Welcome One and All

Welcome new vistors and thank you for returning dedicated fans. For more information about me please dig into my "About me section" or look at my G+. This was my first blog. I have rebuilt and specialized since this blog's inception. It now serves as a "hub" for the three blogs I write. Below this banner is "Welcome to the Club" which is my comics blog, "The Silver Screen" which is my Cinema blog, and "All the World's a Stage" which is my theatre blog. Read at your leisure!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 19: Frankenstein and May 1st

The Frankenstein experiment

So tonight I got to go see the second creative collaboration this semester. For those who don't know what a creative collaboration is at the U of M theater department I will explain the process briefly. A professor picks a theme or topic that they are interested in exploring and then they audition and cast actors to explore that theme with them. The cast then meets with that instructor (or instructors) and they create a new work pulling form any sources they want. 

They meet, write and create for approximately 5 weeks (my collab. Club Valhalla met for more like 7 weeks and I believe Frankenstein met for only 4 weeks). At the end of this process they present whatever they have got. It is not meant to be considered a finalized work. More like: "This is what we were interested in and this is what we have got." performances are free and generally on Monday and Tuesday evening. 

With U of M jargon out of the way let's jump into Frankenstein. This project really excited me when I heard about it. Frankenstein has always been a fascinating story to me and the monster has been so misrepresented  by Hollywood. With several personal friends in this piece, it was hard not to hear about the project and where it was going. 

So what was it? Well it was an audience interactive piece. Pretty much right away the audience got the opportunity to get right up on stage and explore. There wasn't what appeared to be an overarching plot or narrative. More a study of several different creatures and employees that we got to view and interact with. 

I witnessed several different moments that were absolutely horrifying. I saw a guard rape and beat a test subject to death. I saw I surgeon pulling teeth one by one out of a subjects mouth. At one point in the performance a creature walked up behind me and grabbed my hand pulling me into a corner (which was absolutely terrifying). 

So what made this performance work?

  • This show had a tremendous sound design. Most horror fans know that things aren't really scary unless there is really disturbing music playing. On top of that there were screams, shouts, singing, and cast members frequently banging on various set piece and props. The effect was a constant feeling of misdirection. The moment you felt comfortable in the space a noise came from just outside of your sight line and terror returned. 
  • All the characters were very developed. With no real plot or narrative it takes a lot to maintain an audience's attention. All the characters, especially the creatures were fantastically thought out. They all seemed to have their own arcs, physical restrains, and desires. Together the cast built a true feeling of desperation with these characters. 
  • The costumes were great. I can't do justice to describe the costuming of the cast especially the creatures. They all seemed to be made of of bits of junk and found objects manipulated to make these creatures horrifying. Some of the costumes added to characterization. For example one creature had latex that covered his mouth. There was an air pump on the back of his head that pumped air to expand and contract the latex (maybe also give the actor an air supply?). This became a feature of his character.
  • Finally Carl Flink's choreography was incredible. I am secretly becoming his biggest fanboy.  

I don't think "what didn't work" is a good way to describe the criticism of this piece because it is not a finalized work. So I will phrase this as the "What will make this project better if it were to be pursued and pushed forward."
  • One of the major feelings needed to make effective horror is claustrophobia. You want to make your audience feel trapped like they cannot escape. Largely due to the space this show was performed in, but the rules established early on of "refrain from touching the actors" really gave most of the audience the excuse to avoid actors every time they approached them.
  •   I really wanted to see some of the human characters further developed. This show seemed very one-sided and the human just completely mistreating the monsters with no remorse. Now there could have been moments of redemption that I missed due to the format of the show, but these themes can definitely be expanded. 
  • I really wanted an ending. There was a very scripted beginning that brought the audience into what the performance was about. I wanted a closing vinette that the whole audience could experience together. It was interesting that everyone in the audience had a completely different experience, but it would be nice for the audience to had the same jumping off point and landing pad. 

I thoroughly enjoyed tonight's performance and I will definitely have nightmares tonight as the result of great work. Congrats. 

May 1st

So this will be very brief because most of the information will be coming from my post tomorrow or the next day ish... but...

Tomorrow is May 1st or better know globally as International Workers Day. The Occupy movement has called for a general strike. No Work. No school. No class.

Now it will be interesting to see how much turnout the various events get tomorrow. Occupy is at a turning point. The winter froze a lot of activists out and let the message we fought for slip under the radar of the corporate media. May first is being viewed by many as the relaunch of the occupations across the country. 

I am ready for this movement to come roaring back into the mainstream and grow bigger than before, because the issues we are fighting for are too critical to just let slip through our fingers. So dedicate some time tomorrow and go to an Occupy event to show your support for the 99%. You can find events happening in your area here

With that friends I bid you goodnight,


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Day18: Illiterate kittens and Fresh scenes

Illiterate Kittens

So this is a piece I wrote for my social justice theater class I took In April. I was experimenting with satire and I was supper proud how this piece turned out. I'm considering taking this as inspiration and expanding it to a full length piece. I would love feedback on this piece:

I am here today to talk about an issue that is being repressed by the liberal media machine. All over the Internet and the press you here about America’s failing education system. You here how far behind we are in math and science and even English with the rest of the developed world far ahead. You hear about the achievement gap among low-income families and minorities in the inner cities. 

All of this is a misleading liberal campaign to distract us from the real achievement gap and the sins of our education system. I am here today to talk about a minority that throughout history has been marginalized, overlooked, and repressed in our society. Yes you truly educated people might have realized what I am talking about: kittens.

100% of kittens cannot read. That is a startling and disturbing statistic. How can we move our society forward and build our economy for the future if an entire section of the population is illiterate. Because this group of individuals is so illiterate they don’t have to work. 

We have built an entire welfare state that encourages them to not work. Why learn or contribute to society when the government pays for your food, provides shelter, cleans your litter boxes, and gives full medical care. These kittens are degenerates and we can no longer tolerate them sponging off our society. They disgrace and discredit all honest working people who work hard for their living. 

It is time to force these illiterate kittens to read and to work. The days of free tuna without work are over. We are living in tough economic times my friends; it is time for everyone to buckle down and start contributing. Illiterate kittens are by far the most serious threat to America’s greatest. Thank you ladies and gentleman. God Bless you and God Bless America!

Fresh Scenes

So I had the privilege of attending the BFA class of 2015 spring show the other night. It  has been interesting observing the BFA's over the past year. We all live in Middlebrook and so I seen them in the dining hall. I have befriended some of them and hung out with a lot of them. I even got to create with them in a Saturday class we took together with February called New Voices. 

