Friday, January 05, 2007

"Mame" Opening Night Tonight

Even though we performed New Year's Eve, tonight is the actual opening of "Mame." Interestingly, because of the New Year's Eve preview, we are better rehearsed now than is the usual case for an opening at DMTC. But things are never perfect....

Last night, Wendy Young Carey tripped in the dark over carpet stationed (ill-advisedly) against the roll-up door, not that far from the stage-right exit. She fell and may have broken her wrist. The lack of discoloration suggests instead that the wrist is only badly-bruised, but we'll find out when we see her later this evening.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Preserve The Data, At All Costs

Richard Dawkins, he be funny!:
THE OBVIOUS objections to the execution of Saddam Hussein are valid and well aired. ... But I want to add another and less obvious objection: Hussein's mind would have been a unique resource for historical, political and psychological research, a resource that is now forever unavailable to scholars.

Imagine that some science-fiction equivalent of Simon Wiesenthal built a time machine, traveled back to 1945 and returned to the present with a manacled Adolf Hitler. What should we do with him? Execute him? No, a thousand times no. Historians squabbling over exactly what happened in the Third Reich and World War II would never forgive us for destroying the central witness to all the inside stories, and one of the pivotal influences on 20th century history. Psychologists, struggling to understand how an individual human being could be so evil and so devastatingly effective at persuading others to join him, would give their eyeteeth for such a rich research subject.

Kill Hitler? You would have to be mad to do so. Yet that is undoubtedly what we would have done if he hadn't killed himself in 1945. Hussein is not in the same league as Hitler, but, nevertheless, in a small way his execution represents a wanton and vandalistic destruction of important research data.

He should have been locked up, by all means. Kept him in jail for the rest of his life, to be sure. But to execute him was irresponsible. Hussein could have provided irreplaceable help to future historians of the Iran-Iraq war, of the invasion of Kuwait and of the subsequent era of sanctions culminating in the invasion. Uniquely privileged evidence on the American government's enthusiastic arming of Hussein in the 1980s is now snuffed out at the tug of a rope (no doubt to the relief of Donald Rumsfeld and other guilty parties; it is surely no accident that the trial of Hussein neglected those of his crimes that might — no, would — have implicated them).

Political scientists of the future, studying the processes by which unscrupulous leaders arise and take over national institutions, have now lost key evidence forever. But perhaps the most important research in which a living Saddam Hussein could have helped is psychological. Most people can't even come close to understanding how any man could be so cruel as Hitler or Hussein, or how such transparently evil monsters could secure sufficient support to take over an entire country.

What were the formative influences on these men? Was it something in their childhood that turned them bad? In their genes? In their testosterone levels? Could the danger have been nipped in the bud by an alert psychiatrist? How would Hitler or Hussein have responded to a different style of education? We don't have a clear answer to these questions. We need to do the research.

Are there lots of Husseins and lots of Hitlers in every society, with most ending up as football hooligans wrecking trains rather than dictators wrecking countries? If so, what singles out the minority that do come to power? Or were men such as these truly unusual? What can we do to prevent them gaining power in the future? Are there changes we could make to our political institutions that would make it harder for men of Hitler's or Hussein's psychological types to take them over?

These questions are not just academically fascinating but potentially of vital importance for our future. And they cannot be answered by prejudice or preconception or intuitive common sense. The only way to answer them is by research. It is in the nature of research on ruthless national dictators that the sample size is small. Wasn't the judicial destruction of one of the very few research subjects we had — and a prime specimen at that — an act of vandalism?
Reading The Tea Leaves Of The Recent Xmas Shopping Season

They say it wasn't that good, but on the other hand, they had some pretty high expectations too. I wonder what leads to the high expectations? It's not as if corporate America, swamped these days with cash, has been in a hurry to increase wages - the surest way to boost consumer spending. Still, even if sales were up and beat inflation, the bean-counters seemed glum.

Come on folks, be happy! People had fun and they did spend money! There was lots to celebrate!:
An already disappointing holiday shopping season turned out to be even worse than expected for many of the nation's retailers, who said Thursday they had tepid sales gains for December.

... Ken Perkins, president of RetailMetrics LLC, a research company in Swampscott, Mass., said retailers were forced to mark down heavily to bring in sales.
"Clearly, this was a promotional Christmas," he said. "Consumers clearly waited until the last minute."

... Based on 51 stores that reported, Perkins said 23 retailers beat sales expectation, 25 missed estimates and three stores matched projections.

