Lancelot Links postsTuesday June 14, 2016
Lancelot Links Goes to the 2016 Tonys
“Immigrants: We get the job done.”
- Lin-Manuel Miranda's first acceptance speech (for best score) was the highlight of the 70th Tony Awards for me.
- Here's that opening “Hamilton” parody for James Corden. Anthony Ramos killed it, but then he had the best line. Also like Corden's “No! Just you wait...” to the cast, RE: the Tonys.
- The ratings were up 35% from last year and posted the best overall numbers for the Tonys since 2001. What happened in 2001? “The Producers.” But back then, remember, YouTube hadn't been invented yet. So if you wanted to watch the Tonys you had to sit and watch the Tonys. You couldn't wait for it (wait for it).
- James Surowiecki on how scalpers set a true market value for “Hamilton,” allowing producers to double the most expensive seats; also a GOP Texas congressman attempts to undo Dodd-Frank. Of course.
- Adam Gopnik on what Hamilton and Burr checked out of the New York Society Library. “Slipping back out onto the noise of East Seventy-ninth Street, three tentative conclusions suggest themselves: art alone makes old things new; the more you read, the less you know for certain; and self-government, of every kind, is hard.”
- Gopnik also wrote about “Hamilton” back in February: “'Hamilton' is the Obama-era musical. At the simplest presentational level, it shows previously marginalized people taking on the responsibility and burden of American history.”
- Oh, and that opening number to the Tonys I love so much that Neil Patrick Harris did a few years back? The “Now we're bigger” thing? Apparently Lin-Manuel Miranda helped write it.
- John Oliver on the Orlando shooting: “That terrorist dipshit is vastly outnumbered.”
- Jiayang Fan's New Yorker piece on Chinese racism and that racist Qiaobi detergent ad begins well (great opening graf) but gets bogged down in handwringing and vague finger-pointing. The last graf begins, “Learning to live in a pluralistic world requires...” Too bad.
- The whole Qiaobi controversy reminded me of “Darkie” toothpaste from Taiwan, whose named changed to “Dakkie” when I lived there in the late 1980s/early 1990s, and then, apparently, “Darlie.” Researching, I came across George McKibbons' article on the history on “Darkie.” More than I ever knew.
- How do the movies differ from other art forms? Nora Desmond had the answer, and Vimeo has the video: “Every Face Tells a Story.” But I like dialogue, too.
- Slow Jamming the News with Pres. Obama. There will never be a cooler leader of the free world. I like the band cracking up behind him on “You know me.”
- Billy Crystal's eulogy at Muhammad Ali's funeral was as pretty as Ali was. Particularly love the anecdote about Cossell's funeral.
- Silent film trope: A history of women being tied to RR tracks. Except: 1) it rarely happened, and 2) when it did, it wasn't women.
- A Vulture Q&A with Louis C.K., who gets better with age.
- David Remnick lets loose on Donald Trump. Gloves are coming off all over the place.
- Speaking of: If this helps Liev Schreiber reprise his role as Marty Baron, I'm all for it.
- What's the matter with Twitter, part I, via The New York Times (it's the virulent racists).
- What's the matter with Twitter, part II, via Vanity Fair (it's the left-wing outrage machine).
- Who's on the cover of the Rolling Stone? My man Lin-Manuel Miranda. Good article, too.
- The Q&A is even better. Quote about Trump's wall that bears repeating: “It's such a malignant form of a very common American electoral disease, which is, 'Point at the newest people here and say they're the reason you're broke.' That's as old as time itself. That's 'Irish Need Not Apply.'”
- Oh yeah. Looks like Lin will also be in the Mary Poppins sequel. Feed the birds, bro.
- And talk about worlds colliding: One of my favorite writers on my favorite musical.
- Ken Griffey Jr. talks about the best play he ever made. I remember this one; I saw it on TV.
- Speaking of: June 2 is a big day for the Mariners: 1) day we signed Junior in '87; 2) day he retired in 2010; 3) Randy's no-no in '90; and, this year, the biggest comeback in M's history.