As much as I have encountered these wonderful people I have not seen them act. Being a BA theater major I have  been able to perform in two different shows this year. I have become a member of the community and gone to all of my peers show to support their work. Because of this I feel like I have a good handle on a lot of the BA acting styles, passions, and skill sets. I have also attended The Sophomore, Junior, and Senior class BFA classes performes. The missing link has been the BFA freshman. 

It was a joy watching this performance. I was floored by the level of talent, heart, and truth with this company. If I were to single out every moment this show blew me away this post would be a mile long. I am also afraid I will forget to mention someone so I will not even attempt it.

This performance consisted of scenes for various plays of well established playwrights, poetry written by the cast members, and interview projects they did with members of the community. There were so many funny moments, but they were sharply contrasted by very real drama, and very deep moments of truth. This is one of my favorite performances I have seen at the U this year and I can't wait to watch this cast grow and develop as artists and they go through their educational journey.

Bravo and I hope to have more opportunities to collaborate with all of you.

And with that I will go. I am going to the national day of action against the War on Women today and then there will be big things happening in Occupy Homes and May 1st this week. i hope I have enough time to report back on all my activist work.

Peace and Love,


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 17: Spring Awakening

Here is my review for the University of Minnesota and Theater Latté Da's Production of Spring Awakening. The review is very tech heaving, but that is because I wrote it for my Introduction to Stage Design and Technology class. Enjoy!

Spring Awakening

The University of Minnesota has never had a performance opportunity like this before. Not only has it been four years since the Theatre Department has put a musical on stage, never has there been a musical of this magnitude. For the first time in history the University has partnered with Theatre Latté Da for the regional premiere of the Broadway smash hit: Spring Awakening. In this review I will focus primarily on the design aspect of the show, since I am writing this primary for my stage tech. class and secondarily for my blog. So strap in and enjoy my critique of U of M and Theatre Latté Da’s regional premiere of: Spring Awakening.

Spring Awakening is based off a play written by Frank Wedekind of the same title. The show takes place at the turn of the century in Germany. The main focus of the play is teenage sexuality. The play shows how wary the German population is in  discussing sex with their children. This leads to an unwanted teenage pregnancy, a botch abortion death, and suicide. With this play taking place over a hundred years ago and in another country, it is startling how relevant the subject matter is today. Parents in America still don’t teach their children the best sexual practices. With television shows like 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom one starts to wonder why we are still holding onto are Puritan roots even as society has drastically changed. With the country focused on a contraceptive debate right now, as well as an argument of abstinence only versus full sexual education Spring Awakening is as relevant as ever. 

The design elements of this show truly come together to get across the blaringly obvious message that America needs to hear. In this review I will single out each design element specifically and talk about what worked and what did not. First, lets talk about the acting. The cast of this show is truly phenomenal. Since this is a join partnership between Theater Latté Da and the University there is a mixture of professional actors and students on stage. Not to slight the professionals, but rather commend the students, I could not tell the difference between the students and the professional. The cast had very demanding choreography and kept the high energy and intensity throughout the entire show.

The first design element I would like to focus on is costumes. Richard Hamson did a fantastic job with costumes. The plain and starchy uniforms that the students wore in this show totally added to the rigid and authoritarian feel of the school. Ilse’s costume truly separated her as a bohemian and an outsider to the rest of the town. The most powerful piece of costuming in this show though was the nightgown featured in the number “The Dark I know well.” In this song Martha sings about her father’s physical and sexual abuse. The inappropriateness of the nightgown for a father to give to his daughter makes the rape scenes she sings about just come to life. This song brought me to tears and I could not keep my eyes off the nightgown the entire time it was on stage.
The second Design element I would like to spotlight is lighting. Jonathan Offutt did an excellent job with lighting.  In my opinion the best lighting design is lighting that I do not notice. If a designer is doing his job then his work melts me into the world of the stage. For the most part I liked all his choices. The lights shifted really subtle to reflect the mood shifts from big rock numbers to more somber personal solos. That being said I do have two major grievances. First The Broadway-ey lights that were onstage in the backdrop really distracted me. They only came to life in big rock numbers such as “The Bitch of Living” but they really pulled me out of the show. Lastly and worst of all, I hated the choice to use spotlights in the solo numbers.  This is such a Broadway cliché. Overused and boring.

The next design element to put on a pedestal or the chopping block is scenic design. Jonathan Offutt’s design for the world of this stage was both perfect for a thrust space and radically different than the Broadway version I saw. I loved the choice to put the band above the action. They were on display to see them work if you wanted to, but they were also enough out the way to not distract you from the action on stage. I think the most ingenious feature this simple design was the platforms that extended off the thrust right into the audience.  This gave the cast plenty of room to express their angsty teenage voices. Bob Rosen talks about how the set design is very important for building a space for the actors to play. With ladders, platforms, and fireman’s poles the choreographer was granted a whole realm of possibilities. The set was probably my favorite design element of the show. The set also very much compliments the lighting which makes sense since Offutt designed both.

The final design element I would like to highlight is also in my opinion probably the strongest.  Tom Sandelands did an excellent job with the sound design. This is a hard show. You have about a dozen and a half live mics that have to withstand running, jumping, climbing, and falling. Not to mention you have to find balance between live string instruments such as cello between a pounding electric guitar, bass, and drum kit. All of this came together with beautiful balance.  The music at time had more beautiful mixing than the Broadway cast recording (which I listen to religiously). That being said there were a few times mics weren’t on when they were supposed to be on. The soundboard operation made the right choice in my mind in letting the singers finish acapella, instead of highlighting the error by bringing the actor in mid-song.

Since I saw the original Broadway production of this show it is really hard to not compare and contrast the productions. I was very grateful that this show was taken in enough of a different direction that as I was sitting in the audience I found myself comparing and contrast design, directorial, and acting choices. It is very disheartening to see the big Broadway tours that are just carbon copies of what was originally on stage in New York.  This show was really a mixed bag. I like some choices a lot better and I disliked other a lot. I am a reviewer who is very interested in stakes. If there aren’t stakes in art then there is not point to. So if I could only choose one production and the other was erased from the history of the universe I would say this show is the heavyweight champion. Congratulations on a powerful, moving, and thought provoking production.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 16: ALL the Theater

So I saw a bunch of theater this past weekend. I will report back and write some snippets about each. None of these are intended to be full fledged reviews. More just brief reflections on each show. For you non-theater readers I'm sorry this will be a boring post but not to fret there will be a long only politics post later this week.