...After a solid start to the holiday season, many stores struggled with disappointing business in December, and a shopping surge in the days just before and after Christmas wasn't strong enough to make up for lost sales. Merchants tried to stick to their previously planned discounts, but at the seaon's end they resorted to bigger-than-anticipated cuts to pull shoppers in.

Mild weather across much of the country meant consumers were in no hurry to buy cold weather wear such as coats and gloves, depressing sales at many apparel stores. Declining gasoline prices and a steady job market should have helped merchants, but Perkins believes the recent drop in home equity loans - a big source of buying power over the past few years - curtailed spending among middle-income shoppers.

Sales results were also hurt by two big shifts in the way consumers are shopping: the increasing popularity of gift cards and robust online buying, which is not included in same-store results. Gift card sales are only posted when they are redeemed rather than bought, helping to extend the holiday season into January.

Wal-Mart, which warned earlier in the season that its same-store sales gain would be no better than 1 percent, posted a 1.6 percent increase for December. Retail industry analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected 1 percent gain.

...Wal-Mart has struggled with a mix of problems, including the fact that its lower-income customers were hurt by soaring gas prices. But the company's lackluster sales have persisted even as the cost of gas retreated - partly because its attempt to broaden its appeal to higher-income shoppers was poorly executed, particularly in apparel and home furnishings.

...Rival discounter Target Corp. had a 4.1 percent gain in same-store sales, below the 4.5 percent estimate.

Costco Wholesale Corp. posted a 9 percent gain in same-store sales, beating Wall Street's 5.7 percent estimate.

... Federated Department Stores Inc., which acquired May Department Stores Co. last year, had a 4.4 percent gain in same-store sales, below the 5.5 percent estimate from Wall Street. The same-store results include only the Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores that existed before September, when the company transformed most of the former May Co. stores to Macy's units.

...Nordstrom Inc. reported a robust 9 percent same-store sales gain, exceeding the 4.3 percent forecast. Luxury operator Saks Inc. had an 11 percent same-store sales, gain, nearly twice the 5.3 percent estimate.
WATB (Whiny Ass Titty Babies)

Gotta start somewhere:
Washington Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Washington Wizards basketball team and Verizon Center, yesterday blasted Democratic plans to kill a sports ticket loophole from lawmakers’ $50 gift limit, saying it would damage an important local business.

“We support the concept of full and open disclosure on the part of lobbyists and lawmakers to comply with ethics standards,” said Matt Williams, senior vice president at WS&E. “However, we oppose a total ban on all corporate entertainment opportunities. And this ban of tickets to sporting events as gifts will cause a negative impact on our business.

“Probably more than any other franchises in professional sports, Washington, D.C.-area teams count business from lobbyists as a contributing factor to our bottom line. This ban will certainly negatively affect the business we do with one of the major industries in our region — the federal government.”

...The new House rules eliminate the wiggle room that stadium and arena officials have created for themselves by leaving prices off tickets to luxury suites and skyboxes.

“A gift of a ticket to a sporting or entertainment event shall be valued at the face value of the ticket or, in the case of a ticket without a face value, at the highest cost of a ticket with a face value for the event,” stated the new rule, which Democrats circulated yesterday.

It remains to be seen whether lobbyists or other benefactors can continue holding fundraisers for lawmakers. Such events are considered in-kind contributions to campaigns, and their propriety would depend on whether the value of the contribution exceeds campaign contributions. Now that the House has re-evaluated the worth of luxury box tickets, the Federal Election Commission could revisit in-kind contributions.

House Democratic leaders have thrown a new twist in the ethics rules for the 110th Congress by ending the long-standing exemption of certain sports and music tickets from the $50 limit on gifts that lawmakers and their aides are allowed to accept.

The new rules will take place just in time to foil the hopes of any House officials dreaming of free tickets to next month’s Super Bowl in sunny Miami. Likewise, young staffers hoping to catch the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Verizon Center later this month, or older aides looking forward to Rod Stewart’s performance the following evening, will have to pay their own way if the tickets cost $50 or more.

... In recent years it has been common practice for lawmakers and members of their staffs to accept tickets, often to the best seats in the arena, from lobbyists and other would-be friends, even though House rules prohibited them from accepting gifts worth more than $50. That’s because House ethics officials had accepted the arguments of lobbyists that individual event tickets that are part of a season-long rental of luxury suites could be valued below the limit. But to good-government groups it was clear that the tickets were really worth more.

Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen, said lawmakers often accepted free tickets from lobbyists.

