1. “Lesbian Desire, a Father’s Suicide and 12 Tony Noms: Alison Bechdel on Fun Home.” The dark heart of Fun Home—author Alison Bechdel’s feelings of guilt over her dad’s suicide—doesn’t sound very Broadway. But this brilliant musical may sweep the Tonys.
“What is it like seeing her life played out on stage? ’I keep hoping someone will ask me that question, and suddenly words will appear in my mind to express the bizarre feeling of seeing it,’ says Bechdel, smiling. ’But it’s beyond language, it’s inexpressible. It’s surreal, magical, it feels deeply cathartic in some way to see this adaptation of my book which is very different to the book but also essentially the same… I keep waiting for the word to spring to mind…’ She pauses, lightly shrugs. ’I don’t know.’ As Bechdel expressed it to The New York Times’ Michael Paulson, ’I do understand that there’s a difference between the play and my life, but it is a very strange and permeable boundary.’ However, the stage version has illuminated some of the mystery around her father’s death. ’It takes you to that moment when he kills himself and steps in front of this truck. I thought I had done that. I had been to the spot on the road where he got hit. I tried to imagine as vividly as I could what it must have been like to make that decision. But to see Michael Cerveris singing it, it gives me much more of an understanding of what it must have been like.’”
2. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg eviscerates same-sex marriage opponents in court.” At 82, the supreme court justice cut through the question of gay marriage’s constitutionality in a way that seemed to move even her most conservative peers.
“’Marriage today is not what it was under the common law tradition, under the civil law tradition,’ said Ginsburg when Justices Roberts and Kennedy began to fret about whether the court had a right to challenge centuries of tradition. ’Marriage was a relationship of a dominant male to a subordinate female,’ she explained. ’That ended as a result of this court’s decision in 1982 when Louisiana’s Head and Master Rule was struck down ... Would that be a choice that state should [still] be allowed to have? To cling to marriage the way it once was?’ ’No,’ replied John Bursch, the somewhat chastised lawyer for the states who are seeking to preserve their ban on gay marriage. Bursch was similarly eviscerated by Ginsburg when he tried to argue that the sole purpose of marriage was to ensure a stable relationship for procreation.”
3. “Nonviolence As Compliance.” Officials calling for calm can offer no rational justification for Gray’s death, and so they appeal for order.
“When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is ’correct’ or ’wise,’ any more than a forest fire can be ’correct’ or ’wise.’ Wisdom isn’t the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.”
4. “Interview: George Armitage.” For Film Comment, Nick Pinkerton chats with the director on the occasion of Miami Blues hitting Blu-ray.
“[Jennifer Jason Leigh is] the glue that held it together, just extraordinary. Alec… I’m a Richard Lester fan, I love understatement, and all the great British comedies are so beautifully understated. Alec had a little problem with that—he wanted to be a little broader, I was afraid he was commenting on the character, but I must tell you: he was right. We didn’t really agree on set, but then he gave me a call, he’d been shooting in Chicago, and saw Grosse Pointe Blank, which he loved—and which I’d tried to get him into, but he couldn’t—but he called me and said: ’Hey, I’m glad you made me do this and that.’ I said: ’I’m glad you did what you did, too.’ It was a little broader than I would’ve asked him to play it, but I really like what he did.”
5. “The Eternal Charm of the Screwball Comedy.” For Fandor, Calum Marsh explains how, for two decades in Hollywood, real romance had a golden age and comedies an effervescence.
“My fiance and I fell in love with The Thin Man, and I know why: we like to think of ourselves as contemporary versions of its heroes, Nick and Nora Charles. We can hardly be the only couple to hold this wistful conviction, however improbable it may seem. Certainly William Powell, who plays Nick Charles, is a compelling figure on which to model oneself—a buoyant, irrepressible socialite of peerless wit and sophistication. Now, I suppose I can be mildly charming on occasion, and, in my finery and with a martini in hand, I may even pass for a gentleman. But I am no William Powell. Nor, indeed, is my fiance Myrna Loy, who co-stars as Powell’s wife, though in my acting capacity I imagine I ought to insist upon the comparison. My fiance and I are not, alas, privately wealthy—despite our best efforts to will to us lottery winnings or a sizable inheritance—as Nick and Nora are in the film. And to my knowledge we have not of late found ourselves embroiled in, let alone ultimately solved, criminal mysteries of any kind.”
Video of the Day: Here is the first footage from Todd Haynes’s Carol:
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