Before I begin I will just say this once. The first three productions I will be semi-review are put on the by the University of Minnesota Guthrie Theatre Actor Training Program Class of 2013 (WHY IS THIS PROGRAM TITLE SO LONG!?!) If you are interested in learning more about their program specifically journey here.

Stags and Hens
by: Willy Russel.

So my Theater weekend started on Thursday last week where I wandered into the lovely world of 1970's Liverpool, England. The premise of the play follows a bachelor party (Stag party) and a bachelorette party (Hen party). Hijinks's ensue when both groups show up to the same night club!  Also of note the entire play takes place in the men's/ and women's restroom.

I will begin with things I liked about the play:

  • The accents were excellent (The actors did just get back from studying in London for a semester so I hope the accents were solid)
  • All of the characters felt like full fledged three dimensional characters. While all the characters were  heightened  for comedic purpose they still all felt like real people
  • I enjoyed how the main character of this play spent 100% play passed out on stage
  • The actor who played Eddy (the violent Best-Man) was fantastic. I related a lot to his character and couldn't help but see Hemingway's portrait of the perfect male. 
  • I loved music selection used in the show. It was fun and really set the atmosphere for the play.
Things I did not like about the play:

  • This script was very weird. Huge sections of this play seemed like it was intended to be taken and straight up farce. Then the play would randomly shift and have very dramatic turns. It was hard to tell if the play was supposed to be a straight farce or more of a tragicomedy. The it ends with everything being tied up in a nice little bow (like a traditional comedy).
  • Most of these characters were extremely unlikeable. They were ugly ugly people. This sometimes works like in Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but it didn't work for me in this show. Its hard to stay invested in a play when I do not like any of characters
  • The overall message and theme of the play was lost on me. It seemed to be going in the direction of "avoid social pressures, fuck getting married, do what you want to with your life."... but then it ended in the characters choosing to side with social pressures. I just feel like I spent this whole play waiting for it to "get there" with its message and then it ended.
  • Finally the play was way too long. Maybe it was pacing of the actors maybe it was the pacing of the writing but somewhere in between I checked my watch quite a bit.

by: John Godber and Jane Thornton

The best way I can describe this play is basically the movie Waiting with all females. I do feel like that analogy is selling it a little short because this play was a lot deeper than that kinda bad movie (which I adore). Basically it is an observational comedy where the waitresses get a chance to share their real thoughts on the customers they serve. 

Things I liked about the play:
  • As mentioned before accents were top notch
  • All the actresses play 3-5 minor roles usually shifting physicality and vocal range. It was quite entertaining to watch them transform very rapidly in and out of their customers. It also provided a very meta question of whether they actually became these characters or was it just the waitresses playing the caricatures of these people. Both interesting critiques on the people who frequent the cocktail bar.
  • The music was quite fun. The show opening with femebots and the ladies strutting onstage, which was quite fantastic. 
  •  These characters felt like real people with real hopes and dreams not just the stereotypical waitresses.
  • I worked in a restaurant this past summer so I know how much truth there was in the writing of this show and the performance by the actor. The simple way one of the actress took off her apron and wrapped it up and the end of her shift rang true to me. This attention to detail was quite nice.
Things I didn't like:

  • The "Woo girl" 21st birthday party in the bar while fun and funny at first really started to get on my nerves. They were so loud and obnoxious. 

  • This script while comedic in nature did seek a deeper truth. Like I said before the whole play was very honest. Unfortunately, they got there in the most formulaic way possible. It was sketch, sketch, dramatic spotlighted monologue. Sketch, sketch, sketch, dramatic spotlighted monologue. The actors had to work with the script they were given, but to me it seemed like really lazy writing. 
  • There was an underlying theme of the Cocktail Bar dying and decaying that was really interesting. I feel like the theme was not explored or concluded upon at all. I would have like to see more on that.
  • Minor costumes to represent the various characters would have helped a lot as the actresses jumped around in roles. I remember seeing The 39 steps and how many lovely gags there were of hat scarves and coat switching to represent all of the characters.

  • There was a pretty defined set with different tables. There seemed to be an attempt to keep continuity with where certain characters get placed at tables. When the actresses visited these spaces  later they became those characters again. That continuity was not as specific or consistent as it could have been and it got confusing from the audience perspective. 

by: John Godber

This was by far my favorite play of the BFA comedy series. The premise of this play is a story we know all too well. Its the every-inspirational-sports-movie ever story. An underdog beaten down team meets a new coach, a new special coach that turns them around. They then challenge a team that is better than them in every possible way and they win (maybe). I hate this story it is boring overused and not- reality. But I loved Up 'n' Under. Why? read on... Also Rugby!

What I liked:
  • The play was structured with a chorus that spoke in verse adding to the absurdity. The play also frequently pulls Shakespeare quotes for dramatic over-the-top "rallying" the troops speeches.
  • This team is the most hopeless team in the history of the style. They take it to the absolute extreme to mock the genre.
  • They don't win at the end. The team reflects and the play ends on a much more uplifting real message of let's keep trying. (More of Rocky less like that Remember the Titans bullshit).
  • This is an intensely physical subject and the way they stage the game is brilliant and it is so fun to watch these actors go through their training montages. 
  • The best part of this production is it doesn't take itself seriously. You can see the actors are having a lot of fun which causes the audience to have a lot of fun

Things I didn't like:

I really don't have a lot of constructive critique of this play. I really just loved every second of it. I will say that the characters in this play felt flatter and more two dimensional than the first two plays. However, I would argue that was a stylistic choice and not a slight on the performers or the direction. This play was the stage version of Leatherheads I never knew I wanted. 

And with that my friends I bid y'all adieu. I hope this was entertaining and hope to be back at it tomorrow,


Ps: I am writing a full review of Spring Awakening for a theater class so you will be getting that sometime this week as a post. GO SEE THE SHOW ITS REALLY GOOD!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day 15: Apologies, How I Met Your Mother and Mitt Romney and Women


So I am nearly the end of my spring semester. There are a lot of projects, papers, and exams to prepare for. That being said I have failed my fans this past week. I didn't get nearly the amount of content out this week I wanted to. I truly apologize for that I hope to do better this week. Tomorrow's blogpost is by far my most important I feel like and I also have reviews forthcoming of the three BFA comedies I saw this week, as well as, Spring Awakening finally. Thanks for the support and the patience.


How I Met Your Mother

So I am a huge fan of How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM). It is the best sitcom I have ever seen, and I have grown very close and fond of these characters. I have lived with them and grown up with them for 2 years now (If you were a fan from the beginning its more like 7 years). I hope this all sugar coats what I am going to say next. This show needs to end.