“They did a lot, particularly for very important events like the Super Bowl, for which tickets would be normally impossible to get,” said Claybrook, who added that lawmakers and aides often received tickets after they were sold out to the general public and would be “extremely expensive” to purchase from other vendors.
Dry Chinchilla

I thought the place looked terribly dry! In 2006, the town of Chinchilla, Queensland, AU, out on the Warrego Highway in the agricultural district of the Darling Downs, had just 174.0 mm of rain, the lowest annual rainfall ever measured in 117 years, demolishing the previous annual low record of 302.9 mm in 1922, and barely making a quarter of the average annual rainfall of 668.6 mm. Good grief!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Progress Understanding Chickens

Helps shed some light on the broiler underworld:
A chicken going "tck, tck, tck" as it pecks is announcing the presence of food. That clucking makes the chicken the first animal other than primates that's been shown to make sounds that, like words, represent something in the environment, researchers say.

... The old tests, however, left a nagging possibility that the clucks just trigger a reflex to search for food, Evans says. Now, he and Linda Evans, also of Macquarie University, have used a different approach that's "given us confidence," he says, to label the chicken clucks as representational signals.

... For the new tests, the Evanses went back to food calls. For example, males go "tck, tck, tck" upon discovering anything edible.... Hens then stalk over to investigate. They take a tidbit from a male's beak or stare intently at the ground. "They look like people who've lost their glasses," says Chris Evans.

In half the tests, the researchers scattered a few kernels of corn onto the floor. That's enough food for a hen to notice, but nowhere near enough to satisfy its craving. The hens ate the corn before hearing a male's clucks. In the other half of the tests, hens encountered no food.

After each hen heard a recording of a male's food call, those that had already received corn spent less than 3 seconds peering at the ground. But birds that hadn't been fed searched, on average, for 7.5 seconds.

The difference in response times reflected whether a bird already knew that food was available, so the call isn't an automatic trigger for some reflex to search the ground, the researchers argue. In contrast, a rooster's ground-intruder call didn't evoke different responses from the fed and unfed groups, the Evanses say in a paper available online and in an upcoming Biology Letters.
Getting My Names Confused Again

I had marvelled about the discontinuities between the American and Australian pop music universes, and how 'The Veronicas' were big in Australia, but small here, but apparently I had confused the local Sacramento band called 'The Veronicas' (now 'Beyond Veronica') with 'The Veronicas' from Brisbane, Queensland, AU.

It's all so confusing. I have trouble remembering the names of people I see every day, much less rock bands.

But still, it leads one to wonder if a backwater band in Australia could make its way to the big time by spoofing its fan base, and sell lots of music back home by bragging about the huge success of a (barely-existent) American tour.

Ah, probably not. Damn that Internet - knowledge is too-widely dispersed these days!

We hired apes to be coffin followers, but all they did was get drunk at the wake, break bones over each other's heads, and run off to found a civilization.

Entitled, "RIP, Arthur C. Clarke": created by 'the legendary shark' over at B3ta.
Ultra-Dry Murray River Basin

The worst month ever recorded for southern Australia's most-important river network:
Just 34 gigalitres of water flowed into the river system in December - a tenth of what is normally expected and the lowest since records began in 1892.

... According to new figures, last year was the driest on record for the nation's biggest river system, with just 1317 gigalitres entering the river. The previous lowest inflow was 1740 gigalitres in 1902, during the Federation drought.

David Dreverman, general manager of River Murray Water, said January was historically a drier month than December and no relief was in sight until more usual levels of rain fell.
Flatback Turtles

Emerge from their nests and head to sea on the western shore of Cape York, Queensland.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

More On "Apocalypto"

W. admires Mel Gibson:
There are two true-life Hollywood success stories which fill me with admiration for the people involved. One is the story of Sylvester Stallone's breakthrough where he wrote a screenplay, but refused to sell it unless he could play the lead; after it was made, the movie won the Oscar for Best Picture of 1976. The other story is Mel Gibson's idea of making a story of Jesus's crucifixion from a Christian point of view, and historically accurate even to the languages spoken by the actors. Hollywood refused to support it, so Gibson made it with his own money, and it became one of the most-watched films of all time. After that, I resolved to see whatever movie he made next.

Apocalypto is one of those rare movies which are impossible to leave to use the restroom once the action gets going (Titanic is the only other one I can think of at the moment). After the first half hour of character setup, once the fighting started, there was no let-up until the end.

