Friday, April 27, 2012

Bring On Your Wrecking Ball 

With field seats for Bruce's fall show at Nationals Stadium in the house, here is a post Julie wrote a few weeks back on our last encounter with the E Street Band...

A couple of weeks ago, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band brought it live at the Verizon Center in front of a sold-out crowd. A life-long fan, I have never been disappointed by the extreme stamina and talent of the E Street Band, and that night was no exception.

With such a deep history of music, the E Street Band played a combination of some of their oldest pieces, as well as a bunch from their latest album, Wrecking Ball. Their experience and talent kept them going through numerous requested pieces and oldies that hadn't been performed in decades. I was especially impressed by the ability of the band's newest member, Jake Clemons, the nephew of Clarence Clemons who passed away this past year. This young saxophone player had some huge shoes to fill, but he rolled right along with the crazy atmosphere of the E Street Band's improvisation.

My favorite part of the evening, though, was watching the music I had been listening to for weeks come to life. On the stage, the reality of the lyrics Springsteen writes mean so much more. For me, this is the reason live performance is so much greater than recordings of any kind. Watching the artist feel the words he writes, or even watching the actor delve into the character he has created, is a communication with the audience that transcends what is possible on TV and in movies. This, I realized, is why I love acting on a stage where human connection with the audience is made possible.

~Julie

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Island President

Did you know that the Maldives are sinking and one day fairly soon may be under water?  Did you know that the president of the Maldives was recently ousted in a political coup?

No?

Well, neither did we...At least not until we checked out The Island President, a documentary about Mohamed Nasheed, a surprisingly interesting figure in world politics, particularly in the area of climate change and rising sea levels.

Nasheed has spent his life advocating for democracy in his home country of the Maldives, a series of 2,000 or so islands in the Indian Ocean.  By his own account, he has been arrested nearly 30 times and has spent a year and a half in solitary confinement.

A few years ago, however, the "Mandela of the Maldives" overcame all of this institutional opposition and became the country's democratically elected president.

Upon winning office, Nasheed made global climate change one of his administration's top priorities.  Given that the Maldives are so low lying, the country represents a front line in the battle against rising sea levels.  A rise of just a few feet in sea levels will result in the entire country becoming submerged.

Nasheed's aspirations took him to Copenhagen a few years back, when world leaders were meeting with the intention of coming up with a first-ever accord in the area of climate change.  It was there that Nasheed became a favorite of environmental activists in the West, by pushing for standards beyond those envisioned by the leaders of major world powers.

Over time, however, Nasheed ran into difficulties back home, where he was buffeted by supporters of the country's former leader, as well as those opposed to his religiously moderate policies.  And so, two months ago, Nasheed was ousted from the presidency.

Pressing to gain his office back, Nasheed has made the rounds, visiting leaders in India, Australia, and the United States.  Nasheed has also had time to squeeze in a visit to The Daily Show, promoting The Island Presidency and his cause for early elections in the Maldives.

I'm thinking the Maldives would be a good choice for a Ph.D. dissertation in electoral politics, climate change, religion and politics...you name it!  Just think about all of the snorkeling you can do at the end of a hard day of fieldwork!

~Steve

Monday, April 23, 2012

From Midnight Bingo At Bishop Ahr To Post Prom At Dave & Buster's

Back when I was in high school, my dad always worked the Father's Club midnight bingo on Saturday nights.  It was something that he was not too fond of, and he still occasionally reminisces about it all of these years later.  How he would take a nap after dinner for a few hours.  How the place would be filled with cigarette smoke.  How his entire weekend would be thrown off.

But he did it anyway, because, well, that's what he does.  (I'm thinking about all of those trips down to DC this year, to watch various theatrical performances.)

And now, twenty-five years later, it is my turn.  (I can see that smile on your face, Dad!)

The call went out on Friday during the day that there was a shortage of dad's from the Father's Club to chaperon the post-prom event at Dave and Buster's.  Yes, this past Friday night, as you can see, was the prom at Holy Cross.

My little role in all of the fun was to head over to Dave and Buster's while the gang was still at the hotel where the prom was being held.  Once the Dave and Buster's staff cleared out the place, it was up to us parents to get things ready to go for an all-Holy Cross event from midnight until 2:30 a.m.

(As an aside, I really enjoyed walking up to Dave and Buster's, seeing the sign posted about a "private party," and for once being associated with that private party!)

The girls and their dates were really, really lucky, to have the entire Dave and Buster's to themselves, with food, drinks, games, prizes.

As for us dads, we keep a constant patrol and watch on the doors.  We ate and drank soda and coffee.  We chatted about our kids and lives.  And we even played a few shoot 'em up games, shot some hoops, and swung some golf clubs (for me, it was a return to the Harbour Town Golf Links).

So, there you go, Dad...What goes around has certainly come around!

~Steve