- Documentarian Robert B. Weide responds to Ronan Farrow's demand for journalistic accountability w/Woody Allen by asking some pretty tough, straightforward questions of Ronan Farrow.
- Can't believe this story isn't bigger: At Trump University, sales people were encouraged to separate people from their money. Think of it as academic subprime mortgage loans. One confidential instruction read, “Let them know you've found an answer to their problems.” *Cough*
- At least John Oliver is on it.
- Must read of the week: Frank Rich on the parallels between Trump now and Reagan in the spring of 1980. Before everything went to hell.
Lancelot Links Gets Bun Cha in Hanoi
- My president. Obama wins hearts and minds in Hanoi with bun cha—at a restaurant we maybe visited, or certainly passed by, during our visit in 2010. Next up? Cha ca la vong. Or human rights.
- Is the mainstream media helping Donald Trump? Feeding him questions that lead toward more reasonable ground? The Washington Post ponders this. The Scarborough example is particularly damning.
- Related: George Packer's “Talk of the Town” piece is the best thing I've read on the Trump nomination.
- Related: Adam Gopnik lets loose with a terse, angry piece: The Dangerous Acceptance of Donald Trump. “One by one, people who had not merely resisted him before but called him by his proper name—who, until a month ago, were determined to oppose a man they rightly described as a con artist and a pathological liar—are suddenly getting on board.”
- Related: Stephen Colbert on the 2000 dangers of Ralph Nader.
- Related: John Oliver takes down the various idiocies of our primary process. Washington, my state, doesn't come off well. I wondered why I filled out that ballot two months after the caucus.
- Related: The Daily Kos on the 11 reasons Bernie lost fair and square. It's 11 reasons his supporters will howl to the heavens about. Often with CAPS.
- Missed this the first time around: Samantha Bee on the five Seattle City Councilwoman who voted against another publicly funded stadium in downtown Seattle (for a basketball team this time), and who had the usual online misogynistic abuse heaped upon them as a result. Bee makes comedy (edged with anger) out of it. The intros/nicknames are my favorite.
- Why were the Astros called “Houston” on so many 1960s-era baseball cards? Why did the '68 and '69 cards often use the same photo? What does any of this have to do with the hiring of Marvin Miller to head up the then-toothless Major League Baseball Players Association? It's all right here.
- Team #GiveElsaAGirlfriend or Team #CharmingPrinceForElsa? I think the latter's been done before.
- David Schoenfield's “Five things we learned Sunday” about MLB. Loved #4. Could do without #1.
- ESPN's 30-for-30, a great source of sports documentaries, takes on the hapless Cleveland team—er, teams. No championships there in any major sport since '64. Joe Posnanski, himself from Cleveland, laments.
- Someone took Bartolo Colon's homerun, the first and only in the 20-year career by the suddenly beloved, rotund pitcher, and turned it into the final homerun in “The Natural.” Something about his homerun trot, in slow-mo, reminds me of that old Steven Wright joke: “Put some Minute Rice in the microwave; went back in time.”
- James O'Keefe stings himself, via Jane Mayer. Couldn't happen to a nastier guy.
- I always loved Morley Safer, an even-tempered true journalist with a twinkle in his eye. Rest in peace.
Lancelot Links Looks for the Ladder
I had the vertical version of this poster on my wall for about a year in the mid-1980s.
I was on vacation last Thursday when my fellow Minneapolitan, and fellow graduate of Bryant Junior High School, Prince Rogers Nelson, died at the age of 57. Here are a few articles worth checking out. I'll keep adding to them as I come across them.
- Via Romenesko, the headlines from around the world.
- The New York Times' obit by Jon Parales.
- “He was ours”: My friend Jim Walsh was with Prince 12 weeks before his death.
- This one really hit home for me: Steve Fennessy in Atlanta Magazine on “Prince and My Evolution,” about middle class white kids confronting all the contradictions of his Purple Badness in 1984.
- A must-read: a great oral history of Prince via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
- Even the sportswriters had to say something. Joe Posnanski on why Prince's was the only Super Bowl halftime show that mattered.