To me, the most important contribution that it made was to show a native American culture, the Mayans, in a predatory light. The current "progressive" view of native societies in general, and native Americans in particular, is governed by a childish utopian fantasy, partly 1700s Rousseau, and partly 1960s counterculture. On the contrary, anyone familiar with archeology knows that native American societies were consumed by continuous warfare, just like contemporaneous European societies. Some recent movies (Black Robe, Last of the Mohicans) have shown individual Indians acting realistically, with self-serving motives. However, Apocalypto's contribution of bringing a native American society within the circle of Man's Inhumanity to Man is a much-needed wake-up call for the reverential "Great Spirit" paradigm.

The second attribute of the film which commands respect is the way the primitive society (not the Mayans) was portrayed during the first half-hour. Watching it, I had the feeling that I was seeing real aborigines living their actual lives - there was no sense of actors acting a script written by someone else. This part of the movie was filmmaking of the highest order.

Another well-done part of the film was the feeling when the aborigines are brought to the Mayan city. After seeing their primitive lifestyle, juxtaposed against the wealth, technology, organization, diversity, brutality, chaos, and noise of the Mayan city, one can feel something of the shock that millions of captives and slaves throughout world history must have felt when brought to their captor's cities; a feeling of fear, bewilderment, wonder, confusion, fascination, dread, and hopelessness.

Although I enjoyed Apocalypto, it also had some flaws, which it shares with hundreds of other movies. The second half of the film is a relentless pursuit of the hero by his captors. It reminds one of the Fugitive, or even the Terminator. However, the hero takes too much abuse - he is injured too severely, too often, and he endures too much, to be realistic. At its core, Apocalypto is another movie where one simply has to suspend disbelief in order to appreciate it.
Mel Gibson took a huge risk by funding "Passion of the Christ" with his own money, but the tremendous success of the movie meant he also reaped the entire profit. Filmmaking is a very expensive venture, and most filmmakers are under tremendous pressures to cut corners for the sake of money. In addition, one or two failures can destroy a filmmaker's career.

Gibson's big success makes him one of the very few filmmakers, perhaps the only one ever, completely released from those pressures. He could make nothing but duds for the rest of his life, and he'd be OK. But there's no indication at the moment he's going to make duds. It's an enviable place to be!

Regarding the relentless pursuit, and the impossibly narrow escapes, Gibson simply follows the path blazed by Steven Spielberg, particularly 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark". This class of hyperdriven adventure movie tends to make me ill, so improbable the escapes, but it certainly leads to a thrilling cinematic experience.

Gibson also uses the "childish utopian fantasy, partly 1700s Rousseau, and partly 1960s counterculture" of portraying simple village life as a kind of pastoral. This is not to criticize Gibson, only to suggest that the fantasy is very deeply embedded in our culture, and probably will be there always. Gibson uses the fantasy, even if only to break it, for the purpose of the story.

I also liked the attention paid to rendering Mayan/Aztec civilization. The Spanish did much to try to erase that experience from world culture, and it takes scholarship, imaginative leaps and attention to detail to recreate it.

It's interesting to ponder how the American Southwest fit into the jigsaw of Mayan/Aztec civilization. It apparently was a satellite of the greater civilization, in some way. A considerable amount of turquoise from Cerrillos, NM ended up in Central America. The ball courts found universally in Central America are found as far north as southern Arizona, but, interestingly, not on the Colorado Plateau, signifying some kind of cultural or religious frontier along the Mogollon Rim. And I've often marvelled how the archaeologists at Chaco Canyon excavated macaw bones there. Macaws are native to Costa Rica and Panama. Amazing!
General Casey

About to get thrown under the Bush Administration bus. Poor guy. Now he's being treated as some kind of quitter, and all because he followed Bush Administration policy.
Dirty Tricks, Alive And Well For 2008

These media guys are about as subtle as cement:
But instead of asking "Where's Osama?" the graphic over the two Islamists read "Where's Obama?" referencing the surname of popular Illinois Democratic Senator Barack Obama.

A later segment of the show, which took up the topic of the 2008 presidential election, did discuss Senator Obama's political prospects if he chooses to run for president.

Blitzer apologized during this morning's coverage of the Gerald Ford funeral.

"I just want to make a correction, an apology, Soledad, for what we did yesterday. In 'The Situation Room,' we had a bad graphic," Blitzer said in a transcript delivered to RAW STORY by CNN's public relations staff. "We were doing a piece on the hunt for Osama Bin Laden in this new year 2007. Unfortunately, instead of saying "where is Osama," it said "where is Obama." I'm going to be calling Senator Barack Obama to make a personal apology."

