You Love Everything!

For some reason, I tend to do a lot of street talking with my local mailmen.  After our old carrier retired last year, our new carrier is even older, and perhaps, kinder, and he is a traditional Indian gentleman Sikh who wears a Dastar that matches the pewter blue color of his official United States Postal Service uniform.  He is very proper and absolutely resolute in everything he does.

We’ll call our new mailman “Jerry” to protect his privacy.  I always run into Jerry on the street, and I warned him when he first started that I would always say “Hi” when I saw him on the street just because I’m from the Midwest and that’s how we operate and I can’t help myself to pretend I don’t see him.  Jerry seemed to be okay with that, and we often exchange pleasantries on the street and oftentimes we stop and chat a bit.

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Howard Stein Rents a Revenge

As a graduate student at Columbia University, I recall one particularly challenging playwriting assignment from mentor, and teacher, Dr. Howard Stein: “Rent a Revenge.”

“Rent a Revenge” was one of the last, and most challenging, things for us to write because Howard would only give us the title of the assignment.  You had to figure out the rest on your own.  Many students would get stuck and whine and complain, but Howard would not budge with additional direction.  Ask him any question about the assignment, and all he would do is yell back at you, “Rent a Revenge.”

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LeRoy Neiman Blended Business with Brushstrokes

LeRoy Neiman was — more than anything — a businessman.  He knew how to make money with bright colors and call it “art.”  I don’t really consider LeRoy a True Artist — and I don’t think he did, either — because he was sort of cynical about the Art Game and he played the corners and surrounded the edges of the business of squeezing as much profit as possible from his palette of colors.  He was more publisher than painter.  More printmaker than trailblazer.  Yesterday, LeRoy Neiman died rich at age 91, and the Art community is left behind to struggle with the aftermath of his legacy of commerce over providence and the fact of how the bottom line can mockingly override original intention.

Continue reading → LeRoy Neiman Blended Business with Brushstrokes and Alumni Email

One of the newer chits college and university alumni associations offer to former students is “email for life” even if the former students attended the school in the Dark Age Before There Was Email.  The University of Nebraska-Lincoln — clearly because of their new email deal with the Microsoft devil — now finally offers a university email address that is both worthwhile and valuable.

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The Two Week MFA

After four years, we still hold the one-year Masters degree in utter disdain.  I recently learned that an old adjunct friend of mine was forced to get an MFA degree — a Master of Fine Arts — in order to keep her college teaching job.

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Liviu Ciulei Fills the Empty Space

I met Romanian director and actor Liviu Ciulei while I was a graduate student at Columbia University.  He was teaching directing and Shakespeare and the first thing I learned from him was how to correctly spell his name.  That spelling talent came in handy because when others in the department needed to write Liviu a note, they sought me out for help in composing his name.  Liviu is more fragile today at age 87, but the strength of the name, and his talent, remains within me.

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Thinking About Eric Bentley

In thinking about Eric Bentley as he stretches beyond his 93rd birthday, we are torn between the genius of his writing and his coldness as a man.  Will the writing endure?  Or will the chilly memory frost the evergreen talent?

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