All good TV shows hit a peak. A good idea can only go on for so long. The best written shows know when a good things should end. They end the show at the peak and give its fans a very solid and satisfying conclusion. In a perfect world all shows would do this. However with greedy TV executives this is more and more becoming not the case.

More and more we see our beloved TV shows dragged on for way too long. They just start to slowly bleed to death until everything we love about the show is dead. Nothing is more painful than watching one of your favorite comedies no longer be funny.

This is the case with HIMYM. I was super excited for this season to start. Like any die hard fan I knew that the actors contracts with the studio end in the eight season. With that being the case, I expected a lot of character development and things starting to be tied up as we get closer to Ted meeting his future wife.

We did get some of the most powerful and emotionally satisfying episodes of the series this season. However they were only a few and they were all very spread out among a long list of very boring, lazy filler episodes. This point was most demonstrated by last night's episode. You can check out that episode here.

This following graph contains spoilers...

Last night's episode was the episode before the two part finale in two weeks. We had not had an episode with any real development in several episodes. I assumed that this episode would finally have some content  that would set up the drama for finale. Is Lilly finally going pop out her baby? Is Barney going propose? Is Ted going to find his wife? Is Robin finally going to stop being an awful human being ( I dislike Robin a lot after she broke Barney's, Kevin's, and Ted's heart this season alone).

Instead of any of that what we got was... another episode of Barney and Ted doing Legen- dary things. Very disappointing. As I reflected on the arch of this season I started to realized how cheated we really have been. By removing the several throw away episodes we got this season it would be more than possible to tie up all the loose ends and end the series on a high. The shows has gotten the most viewership ever at the beginning of this season.

Just like another show I really love, Scrubs, it seems that How I met Your Mother is being dragged out so they can get another full season. I am committed to seeing this show through the end but it is disappointing to see the show fall in quality just so everyone involved can make more money.

Mitt Romney's Women Problem

I don't even know where to begin on this topic. Mitt Romney has all-but officially become the Republican party's nominee. So the general election has started and will continue incessantly until we are ready to stay home in November.

Mitt Romney has a serious problem with women. He is pulling almost 20 points behind Obama among the female demographic is almost every swing state.
Now this may because he is part of the party  that has:

  •  attack abortion rights
  • defended income inequality between the sexes 
  • brought up a giant debate about access to birth control and contraceptives
  • attempted to defund Planned Parenthood
  • Called a private US citizen and law student a "Slut" and "Prostitute"
  • prosed a budget that radically cuts programs that support single mothers, low-income wage earners, child care, and education
Other than that whats the big deal? Romney claims he frequently has his wife report back to him (patriarchal framing much?) that the issue women are most concerned about is the economy. Well Mitt you keep saying that and attacking women's rights we will see where they vote in November.

Obviously Romney needs to make up some ground in this demographic if he wants to win the election as single women was the biggest demographic that voted for Obama in 2008. So with the launch of the general election campaign the first press release we got was Obama is the most Anti- Women President. According to Romneyland (the conservative bubble where no facts can get in) 92% of the jobs lost in the recession/ depression were female jobs. That of coarse is ridiculous and instantly torn apart by every new organization under the sun (Fox News notwithstanding).

Enter Hilary Rosen. Lets be real clear. Hilary Rosen does not work for Obama. She never has worked for him or any member of the Democratic Party.  In fact she is a lobbyist. Which is like the opposite of a political strategist. Her claim to fame was helping take down Napster. More recently she defend BP when it was under storm for its oil spill. She got on a talk show and make the comment that "Ann Romney has never worked a day in her  life." Which is an entirely factual statement. She wasn't belittling Ann Romney' choice to be a stay at home mother or belittling how hard it is to raise five boys. The media circuit exploded. Rosen became a democratic strategist working for Obama and the message became Obama hates stay at home moms.

Romney's campaign seized this opportunity. He worked very hard to paint Obama as anti-mother. There is a contradiction here though. As early in the past as in January Romney can be heard on the campaign trail saying that single mothers need to go out and work. Everyone should have the dignity of work. Well what is it Mitt do you support mothers or do you support throwing mother out into the work force and letting their children be raised by strangers?

The real meaning and message much be bridged between the lines. The undertone message of these two stances is class. He supports women staying home and raising their children if they are part of the ruling elite and can afford to. Poor women don't get that luxury. In fact, according to Mitt mothers of even two year olds need to go out into the work force.

With that I end this blog post. I hope to have more than one this week. Last week got crazy busy thank you for patience and dedication my dear fans. Don't forget to click an ad or two!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Day 14: Whedon, Walker, Science vs. Art


So I saw Cabin in the Woods this weekend. Me and Peter reviewed the movie on our podcast so I won't take most of that thunder, but I will use this blog as a soap box moment. Please see this movie. This movie is really smart. Movies like this don't quite make it through the Hollywood complex that frequently. Studios tend to play it safe and created what is easy. This movie isn't easy its challenging. Work like this needs to be seen.

More importantly we need to tell the studios we want more movies like this. Hollywood will only listen to profit figures. If this movie is successful they will make more like it. When you buy a ticket to Transformers 3 or Indiana Jones 4 you are tell the studios that this is the movie you want to see. I know based off of fan outcry these are not the type of movies that we want. So instead of rushing to Wrath of the Titans or Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer try and support the little film that could.

I will end by saying that this movies isn't all deep and challenging. Joss Whedon knows better than that. Another refreshing thing about this movie is it is a return to classic horror. Instead of jumping on the Torture Porn bandwagon that has plagued the horror genre since the creation of Saw, this movie returns to gore that is fun. I haven't see this much blood in a movie in a long time. It is satisfying gore though. It is not gross-out Guantanamo style gore that has become standard in the horror genre of late.

Here is Cabin in the Wood's Trailer:


Oh Scott Walker. Walker has become a name brand across the country. He is so famous or rather infamous that Huffington Post has started running headlines with just "Walker" because people don't need to by filled in on who he is or what he has done. He is currently targeted in a recall election set for June 5th. The Working-Class people will finally have their voice and we will know definitively whether or not Wisconsin stands behind the policies of Fitzwalkerstan.

That's not what this post is about however. Walker spoke before an NRA conference on Friday (full story here). There he said he has become a "Target" in this recall election because he has attempted the shrink the size of government. The Democrats as a power grab are trying to maintain their out of control spending. I would like to critique the idea that Walker supports a small government.

In this past year we have seen the biggest government expansion in Wisconsin history. The Budget bill based and signed into law by Walker grants him the power to sell state assets such as power plants, government land, and airports. He can now legally do this in a no bid process, and void of democracy. Does that sound like small government?