A CNN employee also told RAW STORY an additional apology was offered by Soledad O'Brien earlier in the morning.

Bloggers rapidly highlighted the faulty graphic last night. At Daily Kos, a diary started by one user included comments from hundreds of users debating whether or not the graphic was constructed deliberately. While some noted the proximity of the program to New Year's Eve might have resulted in sleepy graphic artists at the cable network, others insisted that the 'B' and 'S' keys are far from one another on the keyboard, making a mere typographical error unlikely. Instead, they saw an anti-Obama bias in the news media as the source of the CNN graphic.

A variety of incidents over the course of recent months have created a perception that pundits and news organizations are attempting to link the popular freshman senator and possible presidential candidate with militant Islam.

Initially, a variety of news organizations and pundits began pointing out that Obama's middle name was "Hussein," given to him by his father who was born and raised a Muslim. In early November, Chris Matthews on MSNBC suggested that the "Hussein" moniker will "be interesting down the road." Republican pundits and strategists then began referring to Obama's middle name more pointedly. On an MSNBC broadcast, GOP strategist Ed Rogers said Obama's full name with a deliberately heavy emphasis on his middle name, and radio show host Rush Limbaugh later called him "Barack Hussein Odumbo." (A list of these and other Obama-related incidents are available at Media Matters for America.)

On a Dec. 11 broadcast of Blitzer's show, other moves suggested an effort to sustain a meme on Obama's Islamic links. First, a commentary by Jeff Greenfield asked "Is there any other major public figure who dresses the way he does?" and answered, "Why, yes. It is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad." He thereupon described Obama as a "sartorial timebomb." Greenfield later insisted that his remarks were merely a joke.

On the same broadcast, CNN correspondent Jeanne Moos made the Osama-Obama link. She noted, "Someone could confuse Obama with Osama. Only one little consonant differentiates the two names. And as if that similarity weren't enough, how about sharing the name of a former dictator?"

Following on these incidents, a conservative pundit went as far as to suggest that Obama might be a kind of Muslim Manchurian Candidate. An article by syndicated columnist Debbie Schlussel on December 18th asked "is a man who Muslims think is a Muslim, who feels some sort of psychological need to prove himself to his absent Muslim father, and who is now moving in the direction of his father's heritage, a man we want as President when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam? Where will his loyalties be?"
The Union Calls For A Strike

Against Blue Man Group
Those zany, resourceful Blue Men -- making instruments out of pipes and empty oil drums, creating art out of junk. But local stagehands locked in a labor battle with the Las Vegas-based production are proving no less resourceful. The local branch of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees recently got union federation AFL-CIO to call for a worldwide boycott of the avant-garde production. On Dec. 20, union federation AFL-CIO asked union families nationwide to boycott the show that has productions in Las Vegas, New York, Boston, Chicago, Berlin, London, Toronto and Amsterdam.
"Lemur" - Deborah's Newest Painting

I sent Deborah the following E-Mail:
Currently, our theater group is doing "Mame", and somehow this painting seems very much in the spirit of "Mame", but I wanted to ask a question. What is the name of the ship in the background? (the pixellation prevents me from determining it). Probably not Titanic????

The connection between the lemur and the rest of the painting is elusive (by design of course - one of these things is different). So, I'm thinking:
  • Everyone comes from Madagascar (probably not true);
  • The lemur is an alien import, like cane toads and tumbleweed (seems unlikely);
  • We all descend from a common ancestor some 30 million years ago (likely true, but irrelevant);
  • Lemurs are a fashion accessory (likely true, but irrelevant);
  • They are all creatures of the night (likely true, and more relevant).

    In any event, it's a nice painting!
Deborah replies:
> What is the name of the ship in the background? (the pixellation prevents me from determining it). Probably not Titanic????
No, it is HMS Queen Mary to commemorate B/D spent on board in Long
Beach with my niece.

> They are all creatures of the night (likely true, and more relevant).
This + the fact I love their stare.
Science Marches On

And opens a whole new can of worms:
SCIENTISTS are conducting experiments to change the sexuality of “gay” sheep in a programme that critics fear could pave the way for breeding out homosexuality in humans.

The technique being developed by American researchers adjusts the hormonal balance in the brains of homosexual rams so that they are more inclined to mate with ewes.

It raises the prospect that pregnant women could one day be offered a treatment to reduce or eliminate the chance that their offspring will be homosexual. Experts say that, in theory, the “straightening” procedure on humans could be as simple as a hormone supplement for mothers-to-be, worn on the skin like an anti-smoking nicotine patch.