- But mostly we've been hearing from the musicians: Members of Pearl Jam said Prince was the greatest guitarist they'd ever seen.
- Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top spent two hours talking guitar-playing with Prince and walked away mesmerized.
- Paul Westerberg has some of my favorite quotes. Among them: “He may have been a little more normal than he would've liked people to know. That's the treasure that we got, to be able to sit in the big atrium where you're taking a break and Prince shuffles by in his slippers and makes some popcorn in the microwave.”
- City Pages posted one of the last photos of Prince: biking to work at Paisley Park.
- And all the world turned purple.
- And sang.
- And sang.
- Jim Walsh finds a long-lost note from Prince in his basement.
- The Minnesota Daily finds its long-lost article about Prince from 1978.
- Suzanne Vega finds the letter Prince wrote her after the release of “Luka.”
- YouTube: Questlove sets up a ping-pong match between Jimmy Fallon and his Purple Badness.
- An insane Prince discography: chronologically.
Lancelot Links with a Walkoff Win
- Who knew “Mark Trail” was still a thing? Who knew anyone liked it? Who knew Jeff Moravec and Kevin Cannon could create such a lovely, straightforward tribute?
- Can we believe in the Mariners again? by Art Thiel. Great title, great story, great writer. My answer? Talk to me in July.
- Related: Geof Baker of The Seattle Times with a piece on a NY company that measures fan loyalty. In last place for MLB this year? You got it. The Times headline needs work: “When it comes to loyalty, Mariners fans sorely lacking.” How about: “After 15 years of futility, M's fans last place in loyalty.”
- Even more related: David Schoenfield shows statistically that Felix Hernandez is the unluckiest pitcher alive. I.e., in his career he's had 45 starts where he gave up zero or 1 run and didn't get a win out of it.
- *I* got lucky, though: My first game of the season was a 4-2 walkoff win over Texas in 10: Touch 'em all, Dae-Ho Lee.
- It's even better in Korean.
- This is from last fall but I just saw it and fell in love: Hamilton's Angelica, Renée Elise Goldsberry, lip-syncing the Schuyler Sisters rap with, as the Schuyler sisters, the three King George IIIs: Bryan d'Arcy James (Eliza), Jonathan Groff (Angelica) and Andrew Rannels (“and Peggy”). Fun! This is how you lip-sync, Hollywood.
- These come and go quickly from YouTube, but some nice half or quarter scenes from “Hamilton” here.
- Sigh. Someone had to do it eventually and the winner is the New York Times: Just how accurate is 'Hamilton'? You can start with none of the founding fathers being black. But overall, the argument sounds like any argument in any history dept.
- The trailer is out for “David Brent: Life on the Road.” So perfectly painful.
- How cool is Ant Man's reaction to Captain America? Psst, DC: This is how you do it.
- Sarah Larson of The New Yorker follows around Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy as the two former SCTV stars promote their award-winning Canadian TV series “Schitt's Creek.” BTW: “Schitt's” is on Amazon Prime. P and I have watched the first three episodes. Much recommended.
- My friend Motoko Rich has a piece in The New York Times on how Hollywood portrays teachers. Basically it's two extremes: buffoons (for upper-middle-class white kids) or saviors (for poverty-stricken minority kids). The latter is how we want teachers to be, the former how we remember it or experience it.
- Vox uses metacritic to attempt to quantify good and bad acting. A fun exercise if not exactly shocking. Daniel Day-Lewis and Michael Fassbender are good, Adam Sandler and Ashton Kutcher are not. But there are a few surprises: John C. Reilly, for example. It's also less “bad acting” than “actors in bad movies.”
- Ross Barkan, political reporter for the New York Observer, has quit his job over his paper's cozy relationship with Donald Trump. Meaning: 1) the paper is one of two to actually endorse Trump, and that's chiefly because, 2) the owner is Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Yay for democracy.
- Meanwhile, most Republicans are distancing themselves from Trump as if he's an aberration. Not so fast, says Jonathan Chait.