Over a hundred thousand people flooded the capital during the budget repair bill fiasco. Walker responded by an unprecedented police presence. They eventually added metal detectors and locked the people out of the capital , closing down a place where people could publicly testify their views on the budget repair bill. Does that sound like small government?

Worse yet after the Budget Repair Bill defeat Walker continued his Police State. People who came to assembly with political signs were removed from the assembly gallery. You can bring a concealed firearm into the capital building but you were stopped if you had a camera. Does that sound like small government?

Walker passed radical new legislation making it much harder to demonstrate at the capital.  (full details here).

Walker signed into law some of the most radical voter identification legislation in the country. This legislation will making it much harder for the elderly, students, poor, and minorities to vote. On top of that  he has closed and significantly reduced hours to all DMV locations making it harder for people who don't have an ID to get one to vote. Does this sound like small government?

He has passed legislation inserting the government into the doctors room for women who want to get abortions. Does that sound like small government?

Even the Government Accountability Board, the nonpartisan entity created to remove state corruption, has com under attack. This is the organization that oversees all of the recall signatures. Walker and Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald have talked about removing the agency and going back to the old system of the Governor appointing is own people to oversee elections. Does that sound like small government?

Worst of all he took away the power for government employees to collectively argue for their wage. Now the employees get paid whatever Walker wants to pay them. Which is not that much. Does that sound like small government?

All of these power grabs are not only a massive expansion of government they are an attack on democracy. So yes Scott Walker you are being "targeted" but is because you are trying to take democracy away from the working class.

Science Vs. Art

So leaving Cabin in the Woods yesterday me and my friends got into a pretty heated debate. We were arguing whether or not you can really judge art. Isn't all art subjective and completely based on opinion? There is not real way  to judge art because there are no hard rules that you can hold art up to. Art is not science. Science is black and white and there  are rights and wrong rigid yes's and no's that prove or disprove things. I reject this line of thought.

I am not a scientist. I am not good at science and I for the most part am not interested in science-y things. That disclaimer removed I do know a little about science. I have taken a Statistics class and I have a basic understanding. I know enough to know scientists can manipulate data to say whatever they want it to say. Moreover a huge part of the scientific process is scientists publishing their work and then colleagues critiquing each others work. I encourage everyone who thinks science isn't subjective to read the book Merchants of Doubt. This book will change your idea of subjective science.

There are also objective qualities and rules of art. There are basic things that do and don't work. We can critically look at art and say when it is not good art. Just like science an artist releases his work onto the world to be evaluated by peers and colleagues.

The basic message is art is much more objective than people give it credit for and science is much more subjective than people acknowledge.

That's all for now. Look forward to Spring Awakening jibber jabber and more to come.



Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day 13: Why I art, free write, a little video, Obama


I am sorry there has not been a post in two days. I have been really busy and stressed out the last few days. I hope to be back to dailyish posts starting today.

Why I art

I just wanted to talk a little about how important creating art is to me. I am an actor and into theater so that is my main art form, but I also enjoy and dabble in music, movies, and writing. Art to me is about creating something to change the world. I know that sounds kind of silly but I truly believe it. Art is created to challenge society. To force society to open its mind and look at an idea from a different perspective. 

I don't expect to change millions of people live and change the massive scope of the world. Theater is far more personal than that. The bond an actor forms with its audiences is unique and special. I am not in this industry for fame or fortune I am in it to change lives. If I can open one mind and shatter one prejudice,  that is a successful performance. 

I believe that is how we change the world. One personal connection at a time. One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite plays The Laramie Project  talks about the concept of changing your piece of the world to make it better. That is my goal in life. to positively change my piece of the world. That is why I need to create. 

The idea of sitting behind a desk for the rest of my life crunching number terrifies me. The "safe" route might guarantee me a livelihood, but it is not living. Being alive is to me is critically engaging in the world to make it better. That is why I art. 

Free write

So in a theater class last week I did a little free writing. Before I wrote this piece I went through a meditative exercise. The goal of this writing assignment was to be completely out of my head. To write without thinking. I thought the way my piece turned out was interesting. I wouldn't say it is a line of thinking or a philosophy I necessarily agree with but it definitely makes me think and I hope it makes you think as well. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will make you think as well:

"There is no right or wrong way? There has to be a right or wrong. Edison talked about how he found 2000 ways to not invent a light bulb, but there was eventually a right way. I wouldn’t be sitting in this theater reading this page right now if there was no right or wrong way.

 What if the human race was born without the concept of right or wrong? People all just did what they wanted without thinking about their actions. The world would be a cruel twisted place. Or would it? The world is a twisted and cruel place now. On one hand there are universal rights and wrongs. You can only watch another defenseless human being getting beaten for so long before you feel empathy and moral outrage for him. 

With that feature of humanity removed the human race would be unstoppable. They train this feature out of military forces to build an effective robotic army. Lots of people are born and raised into warped and twisted ideologies. Moral codes that say it is ok to hate someone because they are different than you. Codes that assume that you are better than someone because you are some higher being’s chosen one. Think about: man a clean slate. No morality."

I think the most disturbing thing about this writing, to me at least, is how closely is follows this author's personal ideology: 

 Good old Ayn Rand. I don't really believe a lot of what I wrote but I do think it was an interesting exercise. 

Little Video

Occupy Homes has become my personal campaign right now. I am really busy with school and theater and life so I don't have the amount of time to dedicate to the campaign as I would like to. However I can repost on the internet and effect my sphere of influence as much as possible.

I have talked about Occupy Homes for several weeks now, but I really haven't shared the story of the people we are fighting for. Instead of speaking for these brave homeowners I thought it would be more fitting to let these homeowners speak for themselves. So here are Frank and Christina and this is their story. Please take five minutes out of their day and watch:


I end with a mini political rant. Obama proves time and time again there is no left issue he will not fold on.  This week his administration announce it would not be pursuing an executive order that would prevent federal contractors from LGBT discrimination. Amazing the first black (ish) President of the United States  is willing to ignore a civil rights issue because it is not politically "safe."

All I say to you Mr. President is this country was once filled will leaders and people who fought and died for rights that created the path to you being elected into the White House. Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, and many many more weren't worried about stances that were politically "safe." Instead they concerned themselves with issues that were morally right.

This is just one of the mile-long laundry list of reasons I am not voting for Obama in 2012. As we get closer to November I will dedicate an entire blog to Obama' s long lists of disappointments. All I can say is shame  Mr. President.

On a fun not here are a few pictures that illustrate my frustration with the two-party corporate system.