The research, at Oregon State University in the city of Corvallis and at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, has caused an outcry. Martina Navratilova, the lesbian tennis player who won Wimbledon nine times, and scientists and gay rights campaigners in Britain have called for the project to be abandoned.

Navratilova defended the “right” of sheep to be gay. She said: “How can it be that in the year 2006 a major university would host such homophobic and cruel experiments?” She said gay men and lesbians would be “deeply offended” by the social implications of the tests.

But the researchers argue that the work is valid, shedding light on the “broad question” of what determines sexual orientation. They insist the work is not aimed at “curing” homosexuality.
Ghost Riding The Whip

This sounds like fun:
Hyphy was born in the San Francisco Bay cities of Oakland, Richmond and Vallejo in the late 1990s, and devotees often hold late-night car rallies called "sideshows" where crowds perform risky stunts, including ghost riding.

"Ghost riding" refers to the absence of a driver. "The whip" is urban slang for your car. Typically, the driver drops the car into neutral and dances around and on top of the vehicle while it inches forward.

Sometimes it is a solo act; sometimes a half-dozen or more passengers get out and dance, too. The stunt is usually performed late at night, on a deserted road or in a parking lot.
But also exceedingly dangerous:
"It did not take Einstein to look at this thing and say this was a recipe for disaster," said Pete Smith, a police spokesman in Stockton. "We could see the potential for great injury or death."

Earlier this month, Davender Gulley, a ghost-riding 18-year-old, died after his head slammed into a parked car while he was hanging out the window of an SUV in Stockton, police said. In October, a 36-year-old man dancing on top of a moving car fell off, hit his head and died in what authorities said was Canada's first ghost riding fatality.
People have been doing similar things for years. I remember being in the parking lot at Santa Fe High School, NM, in 1971, when a car rolled by with two teenage girls on the hood. The car slowly turned left and the right-hand girl slowly rolled off and bounced on the pavement. It's horrifying to watch all that flesh shake like jelly upon meeting an immovable object (like the slow-mo cameras capture so well at professional football games).
Surveillance Cameras

Help solve serial murders in Philadelphia.
Remembering Names

So, I guess I'm not the only one who has trouble:
Cate Blanchett on Faye Dunaway mistaking her for Kate Winslet: "Faye came up to me at a screening and wanted me to do this project. I said it sounded fantastic. So she turned to her friend and said, 'Debbie, this is Kate Winslet.' I had to ask -- 'So, do you want me to do it or do you want Kate to do it?'"

Monday, January 01, 2007

"Mame" Opens The New Year At DMTC

The last week has been as intense and chaotic as I can recall since - since the last time I did a musical! No, really, since at least "Victor/Victoria" at RSP, in 2005. The difficulty was I joined the cast late (on account of the Australian trip) and missed a few critical musical rehearsals, so it's been catch-up ever since. Plus, it was difficult for everyone to juggle the holidays with rehearsals, and it just seemed that adequate time just wasn't available.

On the other hand, most of the cast were quite experienced, and Ron Cisneros was succinct and efficient as director, knowing exactly what he could reasonably ask for in a hurry. So, we got the show airborne in time for the preview, and after some fine-tuning rehearsals this week, we'll be in good shape for a successful January run.

From my skewed viewpoint, the biggest problems opening night seemed to be technical: lights, cues, etc. Apparently, at one point, there was an open mike in the dressing room and the audience heard a few off-color backstage comments. The cast was running on adrenaline, and so there were fewer mistakes than I expected - the main players largely-remembered the dialogue! - but still, there were a couple of missed or delayed entrances.

Dancewise, some folks were a little out-of-position in the big dance numbers. Dancing can become bowling with people under those circumstances, but we adjusted and kept the bowling soft and easy, in order to avoid unduly alarming the audience.

I'm having some kind of an identity crisis with the Act II dance number 'That's How Young I Feel.' I'm 50 years old, but from the script, it's clear I'm supposed to be some kind of bobby-soxer - aged 17 at most. But since the time frame is roughly 1940, then I should be my mom's age. Should I be Deanna Durbin's date, or, God forbid, my mom's date? And why should I sing "I'm gonna ask my mom, can I go to the junior prom"? Who made her the boss? Am I not an adult? And who am I, exactly? How did I get here? Where am I? Who knew the Oedipal tensions of this carefree number?

I'm so tired - it'll be a long week, even without the psychoanalysis....