Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Serious Question: Why Won't Mad Men Let Peggy Olson Have Friends?

Warning:  The following post contains major spoilers for Mad Men's sixth season.  If you aren't caught up yet...I have no use for you.
So anyone who's had a conversation with me knows that Peggy Olson is my homegirl.  Watching the evolution of Mad Men's secretary-turned-copywriter-turned-advertising superstar over six seasons has been an exhilarating ride.  What I love about Peggy is from day one she has never fit into the mold of a traditional television character, from her intelligence to social awkwardness to her sexual appetite to her unconventional looks.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Your Nightly Inspiration: The Poetry of Max Huberman

Anyone who was fortunate enough to meet my late grandfather Max Huberman knows that he was an epic individual.  With a personal history reads like a history of liberalism in the 20th century, Max's life was committed to the preservation of justice and free thought, whether he was campaigning for racial justice, religious liberty, or empowering people to transform their health through a plant-based diet.  His personal motto was a quote from Horace Mann: "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity," and he lived that creed many times over.

But it was not Max's ideological fervor alone that inspired such admiration from those around him.  While Max possessed a politician's drive, he was a poet at heart, and his ability to distill complex emotions, histories, and philosophies into verse and jokes endeared him to family and strangers alike.

Vulture's Recaps are the Main Reason I Still Hate-Watch Smash

Okay, so I will be the first one to admit NBC's "Smash"musical-theatre themed drama is highly flawed and tonally inconsistent.  But as someone for whom showtunes provided the soundtrack to my elementary and adolescent years, it's fun to have a chance to nerd out once a week when I see the likes of Bernadette Peters on network TV (or rather, my computer screen.  Hulu, baby!).  I totally fell to pieces when I watched this mother-daughter ballad last week:

But the main pleasure of "Smash" has been the insider baseball-ness of the whole operation, from last year's behind-the-scenes drama involving showrunner Theresa Rebeck to the irony of Megan Hilty's character on TV being constantly passed over for the part of Marilyn in favor of an "American Idol" star while actual Broadway producers cast her in the revival of Monroe's iconic role in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."

Friday, April 12, 2013

Exactly Who Were These Confederate Jews? A Critical Examination of The Whipping Man

So for my first post, I'd like to share an essay I wrote for Theatre Criticism a few years ago.  While The Whipping Man closed on Broadway some time ago, I find the issues of Jewish identity and persecution to be relevant to the current struggles inside and outside of our community.  Matthew Lopez's play examines the little-known revelation that Jews, formerly a persecuted people, in fact owned slaves and fought for the Confederacy.  While as I history buff I always enjoy exploring esoteric footnotes in the grand narrative, I found his treatment of the subject frustratingly shallow and lacking in any kind of empathy or understanding of what it was actually like to be a Jew in the 19th-century and why Jews would participate in the vile institution of slavery.  In Theatre Criticism I was so pissy after seeing the play that I decided to write research paper to prove how shallow I found the play. 

See Lisa. See Lisa Blog. BLOG, LISA, BLOG!

So I've officially decided to start blogging.  Why? Because I have thoughts.  Thoughts that I want to share.  Thoughts that I'd like to think are slightly more articulate and academic than a facebook post.

A few weeks ago I posted a quote from Gypsy, the one where Rose says, "What I got inWhat I'm still evolving the nuts and bolts of this operation, so don't be surprised if there are some changes in the coming weeks, but I was sick of trying to find reasons to avoid launching it.

So here she is boys.  Here she is world.