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Adele and Kumail

Back when Adele losing weight was the story of the moment, I started listening to "Staying In with Kumail and Emily."
It's a great podcast about weathering the pandemic, and its hosts are Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, the married power couple behind The Big Sick.
If you listen to the podcast, there's a decent amount of talk about how Kumail had to get in really good shape for his part in The Eternals, the Marvel movie that was supposed to come out this Fall.
Kumail's new physique was unveiled dramatically in an Instagram post and then on the cover of Men's Health, and the reaction was--
Overwhelmingly positive.
Gays were thirty.  Gals were thirsty.  I was thirsty.
There was a lot of thirst.
Put a pin in that, and let's go back to Adele.
When it was revealed that Adele had lost a lot of weight, the Internet immediately did that thing it does when a woman loses a lot of weight.
First it praises her.
Then there's blowback about the praise from women and men…
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Theater and the Opening Night Brawl

For this interview, we need to use names. There are way too many characters to keep it all anonymous, and after careful consideration, I've decided to go the mature route and name everybody after Peanuts characters.
The story you're about to hear happened twenty-five years ago, and when I heard about it, I spent two months tracking down someone willing to speak with me about it.
Here's the interview:
ME:  How did it start?
THEM:  That's the question.  That's what nobody really--We were all talking about that.  For months.  Because, you know, this was 1996--
ME:  '96 or '95?
THEM:  '95, I'm sorry.  '95.  But so, you know, we didn't have--Back then, when something like that--Things never happened like that, but when they did, you got on the phone and this one called that one and compared notes, and you couldn't get a story straight, because it took a week to get everybody's side.
ME:  But let's start the beginning.
THEM:  Okay.
ME:  This to…

I Think I'm Ruining Everything Right Now

I watched a movie the other night that everybody loved and I couldn't stand it.
Now, I'm not afraid to say that I dislike something everybody else likes, but the problem was, it was a movie I should have liked.
It's exactly the kind of film I would have loved pre-pandemic, and I found myself watching it, feeling as though I was watching a cartoon from childhood that doesn't hold up.
The movie seemed...distant.  Like, I was watching it from a detached perspective that could fundamentally understand its strengths, but unable to enjoy them.
It's making me wonder if I should try consuming anything new while we're mired in this nightmare.
Anything I've re-watched has been a real comfort.
It's as though all my previous faves were grandfathered in, and now anytime I try to put something fresh in my brain, my brain is summarily rejecting it as if to say "You want me to process something NEW?"
That goes for books, music, television--
Everything is either met w…

Theater and Cancel Culture

Today I get to talk to one of my favorite people all about cancel culture.
They have been working in theater for over twenty years, and we talked for so long, I had to spend a few hours editing the interview down to something you could actually follow, so you might see the unedited seventeen-part series at some point in the future.
But for now, here's the (condensed) interview--
ME:  How are you?

THEM:  I am tired.  How are you?

ME:  I'm pretty tired.
THEM:  You still starting these interviews asking 'How are you?'
ME:  Listen.
THEM:  (Laughs.)  You ever get anybody saying 'I'm doing so good, Kev.'
ME:  I haven't gotten that in awhile.
THEM:  Wait, I was supposed to say something.  What was I supposed to say?

ME:  I've been better.
THEM:  I'VE BEEN BETTER.  Yes.  That's me.
ME:  Can we do this damn interview now?

THEM:  Boy, you better watch that tone.
ME:  It is--what time is it?

THEM:  (Laughs.)  Oh, you deadass tired.  Not even a little.
ME:  Not even a l…

Look to the Meanest People You Know

First, let's make one thing clear.
I'm a horrible person.
Really bad.
Absolute control freak.
Pathological need to be the center of attention.
Loooove feeling important.
Love it.
Now, most of the time, all of these things would not necessarily make me person to be around.
I mean, some people put up with it, and because I do theater, some of it is tolerated because it falls under the heading of "Annoying Things About Theater People."

But your average person tends to balk at it, and I don't blame them.
They don't want any of that in their lives.
...Until there's an emergency.
In the middle of the pandemic, you saw people who previously hated Governor Cuomo and Governor Raimondo here in Rhode Island saying things like "You know, I never liked them before, but I really admire the way they handled this crisis."

What you don't seem to understand is, all the things you didn't like about them are the things that made it possible for them to …

Theater and Failing Up

This week's interview is with someone who has recently stepped down as Artistic Director of a prominent theater in their area.
They asked to speak with me about their experience.
Here's the interview:
ME:  How long were you at the company?

THEM:  Two years.
ME:  Okay.
THEM:  Two long years.
ME:  Long years.
THEM:  Feels like--yeah.
ME:  What made you decide to leave?

THEM:  Before we shut down due to COVID, I was on the fence about leaving.  When you started to see theaters responding to Black Lives Matter and looking at how they handle incorporating BIPOC in their theaters and their seasons, I had a conversation with my board where I was met with a lot of resistance.
ME:  What was the reason behind the resistance?

THEM:  The reason I got was--This isn't a pressing matter for us.  We don't know if we're going to re-open. We need to focus on that.  Once we do that, we can revisit this.  I also felt like--I felt that they felt that by hiring me, and by having me as the Artistic …

Posting Is A Disease

One of my favorite podcasts is Who? Weekly, and a few weeks ago, one of the co-hosts nailed it with one sentence.
Posting is a disease.
She was talking about an influencer who got into trouble for posting about getting a haircut during the height of the pandemic when everything was supposed to be under lockdown.
Aside from what you may think about that person breaking quarantine, the bigger question seemed to be--
Why would you post about it?

This person knows she has a large following. She knew what she was doing was wrong. She must have known she'd get dragged for it.
So why post?
Because posting is a disease.
When the entire world came to a halt, I remember hearing about how liquor stores needed to stay open, because otherwise alcoholics would have withdrawals and need to go to hospitals and it was easier just to let them continue on with their addiction since we didn't have time to address the problem in any other way.
All right, I thought, but what about attention addicts?
What are w…