Concettina Died and Other Stories of the East Side

Index Zazaura: Change Has Come to America Edition, posted November 13, 2008 at 03:56 PM


I haven't done a new Index since mid July--so I'll use this one to cover the big personal and political news, and I'll do another one soon just for music, as I have a bunch of good recommendations to throw out there.

On the personal front, after having made a wrong turn at Albuquerque twelve years ago, Patsy at long last made a U-turn and arrived in New York on October 20, 2008. She's feelin' the Zazaura loud and clear in The Adrienne Zaza Guest Bedroom™. Her arrival was a few months earlier than we'd originally anticipated, but as Mom and Dad are coming to NYC for Xmas this year--my first Xmas in New York!--it's great that Patsy will be here to join in the fun. And let me just say that having someone with Patsy's skill-set in the house makes for certain enjoyments I haven't experienced since leaving home at 18: I came home the other night to homemade split pea soup and a freshly baked pecan pie! (Watch out, Stephanie: this pie is rivaling yours for First Place in the pecan category). But beyond the good eats, it's so great to live in the same city again--and the same time zone!--for the first time in 16 years. I mean, casually going to the movies takes on a new tone of Importance when you haven't been able to do something like that for such a long time. So yeah, welcome to Patsy the New Yorker!

I guess the rest of this blog speaks for itself with regards to the election. I'm still high on this sweet victory. I am so thankful to have had a part to play in our newest swing state, North Carolina. Even better, Elizabeth Dole has been removed from office. Good riddance. November 4 did have its sobering moments, though: four states passed anti-civil rights laws. Arizona and Florida amended their Constitutions to prevent marriage equality from ever taking hold, and Arkansas decided it's better for children to be orphans than to be raised by same-sex couples. But worst of all, the people of California actually voted to revoke a right that their Constitution previously made explicit--marriage equality. The Mormon Church--experts that they are in marriage issues (what with a history of child brides, incest, and polygamy)--poured money into a campaign of fear-mongering ads that misled the public in exactly what they were voting on. And even more shameful is that our side got lazy and distracted--assuming that California was too progressive to pass this fucked-up law and that the huge margins for Obama would prevent its passage--and failed to make the case for keeping these civil rights for all Californians. By the time our side realized what was happening and started to mobilize, the hate-mongers on the other side had already dominated the conversation, recruited their voters, and out-organized us on every front. Hate is powerful, unfortunately. It will eventually be defeated by love, but we've got a long way to go.

But there are still bright spots of progress. Connecticut, just yesterday, started performing same-sex marriages. This is another court-mandated victory for our side. And while I'm happy that so many courts are recognizing that individuals' rights need to be protected from majority dominance at the polls, it sure would be nice if a state began allowing and performing same-sex marriages not because of being forced to by the courts but because it's the right thing to do. Fortunately, New York may be the first to do it. Our state Assembly gave marriage equality the thumbs up last year after former-Gov. Spitzer introduced legislation for it. But the Republicans who controlled the state Senate refused to take it up. The Democrats have just won back the Senate for the first time in a generation. The margins are tight, but with Governor Paterson's active support, we have the opportunity to make American history right here in the Empire State. I say it's about time this state started leading the country toward more progressive views again. If you live in New York, please contact your assembly-person and state senator. They're gonna need some encouragement to make this happen.

Anyway, speaking of states, is it just me or is Alaska's only contribution to the world a few drops of oil that are basically ruining the planet as we burn them? As far as I'm concerned we can drill-baby-drill Alaska right into the sea. Give it back to the Canadians. Or better yet, Russia. We heard a lot about Alaska during election season, but I just can seem to recall why. Who cares.

Tangentially related to politics is the new documentary Man on Wire. I mean, it's not related to politics at all--except that in addition to being a splendid portrait of an unusual artist and a vivid history of an unusual event, it's also a very touching homage to the World Trade Center. The film retells the story of Philippe Petit, a tightrope walker who in 1974 snuck into the World Trade Center, strung a wire between the two 110-story towers and proceeded to walk between them. The film shows a lot of footage of the construction of the WTC, and gorgeous sweeping shots of what were, at the time, the tallest buildings in the world. The film never once mentions 9/11 and never even makes reference to the buildings no longer existing. But with such a focused location, it's impossible to forget about 9/11 while watching. Anyway, beyond the Trade-Centeredness of it, the film is a remarkable portrait of a man who defies categorization beyond that of being an artist. Petit is a man possessed, working a singular vision, dreaming larger than any ordinary person would ever dream. He transforms buildings into sky and himself into an angel. He's a prankster, a bon vivant, a poet, an elf, a magician, and an athlete. And through archival footage, still photos, contemporary interviews, and staged recreations, the film sweeps the viewer right up to the top of the world. It's extraordinary.

But more on popular culture in the next edition. You'll be hearing about music and theater and opera and more movies--including Patsy's virginal encounter with the High School Musical franchise! Till then, take this Man on Wire preview and fly with it....

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