 My Favorite:

With that I bid the internet good day. I will say I am living a Santorum-free lifestyle and I couldn't be happier. I am pretty proud of how I predict the demise of Santorum's campaign exactly as it unfolded. Want to fact check me? Read this.

Good day lovely internet,


Monday, April 9, 2012

Day 12: Too many to list

So there are a lot of minitopics I want to discuss and write about so there are probably going to be 3-5 sections in this blog post, but I will attempted to keep them as brief as possible. I really do respect my readers time and do not want to take advantage of them at all.

Capitalism vs. Socialism vs. Anarchism

So tonight I attended a public event hosted by a student group Democracy Matters. This student group is primarily focused on election reform. The event was a debate of which political system is the best for our country moving forward: Socialism, Capitalism, or Anarchism. I will critique the event in general and then also attempt to provide a small list of how I think events like this in the future could be better structured, as well as why events like this are important.

I think this event went really well. There was a really good back and forth between the representative of the Socialism and the Anarchist. I haven't done a lot of the readings in the Anarchist movement so I did not have a very firm background in their belief structure. With the back and forth between the Socialist camp and the Anarchist camp, I left the discussion with a strong understanding of Anarchism and Socialism points of unity as well as their points of contention.

One of the things this discussion panel did a really good job of is exposing the audience to ideologies that a lot of the audience might not have had a lot of exposure to. Socialism and Anarchism are very dirty words in our society. It was great to give some experts the opportunities to change people's misconceptions and maybe open some minds to different systems of government (or lack of government).

Now you might have noticed that I have left the capitalist out of this critique thus far. I wanted to lead with the good. The "defender" of the capitalist system was terrible. First of all he was not a true capitalist. He did not ascribe to the free-market kind of thinking or the Chicago School such as Milton Friedman. He was a very left-wing activist who attempted to defend capitalism from a progressive perspective (I think...).  This seemed a weird choice to defend the capitalist system. The choice is comparable to having  Obama defend Socialism (because he is a "Socialist").  Other than that line of criticism the speaker for capital was not on the same level experience as the Socialist and the Anarchist. This unfairly stacked the discussion into favor of the other two camps.

Here is a list of ways the event can be improved:

  • The panel should have been given a longer change to clarify their points, counter-points, and rebuttals. 30 seconds isn't enough time to given any criticism.
  • Maybe each panel could have provided the audience with the pre-panel reading material so they don't have to start at square one in their specific beliefs
  • A professor from the economics department or the political science department would be a far better defender of capitalism
  • a video recording would have been great to put this discussion online so a plethora of people can access it at anytime. 
Events like these should be happening all over the country. They help break through the corporate media complex's representation of legitimate social movements and raises political conscience of the population.


So my first two polls on the site have closed so I will briefly discuss the results.

Supreme Court: The majority answer was No, the Supreme Court should not declare The Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. This is exactly the way I argued this issue so I was happy to see the majority agreed with me. Hopefully the Supreme Court agrees with us.  I also appreciated to honesty in the next majority voting as "I don't know."



Rising Stars: The top winners were Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence. I agree with both of these choices as they are both stronger than their male counterparts. However I was surprised to see Lawrence topping Stone as I am more interested in Emma Stone as an actress. Also I was disappointed Andrew Garfield crushed Chris Hemsworth. People will learn. 2012 is the year of Chris Hemsworth. 

Star Wars: I will put the new poll on the blog for-realsies tonight. :D

Occupy Homes

Just a short Occupy Homes update. Activists successfully shutdown the sheriff's sale of John Vinje's home this morning at the court house. They postponed the event 7 more week providing US Bank 7 weeks to come to the negotiating table with John.

Here's a little video if you are interested: Sheriff Sale Victory

Killing Boundaries

So the internet magazine I have blogged about for awhile has finally published its first issue!

The link to this wonderful website I am very proud of is right here.

Articles specifically authored by yours truly are:
I encourage y'all to read the entire magazine though. This is a different writing style than I do in the blog it is a lot more structured and focused. The writing should feel more final and less stream of conscienceness-y. Also people smarter than me have edited the articles so they are closer to the goal of error free. 

Other News

Me and my friend are currently in the process of launching a film podcast. So if you just haven't gotten enough of my on the internet here's an opportunity for more Will each week. The goal of this show is to present it to Radio K (U of M radio station) and have them pick it up as a weekly program next fall. We will see. 

Well that's enough for tonight,

I hope it was interesting,


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Day 11: Star Wars, Easter, and Occupy Report back


So I have realized that I am probably not going to be be able to sustain content 7 days a week anymore. It was a very ambitious goal, but I have revised plans going forward. I am a student and a actor. I have lots of stuff going on in my life and therefore other commitments need to be fullfilled. The goal going forward is to have updates to this blog Monday-Thursday and then one or two posts in the Friday-Sunday block. I know everyone is busy and maybe fans will appreciate having only 5-6 posts a week as well. I am so proud of this blog and everyone that reads it. Starting this blog about 2 weeks ago I already have had over  500 views and lots of positive feedback. Please stick with me as I continue to revise content and consistency.

Star Wars

So I recently watch all three Star Wars films (I say three because just like Indie 4 the prequel trilogy does not exist in my opinion). It has been at least 2-3 years since I have seen these movies. As a kid I was a Star Wars fanatic and I guess I got sick of them. Watching them now that I am older more critical of film I can honestly say I fell in love with these movies all over again.

These movies are good. Really, really fucking good. More importantly they are necessary. In the sixties and seventies there was a semi-concerning trend in cinema. Film as a whole was growing more and more arthouse, gritty, and experimental. Now I am not saying that this is bad. I love cinema in all of these styles, but there needs to be balance in an art form. If I went to the movies and all I could see was movies like Goodfellas, Tree of Life, Gerry I might kill myself.

As much of a cinefile and cinema snob I profess myself to be I need popcorn movies to. When Star Wars came out in 1977 it was a return to form. It reminded Hollywood that movies are suposed to be fun and that cinema, just like theater or any other art form for that matter, can fulfill two roles. It is important that movies are made to be art. We need something to force us to think critically of society, challenge us with style and form, and expand are imagination of artistic possibilities.

We also need entertainment. We need something we can sink 90-120 minutes into and just have a good time. I'm not saying Star Wars doesn't have artistic  qualities at all, but I don't think it is the main goal of the film. Once Star Wars premiered we saw a return to the Hollywood blockbuster for better or for worse.  As much I as I am excited to see films like Moonrise Kingdom, Great Gatsby, and Lincoln, I am looking forward to Prometheus, Snow White and the Huntsman, and The Advengers too.

