Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Well, today was a shocker! Quite simply: the news of Heath Ledger's death is overwhelming.

Of course, the reports (NY Times online; AP online) are sketchy, but it's still a shock. Ledger wasn't known as someone who was having trouble with drugs or alcohol; he was one of the people cited as part of making Brooklyn chic, when he and Michelle Williams moved to Boerum Hill. Of course, over the summer, when he and Williams separated, and he moved to Manhattan, i remember a picture (one of those photoshop jobs) where he was shown walking across the Brooklyn Bridge in the direction of Manhattan.

This sort of supercedes the announcement of the Academy Award nominations. Well, Julian Schnabel can breathe a sigh of relief: his film was not the French submission for Best Foreign Film (the French selection was "Persepolis", which didn't make it to a nomination as Best Foreign Film, but did make it as Best Animated Film), but it wound up with nominations for Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay (Ronald Harwood).

Saw Andre Techine's "The Witnesses"; loved it, but thought it was amusing to see the tropes of the AIDS drama done yet again. The reason it's amusing to me is that, unless Theatre Communications Group is incorrect, i was the very first person to have ever written an AIDS drama (in 1982; i should add that it was produced and Larry and i directed it in November of 1982 at Theater for the New City), and the tropes (such as having one of the characters be a doctor, and then, either at the end of the second act or the beginning of the third act, having the doctor explain to another character the symptoms, the (at that time) possible causes, and the available treatments) are so familiar. TCG published by play in 1983, but when they did an anthology of AIDS works in 1989, i was informed that TCG would NOT mention my play, not because it wasn't the first (as far as they knew, it was) but because i could NOT get credit for everything i've done, i would have to get credit for what THEY decided i would get credit for, and they had categorized me as an Asian-American and NOT as a gay playwright (as if these were mutually exclusive designations). But can you beat that: TCG would tell me how i must view myself!

And people wonder why i gave up theater....


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