Wednesday, September 27, 2006

it ain't in my plan to make moves without the fam

Here's a few links to friends and family who make music. It's all good or I wouldn't recommend it.

Tom Frampton -- You can find music from my Yale classmate (and current UNITE HERE organizer) Tom Frampton on his Riotfolk page. More old songs on the old Riotfolk page.

Steve Espinola -- My cousin Steve is a completely unique songwriter. I'm going to say this later about Jeff Louie too, but if there were any justice in the world, Steve would be on everyone's iPod, and known all over instead of just among his Antifolk fanbase and the people for whom I've made mixtapes. (If you've got the Moldy Peaches album, he plays on "Jorge Regula" and might be on your iPod already).

Jesse Kriss -- This guy has the distinction of dating Camille before me, about a hundred thousand years ago. Also a friend of ours from middle and high school. I don't know whether you can still find mp3s of his composition on the site, but the multimedia projects are terrific.

Matt Fitzgerald (aka Fitzgeezus) -- A Yalie, and veteran of the residential college hiphop beef wars. You'll have to take my word that it was a lot less ridiculous than it sounds...though still funny. He's part of the Sky Beneath crew. You can find their stuff on iTunes, and check out the killer soccer tribute video.

Jeff Louie -- One of my Greenwood camp counselors. Like I said, if there was any justice, Jeff's songs would be right next to Steve's on your iPod. If you like Stevie Wonder's harmony, or you like mid-period Beatles, or you wish Elliott Smith wasn't so depressing, buy Jeff's albums and check out the acoustic demo downloads.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Studio Sportsnight on the West Wing of the Sunset Strip with Tommy Schlamme

Why was the Studio 60 pilot vaguely boring to most Sorkin fans?

The short answer is, we've seen almost everything in it before, written by the same guy. Still effective, just recycled. I didn't mind at all, since it was good and it'll certainly get better. But for the record, here's a fairly comprehensive list of things that should ring a bell.

Meta stuff (poorly disguised references to the real-life writer/director team of Sorkin & Schlamme)

Writer-director team return to save failing network 4 years after being "shown the door."

Harriet Hayes=Kristin Chenoweth, the multi-talented blond entertainer dating the writer of the show, who makes an album of spiritual music and goes on The 700 Club, leading (maybe) to the breakup

Sorkin/"Tripp" drug problems & getting bonded to work in Hollywood

Matthew Perry/"Matt Albie" on Vicodin (kind of below the belt, right?)

"Tripp"/Sorkin dating a Maureen Dowd-type reporter

Jordan McDeere=Jamie Tarses (formerly McDermott), past NBC president

Censorship/network vs. talent meta-discussions -- Sorkin uses characters to complain about the network trying to dumb him down

"Tripp" in rehab 11 years ago – Sorkin addicted to crack in 1995 (11 years ago) till he went to rehab.

"Ricky & Ron" = John Wells, the hack they brought in after the real talent left

Situations (same old dramatic devices)

Offending Christians (see Sportsnight w/Jerry Falwell, WW pilot w/Mary Marsh)

Offending Christians with an unscripted outburst on live TV (see, again, the WW pilot)

Offending Christians with an unscripted outburst on live TV and being in danger of losing your job (see, again, the WW pilot, as well as the Sportsnight pilot for someone about to lose their job over problems with the network)

Network guy argues with producer over who's in charge of what aspects of the show

Back medicine making someone totally high and incoherent

Main character suddenly thrown back together with ex-girlfriend

Recycled dialogue (definitely heard this before)

"Playing with pain" (SN)

"Eat em up"/"Good show" (SN)

"Anything you can say to make me feel better about..." (SN)

"Breathing guts" (SN/WW)

"We’re blowing off _____" and everyone in the control room's disappointed (SN)

"One of us is gonna screw up/be angry at a time, it's gonna be me" (SN/WW)

"We don’t have that kind of time" (SN, maybe WW)

The falling out of a chair gag (SN pilot and WW)

“Our boy” (SN/WW/probably everything else he's done)

High as a paper kite (SN)

Going to hell in a handcart/speedboat/hula hoop (SN/WW)

You’re up on router #, have a good show. (SN)

Who am I offending? (SN/WW)

So, what's missing? We need a character whose parents split up after a long time, preferably because the father had a prolonged secret affair. We need something to be, sarcastically, a "barn burner," and we need someone to ask if you've fallen on your head. We need a season one finale that will actually answer the question "What Kind of Day Has it Been?" We need a character whose younger sibling died, and who blames him/herself for it in a repressed way. We need legs that go all the way to the floor, and Shakespeare the way it was meant to be played. We need to make someone happy by coming home at the end of the day. We need someone writing a letter because something that was supposed to have ended (tennis match, filibuster), is going on way too long. We need someone "raising the level of debate." We need smart people who disagree with you. We need a fight over the supposed significance of an anniversary. We need, when the fall is all that's left, for it to matter a great deal, and we need to know that the fact that we want to please you, pleases you. We need underwear in an inappropriate place. We need you not to talk to us like we're "other people." We need someone complaining about the lack of admonishment from the clergy over religious violence. We need people accidentally saying the wrong word to someone important, then obsessing over it.

We need Josh Malina.

Monday, September 18, 2006

in 25 words or less...

So, San Francisco MUNI has been advertising its new after-hours schedule, with the tagline:

"Get around after midnight."

They had one with a close-up of Cinderella's slipper getting onto the bus, and one with Frankenstein.

At the 16th & Mission stop for the 49 Mission-Van Ness, there's one with a picture of dracula.

It looks more or less like this, except it's in color, he's holding on to the bus handrails, and there's an ad for City College visible above his head.

Someone scribbled the following onto the poster in magic marker:

I drink blood
I get women
I smoke weed

Friday, September 15, 2006

what kind of power?

After two years, a strike, a lockout, $100 million lost due to the boycott (ahem), lobby takeovers, sit-ins, rallies, VERY early wake-up calls which I won't miss at all, and about a hundred bargaining sessions...

...San Francisco hotel workers have a contract.

It's a great contract.

No, really, you would not believe how good this contract is.

There are literally no takeaways, which is worth repeating. No healthcare cuts, copay increases, elegibility restrictions, or two-tier systems. No subcontracting, no outsourcing. No increased split shifts, no mandatory overtime, no vacation/sick pay restriction schemes. No takeaways. People should understand how rare that is for labor unions right now, especially in the private sector, especially in a volatile industry.

But it's better than that. We also won a higher cap for prescription drugs, and vision care for dependents (now Camille can get glasses for $10).

Pension guarantees ($30/yr service/month) and a window benefit ($35) for folks retiring during the contract term.

$3/hr increase non-tipped, $1.50 tipped over the next three years, plus ~$1/hrs worked since 2004 retro.

Workload reductions for room cleaners and ergonomic improvements for cooks

Ironclad (or as good as it can be) successorship and subcontracting protections

Plus more union leave time, solidarity language for the building trades, and a contract term that expires with Chicago in 2009. So we're already lining up for the next coordinated national fight.

And the most important thing we won, the best contribution we made to the future of hotel workers: Card check neutrality with Hyatt, Hilton, Starwood, Intercontinental, Omni, and Four Seasons on new and acquired properties for all of San Francisco and San Mateo county.

So 4,000 workers fought it out and reminded the rest of the labor movement (and the San Francisco progressive community) that when you're disciplined, aggressive, and you never give up, you can actually win.

But there's still 5,000 others without a contract, so I have to go back to work.

More frequent blogging to come, I hope.

(also, folks who don't know the response to the question posed in the title need to spend more time on a picket line)