs’. (Make no mistake, these have been introduced, and some passed already in a number of states, including North Carolina.)

Unfortunately for the bigots in the Oklahoma legislature, they were outsmarted by a fair-minded Democratic Representative, Emily Virgin. Virgin introduced an amendment to the bill. Basically, the amendment stated that if you were planning on refusing to serve LGBT people on religious grounds, then you must display a public notice and own your bigotry.

“Any person not wanting to participate in any of the activities set forth in subsection A of this section based on sexual orientation, gender identity or race of either party to the marriage shall post notice of such refusal in a manner clearly visible to the public in all places of business, including websites,” said the amendment. “The notice may refer to the person’s religious beliefs, but shall state specifically which couples the business does not serve by referring to a refusal based upon sexual orientation, gender identity or race.”

Most thinking and fair-minded people would never want us to return to the days of “No Coloreds” signs, but that is precisely where the conservatives want to take us, only without the signs. Virgin explained that she was adamantly opposed to the bill, but thought this a reasonable accommodation to help lessen the embarrassment that could be caused to people if they went into a business where the owners intended to refuse service. Makes sense to me.

Well, once that amendment got on the bill, that was the end of that. It seems the Christianists are all fine with being bigots, so long as they don’t have to do it publicly. They are learning there is a price these days for bigotry in most places. They’d rather it stay quiet between themselves and the gay couple they just embarrassed and inconvenienced. They know if they have to advertise, on their website they are bigots, there will also be some straight people who stay away. This is just like the battles to try to keep secret those who sign anti-gay ballots initiative petitions, and give to anti-gay causes. They are righteous enough to sign, and write checks, but not righteous enough to own the consequences of their bigotry.

Maybe this would be a good time to poll Deep’s readers.

Should businesses be able to discriminate against a person in the provision of their services and/or products?

View Results

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Whiplash – A Movie Review

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Mar 152015

Whiplash_Movie_PosterAndrew Neyman is an ambitious young jazz drummer, single-minded in his pursuit to rise to the top of his élite east coast music conservatory. Plagued by the failed writing career of his father, Andrew hungers day and night to become one of the greats. Terence Fletcher, an instructor equally known for his teaching talents as for his terrifying methods, leads the top jazz ensemble in the school. Fletcher discovers Andrew and transfers the aspiring drummer into his band, forever changing the young man’s life. Andrew’s passion to achieve perfection quickly spirals into obsession, as his ruthless teacher continues to push him to the brink of both his ability-and his sanity.

Director: Damien Chazelle; Writer: Damien Chazelle; Stars: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist; Runtime: 107 min; Rated: R; Genre: Drama, Music; Released: 2014-10-15

We actually went to see this a couple of weeks ago at Veteran’s 24 theater. My expectations were not too high, and I was surprised that Lay was interested at all. I was in the band in high school, a great band at that, with a tough (but nothing like the J.K. Simmons character, Terence Fletcher) band director. I just didn’t see how it could be that compelling. Boy, was I wrong. Everything about this film was stellar; casting, writing, acting, directing, music and cinematography all came together to just tell an incredible story.

Nineteen year old Andrew Nieman wants to be the greatest jazz drummer in the world, in a league with Buddy Rich. Andrew is starting his first year at Shaffer Conservatory of Music, the best music school in the United States. At Shaffer, being the best means being accepted to study under Terence Fletcher, and being asked to play in his studio band. Based on their less than positive first meeting, Andrew is surprised that Fletcher asks him to join the band, albeit in the alternate drummer position which he is more than happy to do initially. Andrew quickly learns that Fletcher operates on fear and intimidation, never settling for what he considers less than the best each and every time.

I don’t know who impressed me more Miles Teller in the lead as Andrew Nieman or Simmons playing Band teacher Terence Fletcher. Both did so great that had either been a lesser actor they would have been out shined by the other. Simmons’ character could have easily been cartoonish and 2 dimensional but Simmons gave him such depth that through the whole film I kept feeling wisps of compassion for him, and even understood his motives before he lays them out for Nieman in the third act. For a younger actor, Miles Teller,  who I haven’t seen in much, played his role like a seasoned actor. His performance just wrapped me up, and to find out he did much of the drumming himself is insane. Whilst watching some of the intense scenes I felt like I was watching him be executed, and other times it feels like the fight in Rocky, you feel like you are just watching him get demolished, except all of this is emotional and not  physical. Whether it is the discouragement, the social awkwardness, the single parent household, the internal conflict, the hubris, the arrogance, and at times the mental torture that he put himself through, all just blew me away. Teller had the charisma and electricity to connect to the audience.

The writing was outstanding. Often you kind of know where a movie is headed, but this movie stayed very unpredictable. Just when you think for certain how a scene or sequence of scenes will play out they take a hard left, and it keeps you off-balance (in a good way). It was so refreshing, a few times I thought the ending was near, but then something disrupts how “it should go or end”.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (1 votes, average: 9.00 out of 10)

Weekly Twitter Digest

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Mar 072015
Mar 052015

This is a great Youtube by the Ad Council. You know them from the late night public service announcement on TV.

The video tells a great story about not judging a book by its cover. Take 3 minutes to get a smile for today.