Saturday, November 30, 2013

A New Debate Format

The following is an amazing idea for a presidential debate. In fact, it's an amazing idea worth trying out for debates for any elective office:

"I'd stage a series of three debates, so that if somebody screws up, there's  a chance to fix it next time. I'd hold the debates in an empty studio, nobody there but the two candidates sitting face-to-face and five cameras. No audience. No questioners. No moderator. I wouldn't even tell them who goes first, just turn on the lights and let them talk to each other. That's the debate that I'd like to see."--Roger Ailes, founder and CEO, Fox News Channel, from Roger Ailes, Off Camera by Zev Chafets (Sentinel/Penguin Group, 2013).

The only problem with Ailes's idea is that few, if any, candidates for political office would agree to participate in such an unstructured, risky debate format.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On Bisexuals

"In those days [the 1960s] we always assumed that a bisexual (especially, for some reason, a bisexual man) was really a homosexual in the closet. ....But as I learned a decade later in Paris, the world is full of genuine bisexuals, though most of them keep a low profile, not because they're ashamed but because everyone distrusts and fear them."--Edmund White, from City Boy: My Life in New York During the 1960s and '70s (Bloomsbury, 2009).

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bring Back The Western

Syndicated liberal radio talk show host Ed Schultz recently discussed the spate of cop shows on television and lamented the absence of  westerns like Bonanza. Like Schultz, I watch and like some crime dramas, but I too miss westerns, one of my favorite genres. (The closest thing to the genre was Deadwood, set in 19th-century South Dakota, which I watched on DVD and thoroughly enjoyed.)

According to novelist/screenwriter Larry McMurtry (author of Lonesome Dove and other western novels), in his slim book, Hollywood: A Third Memoir (Simon & Schuster, 2010), "The expense of using livestock, horses mostly, has risen so disastrously in the last twenty years as to have--for a while--virtually killed off a once popular and very profitable genre: the Western."

Let's hope that the film and TV industries will find a way or ways to resume making westerns, a genre whose stories are inextricably linked to the western expansion of the United States.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Note To Hollywood

If there was ever a book that deserved to be turned into a documentary, it is Christopher Bram's unputdownable Eminent Outlaws, a nonfiction book profiling such gay literary luminaries as Christopher Isherwood, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, James Baldwin, and Gore Vidal. Such a film would be a perfect companion to another documentary, The Celluloid Closet, which was based on film scholar Vito Russo's classic (and equally unputdownable) gay film history book of the same name. Many of the writers discussed in Eminent Outlaws had a connection to Tinseltown (either as screenwriters or because a book or play of theirs was made into a movie). So Hollywood, please take note.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

All Comedy, All The Time

There are radio stations that are all talk, all news, all religion, and all sports. But in these times of economic crisis, when laughter is the best medicine, there are no all comedy radio stations, at least not in the New York metropolitan area. Not even a program devoted to comedy.

When I was growing up in the Los Angeles area in the 1960s, KNX, the CBS affiliate, on the weekends, had a show that broadcast comedy albums by Bob Newhart, Steve Allen, Bill Cosby, Mike Nichols & Elaine May, Stan Freberg, et al.

Every week, Time Out New York magazine has a section specifically devoted to comedy clubs around the city. You would think that some smart program director would get the hint that there is a market for all comedy radio.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A 50-Year-Old Television Discussion On Homosexuality

I have a TV Guide for the week of  January 25-31, 1964 (New York Metropolitan Edition). On Friday of that week (January 31), talk show host Les Crane was listed as the moderator of a live show on
 which "[t]he subject of homosexuality is discussed." The guests on that show included "a psychologist, a writer on homosexuality and a member of the Mattachine Society, a homosexual organization."

 I would love to see a video of that nearly 50-year-old program if only to compare and contrast the attitudes expressed on the air at that time with those of today. There's no doubt that we've progressed on the subject considerably. If I looked hard enough, I might find the show archived on YouTube.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bill De Blasio, New York's Next Mayor

Hooray! Bill de Blasio will be New York City's next mayor. Hopefully he will be able to make this city a little more affordable, especially concerning housing. Good luck to the new mayor! I'm glad my vote helped to get him in.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Election Day Reminder

Today is election day in New York City. Don't forget to vote.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Typewriters For Rent

In the 1970s, people were still using typewriters, manual and electric. My manual typewriter no longer functioned so I went to a storefront business near the Garment District in Manhattan that rented typewriters for use on the premises. (I don't remember how much they charged per hour).

I always brought my own supplies,including a dictionary, therefore making it unnecessary for me to purchase typing paper, carbon paper, correction fluid, ballpoint pens, etc. from the typewriter rental store.

That place was a forerunner to today's copy stores that rent time on computers.