Hey, folks. We spend a lot of time here on News and Notes talking about things that are anger-inducing. You know, all the stuff that happens in the entertainment world that is just awful, that is just terrible, every once in a while punctuated other stuff that is possibly well-intentioned, but thoughtlessly carried out and problematic. I understand that these days "thoughtless", "awful", "terrible" and "problematic" are constant states of being for the modern internet-reading citizen on the go (for some strange reason"), but even I get tired of it.
That's why I'm glad the day I am writing this article is National Absurdity Day. So, in celebration, let me be the first to say, "Yellow hatrack! Copenhagen is slippery in the moonlight, but cabbage is joyful! Please enjoy the crab salad of your choice where you work or play."
So it's probably a good thing that next week I will be taking a break from News and Notes next week to make room for local Minnesota performer Gregory Parks, whose Twitter description reads "Clown, actor, often uppity, sometimes pedantic, mostly goofy, too often pensive, harshest self-critic, emotional, loyal, and verbose. Makes sounds and faces." This sounds like a step in the right direction.
In the meantime, I am back with my family in Illinois—where we only occasionally get drunk and blow stuff up—to attempt this whole "Giving of Thanks" thing (I think that's what it's called). This still involves getting drunk, but the Miller family tradition also calls for cooking up massive amounts of the Mexican recipes my grandmother used to make. (For those of you playing along at home, fideo is amazing, and when you are done fiddling around with boring old pasta, you need to get down on this!)
To that end, I am going to be loaded down with beans and spices for the next week or so, which means I can't really exert all the effort it takes to stay so mad. Most of my time and concentration is be directed toward digesting homemade tortillas. You're lucky my aunt didn't make her tamales this year, or we probably wouldn't be talking at all right now.
So, in the spirit of things, let me run down some news really quickly, in the form of giving thanks: Thanks to everyone who is taking steps to cast actors in their shows who represent the broad range of human experience. Besides being the right thing to do, it is the thing that will open up the doors and get more people inside our tents.
Thanks to all those theater companies that are experimenting with new ways to sell your tickets and trying to figure out how to both be financially accessible and financially responsible.
Thanks to all those theater companies that continue to give young folks super-cheap tickets. Thanks to all of you playwrights out there for continuing to write plays and find new ways to take them out into the world. It's a big world, and I'm glad you're not all scrambling to get caught in the New York bubble.
Thanks to those playwrights for not only writing good plays, but for also making television good, too. I know that you have to go where the money is, but you're not "selling out." (Besides, I know you'll be back.)
Thanks to the theaters and organizations that are taking the sexual harassment problem seriously. Some of you are coming in seriously late to the party, but you're getting there, and that's the important thing right now.
Thanks to all the victims who are finding the strength to come forward and set the record straight. You didn't deserve this, and we all owe it to you to be better.
Thanks to the growing number of people who are listening to them.
Thanks to our community theater brethren for asking thoughtful questions about the social and political moment that we are all caught up in now.
Thanks to all you artists who continue to believe that you can be part of the change you want to see in the world.
Most of all, thanks to all of you in the Minnesota theater scene. I'm in Illinois right now, so I know I'm missing many of your shows. You're a big collection of brilliant weirdos, and even though I can't be there right now to see your brilliant weirdness, it's enough to know that it is still happening. Keep it up.
So, anyway, thanks everyone! Now I have to go, because fideo is even more amazing when it's warmed up the next day, and I have never been more thankful for anything else in my entire life.