August 16, 2004

Airports and Animals

First The Corporation, then Fahrenheit 9/11, now The Hunting of the President. This is truly the year of excellent political documentaries...if you happen to be a left-wing activist like myself anyway. Thursday evening Aimee and I saw The Hunting of the President, a concise history of the Clinton impeachment and its major players. When Clinton first ran for President I was a teenager in Orange County much more concerned with scraping together the money for my first pair of Docs than I was with national politics, but this time I paid attention and learned what Whitewater was really about—a right-wing conspiracy to bring down Clinton, of course. Susan McDougal emerges as the unexpected hero of the film, with her refusal to lie just to keep herself out of jail. Personally I don't agree with many of the things Clinton did while in office, like signing the Defense of Marriage Act, but what a waste of money and media bandwidth Starr's entire investigation was.

In recompense for the three double shifts in a row I worked earlier in the week I was able to take Friday off, and one way I chose to amuse myself was by watching Company Man on DVD in the middle of the day. Writer/director Douglas McGrath plays a high school teacher in the '60s who accidentally finds himself trying to overthrow Castro in Cuba. Despite an impressive cast (Sigourney Weaver, Denis Leary, Alan Cumming, Anthony LaPaglia, John Turturro, Woody Allen) and a clever script the movie never really hits its stride as a comedy, though the outtakes in the credits are laugh-out-loud funny.

Saturday was one of those days in the Bay Area where the fog hits the ground and just stays there, but that did not prevent meriko and I from heartily enjoying a performance of Shakespeare's As You Like It by Woman's Will in Dolores Park that afternoon. Fortified by a gorgeous picnic lunch packed by meriko herself, we clutched our warm layers close and giggled at what fools mortals be when they are in love. Every role was played by a woman, and the complexities this creates in the performance was not lost on director Leslie McCauley: "Elizabethan audiences would have delighted to see a boy play Rosalind who disguises herself as a boy to play at being a woman. This irony is taken further in our all-female production. Here we have a girl playing a boy who is pretending to love a girl who he believes to be a boy, but who is actually a girl. Did you follow that?"

On my way back to the East Bay after the play I stopped off at Punch Gallery to check out their photography show It's Like That: 20 Years of Run-DMC-JMJ, 50 pictures of those very cool dudes by 20 different photographers. It was impossible not to be a little sad about Jay's untimely demise, but the exhibition really captures the energy and spirit of the group, not to mention the fashion. I was delighted to discover that at their first performance in Queens Run-D.M.C. sported plaid blazers and major 'fros. One would assume the gold chains and trainers appeared fairly soon thereafter.


The Hunting of the President
Company Man
As You Like It
Punch Gallery

Posted by nightfall at August 16, 2004 09:28 PM