At the end of rewatching these films I decided to challenge myself to rank these films. It is really hard for me though because they are all so good. If you held a gun to my head and told me to rank them though I think the order would have to go: Empire Strikes Back, A New Hope, and then Return of the Jedi.

What do you think? I think the poll this week will be "What is the best film in the Star Wars Trilogy?" It  will be interesting to see where people throw their vote.


So today was easter. For me at least it was the weirdest Easter I have ever been around for. I was raised Catholic so growing up Easter was a big deal. As I got older and I grew more and more resistant to Catholic dogma my parents made me go to church less and less. When I was young easter was a big family get together too. All my aunts and uncles and cousins all met up at my grandparents house and we grilled out. As I got older this happened less and less. Cousins moved out schedules got filled and we eventually stopped getting together.

My family still did the egg hunt. We still got a ton of candy in the morning and ate way too much of it.  Today was the least acknowledge Easter of my life though. I didn't celebrate with anyone. Didn't even call home I just woke up, did my homework, and watch a movie.

I guess my life crisis revolves around being old. I guess I've grown up and am finally at a point in my life where I can focus on things that are important to me. Its good but its also weird. I get nostalgia for the good old days hanging with the family and being together. I guess what I am trying to say thanks to my family. I am really happy I have these fond memories of Easter. I might not believe or agree with everything that the church stands for but Easter is important to me. It was a great excuse to see everyone and get together. I look forward to this summer and seeing people back home again.


So this will be an interesting post. I am very conflicted in the Occupy chapter in Minneapolis. Some cities around the country have had lots of accomplisments and lots to be proud of. Here in in the Cities that has been less true.

A lot of the problems with the movement here is the way the GA was set up. There was a lot of focus on keeping the democracy as horizontal as possible. The idea was to keep the movement as leaderless as possible. Idealistically that makes a lot of sense, but it lacks a lot of practical application for things to actually get done. You really need an executive authority to be able to make decisions for the people they represent. Direct democracy hasn't existed since the Greeks.

I was at Loring Park to the relaunch of one of the two sites of Occupy Minneapolis. The start time of the occupation was officially 12, but activists were suppose to get there as early as 10 to start setting up. Socialist Alternative got there at about 11 and no one was there. Cameras showed up at about noon to film about 15 protesters under a canopy with one tent.

This addresses another problem with the Occupy chapter in Minneapolis. There is a significant responsible deficit within the core group. You frequently have activists commit to responsibilities they end up falling through on. Launch dates of protests matter. They set the tone for the entire movement. I am a very busy person and have therefore not gotten involved in leadership roles in the movements. I don't want to hurt the movement by not being able to do a good job with my work because I don't have the time to commit to the movement.

This is the end of the negative commentary of the events on Saturday.

At 4 pm there was a rally and march to Richard Davis's home. He is the CEO of US Bank, the bank that has both mortgages for John Vinje and Monique White. There are the two homes Occupy Homes is currently fighting for. This rally was very good. We had maybe 50 people march all the way up to the mansion. There were several very moving and powerful speeches. We ended the protest by making paper airplanes of Occupy Homes fliers and throwing them on Davis' lawn.

In looking for the videos of this rally I came across some very disturbing news. The occupy encampment at the People Plaza was attacked and shutdown by the police late in the night on Saturday. Protestors at the relaunch of Occupy seem to be under the impression that they had the city's blessing to sleep at the Plaza. Well whether that was misinformation or the police decided to crackdown because of low turnout this isn't very clear. What is clear is these police responded with unnecessary brutality. Here is a few videos to show the events that unfolded Saturday night.

This first one has the most egregious case of police brutality. Watch how violently this cop shoves this protestor to the ground:

Here is the full unedited version of events Saturday:

There are several more videos of events from various cameras and different angles if you want a wider perspective I encourage you to look here.

If you are concerned and want to get active and involved there is an emergency meeting and rally tomorrow (Monday April 8) 1pm at the People's Plaza. I encourage everyone to go.

With that bit of excitement I end tonight. See y'all tomorrow


Friday, April 6, 2012

Day 10: Relationships and Police Brutality


So I have been thinking about relationships a lot recently. Let me start by saying my philosophy on relationships. All of my life I have believed there is no point in being in a relationship, unless you see it growing into something that is forever, true love, marriage and kids. I have said "I love you" to everyone I have been in a relationship with and I have only stayed with someone as long as I see a future. My past relationships have been full of lots of drama, passion, and fighting. I have recently started thinking that maybe this model isn't working.

One of the things I like about all of my relationships of the past is I have been challenged and grown as a person from all of them. It would be idealistic and dishonest to say that I don't have regrets from past relationships. I also wouldn't go back and change anything about any of them. I grew from all of these relationships. I learned things about myself and about others, and about relationships.

I say maybe the model isn't working because my entire idea of what a relationship should be is based off an idea created by Hollywood. I am a huge Rom-Com (Romantic Comedy) fan. I love, love LOVE them.  As fun as Rom-Com's are they aren't based in reality. People don't hold radio's up in the rain. They don't run through airports and buy plane tickets to stop the love of their life from leaving. Another problem with rom-com's is they almost always end with the couple in question getting together. That isn't happily ever after though. It's not even close.

So here is what I have been thinking recently. Does there have to be love and passion in a relationship? When I use the term "love" I mean the passionate romantic movie love. I want someone to be with someone who unconditionally accepts me for who I am and will be there and support me when I need them. That's love to me, but that isn't necessarily romantic love. That unconditional bond is something I share with a some very close friends.

So here is my proposal: why can't friends be together? If you have someone in your life that loves you unconditionally, that you enjoy spending time with, that has good sexual chemistry with you and can fill those needs, why not? Maybe you aren't passionately, romantically in love with them, but is that something a relationship needs? When people are married for 40, 50, 60 years a very common response when they are asked "How did you do it?" is "S/he is my best friend."

I have realized this is always the type of relationship I have secretly wanted anyways. I a huge fan of How I Met Your Mother and Scrubs. In both of those shows I want Robin and Ted to get together. I want   Elliot and JD to be together. I want this because they complete each other. They are there for each other no matter what. Do they work romantically? Maybe not, but why does that have to be a qualification?

Building a life-time relationship on passion and romance, is starting to see sillier and sillier to me. If you build a house, start a family, and buy grave plots with someone you are passionately in love with, what happens when the passion dies? That's how kids end up in broken homes. How things end in messy violent divorces. Instead of all of that, why not build those things in life around a friend? Friends are there for always. You have that bond and connection regardless of passion or romance. You don't get bored of each other, because you entertain each other.

