Odds and Ends

bullet image I am famous. But then again, everyone is. At least that’s the notion behind the All People Are Famous podcast. Eli, the podcast’s host, recently interviewed me, and that episode is now available.

You can learn way more than you ever wanted to about me by listening to it (may not work on all devices – should be available on iTunes soon).

bullet image Some upcoming activities:

  • I am Artistic Director of The Living Canvas, and we’ll be having our final performance of Living Canvas: For the People this Saturday night (July 20) at National Pastime Theater in Chicago. It’s been a fabulously terrifying and collaborative experience this year, as we have been creating the shows we perform in workshops during that day. It’s worked quite wonderfully.
  • On Sunday, July 21, from 5-7 pm Eastern, I’l be hosting FireDogLake’s Book Salon: It’s NORML to Smoke Pot: The 40 Year Fight for Marijuana Smokers’ Rights featuring Keith Stroup. Anticipating a good discussion about the history of NORML and the different approaches to attacking marijuana prohibition. Please join us.
  • On Sunday, July 21 through Sunday, July 28, I’ll be one of the three judges of the Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival in Palatine, Illinois. It’s a wonderful festival, and I look forward to some outstanding films that focus on telling compelling stories.

bullet image For those who are interested, here’s a crosspost of mine from Facebook regarding the consumption of “news” media.

In cases like the Zimmerman trial, or any of the other murder cases du jour, it may be a good idea to be aware of the broad strokes in order to discuss philosophical and political ramifications. But if you’re following the details of the trial as if you were a member of the jury, you are no longer watching news, despite the fact that it may be on a so-called “news” channel. It is, instead, cheap sensationalistic entertainment for the masses, closely akin to the Roman Coliseum.

Most of our media does a pretty piss poor job at informing the public. They would much rather entertain, but do so without the production value of movies or the quality storytelling of theater. Instead, they draw upon our ugly voyeuristic impulse to view train wrecks and shouting matches.

If your “news” source is covering the Zimmerman trial more than the stop-and-frisk lawsuit in New York (which also has much greater implications on race in this country), it isn’t doing its job. If your “news” source is covering Snowden more then the NSA, FISA courts, or James Clapper’s lies to Congress, it isn’t doing its job.

I was interested to learn that a new cable news channel is starting up with plans to broadcast starting in late August. Their intent is to forgo sensationalism and the endless bickering of opinionated talking heads, and instead focus on hard-hitting news both domestic and international. It’s bizarre that we don’t have such a thing already; it’s disturbing that analysts predict it unlikely to be successful; and it’s ironic that it had to originate from outside the United States. I wish the best of luck to Al Jazeera America.

Obviously, we, as Americans, have mostly lost the ability to report the news. Hopefully, we can still find the ability to receive it.

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