I want to be with someone who will sit and TV marathons for hours with me on netflix:

I want to be with someone who isn't afraid to tell me I am completely wrong. I want to be with someone who isn't afraid to call me out on my bullshit. I want to be with someone who I can stay up talking until 5 am. But I also want to be with someone who I can not see for a week or month and our relationship isn't threatened.

Maybe this idea is completely dumb and stupid, but that is the way life works. This is the mental state I am in right now. Maybe five years from now I will look back on this post and be like "How could I ever think that?" All I know is the old Hollywood model is broken for me right now. It has left me, at times, sad, lonely, and depressed. I am ready to buck the system and try something new.

I hope others found this section interesting. To be honest this section is mainly for me to get my views and ideas on this written on paper and out to the world. If I truly believe in something, I think it should be strong enough to stand public scrutiny. We will see. If you have thoughts or ideas on this I would love to discuss more. Comment away!

and now for something a little more serious....

Police Brutality

We have a systemic institutional racism problem in this country. I firmly believe that crime has nothing to do with the color of your skin. That in mind, it would be dishonestly to say that certain ethnic groups don't appear to commit crime more frequently than others. This is where racial stereotypes start to play a role. A black person in a hoodie is suspicious. A Latino is an illegal immigrant and a gangbanger. If you equalize the playing field though I think the pattern is much less racially driven. The common factor among people committed crime isn't one of skin color, but of economic status. If you are poor and living in the ghettos than you are incredibly more likely to commit crime. Look at these statistics of Youth From Low-Income Families. The one thing this document doesn't clarify is race.

Minority groups are significantly more part of the lower class because the system is stacked against them. Because of that it appears they commit more crime. I wanted to establish my stances on these facts before I move into more hot button issues such as police brutality and racial profiling.

Trayvon Martin has opened a can of worms for this country. It has started a dialogue discussing racial profiling. Since the shooting a slew of other examples have come in from around the country. There have been a mixture of private citizens acting like Zimmerman, and police having direct action. The one thing that is a constant in these cases is racism. They all operate in the concept of if you are black you are a criminal. I will provide three examples of cases from around the country. Then I will propose a list of clear demands that we can put in place to prevent these abuses from happening.

New York

The first story deals brings to the question of the police practice of "Stop and Frisk." A stop and frisk gives a police officer to the legal right to go pat down anyone acting "suspicious." If they find illegal materials such as Marijuana or a gun then they have the right to arrest and book this "suspicious" person. It was originally intended to be use to prevent crime from being committed (here is a full legal history of stop and frisk). However police have used this policy has an excuse to go into low income neighborhoods and disproportionally stop and frisk minority populations.

NYPD is just one example, but they are a very egregious one. Go here to see full statistics on the the NYPD's use of of stop and frisk policy from 2002-2011. To breakdown the stats though there are commonalities even as the number arrest rise each year:

  • 83-90% of people "stopped and frisked" were innocent (in other words the practice has a 10-17% success rate)
  • 53-55% of those stopped were Black
  • 31%-34% of those stopped were Latino
  • Only 9%-12% of those stopped were white          
  • 685,328 people were stopped and frisked in 2011 88% totally innocent and 87% of them black or Latino                                                                                
This has serious racial profiling implications. This practice reared is ugliest head when Ramarley Graham was shot dead by police. The police caught Graham flushing Marijuana down the toilet. They then chased Graham into his home, kicked his door down and shot him dead in front of his grandmother and six-year-old brother (read the full story here).


Now I have a friend who works for the bus system in the cities. This entire story is from his account so take that for what you will, but I have been in Minneapolis long enough to have seen similar stories like this one.

So my friend was driving his route late at night. A cop car was cruising in front of his bus. They pass a group of 10-15 black teenagers just together. The cop car makes a U-turn and then another U-turn,pulls up onto the sidewalk where these teens are. They get out of their car guns pulled and instantly start arresting them. If you are black you are not allowed to group together late at night because that instantly makes you part of a "gang" and "suspicious."

New York (again...)

This is the by far the most troubling example tonight. I wont go into a lot of details with this case because Democracy Now has excellent coverage on this issue. If you don't want to dedicate the time to the video here is the skinny:

A 68-year old black veteran accidentally sends off his medical emergency alerter. Cops show up and ask him if he is okay. He says he is fine and ask the police to go away. They insist he has to open the door and for the next hour proceed to dismantle the door to illegally getting access into this man's home. During this hour police ask if there is a family member who can come talk to him. A niece lives in the building and a sister is on the phone with the niece. Both offer assistance to the police and are ignored. 

The veteran while he is locked in his home states to the Life Aid device recording: "This is my legally sworn statement: these police officers are illegally coming into my home to kill me." the police get into the   house and tazer the 68-year-old black man with a heart condition. Their report claims he was armed with a knife and approached them. However the camera on the tazer shows the veteran when they open the door clearly standing in just boxers with his hands at his sides no weapons.

Next the police turn off that camera on the tazer, acknowledging they were about to do something illegal. They then pull out their guns and shoot the veteran in the chest killing him.

The new angle Democracy Now broke today is the name of the shooter. Officer Carelli who shot and killed this veteran is currently on trail in federal court for a different federal police brutality charge.

CORRECTION: a previous version of this story said the veteran's cousin was here. It was his niece. life alert was changed to Life Alert and it was the niece on the phone with the veteran's sister not the veteran.

Anthony Carelli:

His previous work:

here is Democracy Now's full coverage on this story:

All of these cases should raise some serious concerns about police brutality and racial profiling in this country. These are just a few of many. How can we solve these problems? I have some very easy fixes for these serious problems:

  • Make "stop and frisk" and other racial profiling practices (such as the Arizona immigration law) illegal
  • Police Officers should be a community officer. They should legally have to come from the areas and neighborhoods they are policing so they know the people they protect.
  • A community should have the right to recall a Police Officer who abuses their power. 
  • Once an officer is charged with brutality they need to be taken out of service and have their weapon and badge taken away until the trial reaches a verdict
  • An Internet network should be set up to track officers with consistent charges of brutality and racial profiling brought against them (similar to the national sex offender registry Family Watchdog). This will help protect people and make them aware of whose precinct they are in
I am not saying these reforms would solve the institutional racism in our country, but it would be a good first step. 

I realize that this post is already pretty long so I am not going to have a third section today. Things to look forward to: I will be at the re-occupation of Loring Park and the People's Plaza all day Saturday so probably some thoughts on that. I also will hopefully be participating in an action against US Bank CEO Richard Davis to protest the foreclosure crisis in Minneapolis. 

Goodnight (morning?)