“History has its eyes on you.”

That awkward moment when, after campaigning for president on a platform of unapologetic racism and misogyny, you demand a "safe space" for your bigot crony because some actors respectfully asked him to acknowledge others' humanity.

That awkward moment when, after campaigning for president on a platform of unapologetic racism and misogyny, you demand a “safe space” for your bigot crony because some actors respectfully asked him to acknowledge others’ humanity.

How I wish I could travel back in time to the Richard Rogers Theatre two weeks ago and get inside Mike Pence’s head Being John Malkovich-style. I wonder whether he understood that he, an avowed homophobe, was a guest in the house of queer America that night. I wonder whether he’s aware that the American musical is an institution built by the combined efforts of a century of queer artists. I wonder how he reconciles his well-documented history of persecuting queer people with his enjoyment of their work.

I imagine he’s the “love the sinner, hate the sin” sort of homophobe: the type who compartmentalizes people’s sexual orientations away from the rest of them—as though whom one loves and fucks isn’t an integral part of one’s humanity—so he can reap the benefits of their contributions to society without feeling guilty about dedicating his professional life to curtailing their rights. (As an aside, is it too early to start the countdown until the inevitable airport bathroom scandal? Because at this point I just assume that any conservative politician so pathologically uncool about gayness is probably getting up to some extravagantly gay activities in his off hours.)

After enduring the humiliation of being the recipient of a respectful message of inclusion, Pence needed somebody to stick up for him. Enter Trump, who apparently has some kind of spidey sense for detecting any opportunity to reinforce what an utter douchebag he is by word-vomiting all over Twitter. I can imagine him sitting down at his laptop, lips drawn together in that trademark anus-like frown, typing and then erasing his rebuttal five or six times to accommodate the 140 character limit before pressing send.

For as much as they complain that oppressed groups take their own oppression too personally, and as much as they enjoy ridiculing safe spaces and trigger warnings as emblems of PC culture run amok, nobody melts down faster than a straight white dude who’s just his beliefs about his own supremacy challenged.

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A T-Bag Survival Guide

If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent the last six days saying to yourself, “Holy shit, my fellow Americans just helped make an Hefty bag full of dirty diapers the leader of the free world. The fuck do I do now?” Also if you’re like me, you’re irked by the proliferation of “What comes next?” articles and blog posts that emphasize soul-searching and accountability and solidarity but suggest few or no concrete action items.

So here’s a non-comprehensive list of steps you personally can take to help mitigate the damage a Trump presidency is likely to do to our country and its most vulnerable citizens, organized by what sort of action they each require. If you have any to add, feel free to suggest them in the comments:

Sign

  • Yes, it has a snowball’s chance in Hell of succeeding, but nevertheless add your signature to this Change.org petition asking the Electoral College to cast their votes for Hillary Clinton on December 19th. For a primer on how faithless electors could change the outcome of the presidential election, click here.

Donate

  • Read up on how the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is putting charitable donations to good use (the incomplete list includes obstructing efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, opposing bans against Muslim immigrants entering the United States, and protecting “Dreamers”: children of undocumented immigrants who received presidential deferred action protection), and then click here to make a one-time gift or become a monthly donor.
  • Immigrant Defense Project aims to “secure fairness and justice for immigrants in the United States” by challenging a biased legal system through advocacy and impact litigation and offering legal advice to immigrants and grassroots organizations. You can donate to them here.

Engage

  • This resource compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center contains useful scripts for discussing bigotry with family and friends, at school, and in the workplace, and how to confront our individual unexamined biases. Thanksgiving is coming at us fast and furious, so read up and gird your loins before you have to sit down to dinner with your aunt and uncle who still have that window decal of Calvin peeing on Osama bin Laden.
  • Direct your transgender friends and family members to the #TransLawHelp tag on Twitter.  US lawyers are offering pro bono legal services related to helping transgender people change their names and gender markers, and some good Samaritans are even offering to sponsor legal fees for transgender people in need.
  • Call your representatives and urge them to add their voices to the chorus of legislators already publicly opposing the appointment of alt-right darling/actual white supremacist Steve Bannon to Trump’s cabinet. Dunno who your representatives are? Go here and enter your zip code, and then call rather than email or tweet at them. I did this today. Took me less than ten minutes.

Volunteer

  • Contact Planned Parenthood to find out what sort volunteer opportunities exist in your zip code. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive healthcare provider, and in light of T-Bag’s promise to repeal Roe v. Wade, it’s gonna need some extra love.
  • Join your local chapter of SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice). According to its website, SURJ is “a national network of groups and individuals organizing White people for racial justice.” If there are no SURJ chapters or affiliates near you, click here for information about how you can start your own.
  • The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ teens. Click here for information about how you can get involved and help support queer youth.

It goes without saying that there’s plenty more to do, and there will be more still in the weeks and months to come. I’ll update this post accordingly as new resources, organizations, and opportunities come onto my radar.

“There is no more status quo / But the sun comes up and the world still spins.”

One of my best friends texted me late last night. “I can’t stop crying,” she said. “I think the only thing I don’t tick in his hate column is Muslim.”

I momentarily logged into the Facebook account I deactivated a few weeks ago. Another friend, a Latino man, had posted a wry status wondering what he would look like blond. I deactivated again.

All last night and all day today I’ve been thinking about my black and brown friends, my immigrant friends, my queer friends, my disabled friends, my friends who must take medication every day to stay alive—medication most of them can only afford thanks to Obamacare. I think about every woman I know who relies on Planned Parenthood for reproductive healthcare and how fucked we’ll all be if and when it’s defunded.

Last night I felt numb and nauseous. Today I’m galvanized by rage.

Tomorrow I’ll be ready to get my hands dirty.

“Congratulations, you have invented a new kind of stupid / A damage-you-can-never-undo kind of stupid.”

Me after seeing tonight's election results.

Me after seeing tonight’s election results.

Tonight a friend in Canada offered—jokingly, I think—to marry me. This was shortly before I received word that the Canadian immigration website had crashed beneath a deluge of panic-stricken Americans, but after I’d successfully right-clicked and saved the PDF of the passport application. Like me, she’d tuned into the election coverage with high hopes that by the end of the night we’d see the ascendance of America’s first woman president. Like me, she was devastated by the finale, in which an eminently qualified stalwart of progressive values was forced to concede to the world’s ugliest trust fund baby/rapist.

I’m never one to underestimate the stupidity of big swathes of people and the destructive power they wield, and even I was dumbfounded by what I saw tonight. Every time Google’s election tracker refreshed itself and the red ticker tracking Trump’s progress across the map got a little longer, my chest tightened. Even after it became clear that Hillary wasn’t going to trounce him as effortlessly as I’d anticipated, I felt optimistic that he’d pull some pansy-assed move at the last minute and weasel out of the race. After all, this was the same dumbfuck who tried challenging the presidential debate schedule on the grounds that it conflicted with a football game. Some conspiracy-minded commenters even conjectured that he was working to sabotage his own campaign, a theory I embraced with zeal. There was some strange comfort in imagining that the whole horrible Trump sideshow—from the ghoulish Mystic Tan to the barely intelligible, inflammatory rhetoric that sounded like a special racist edition of Mad Libs—was a bid for publicity that spiraled horrifically out of his control. It meant there was still a possibility that he’d pack it in, however clumsily, and then the reins would be handed over to the candidate with actual qualifications.

But this is 2016: The Year of the Tire Fire. Of course we wouldn’t get that lucky. Of course a year that kicked off with a harbinger like the surprise death of David Bowie would be bookended by a political calamity the likes of which will make Brexit look like Christmas morning. But the adherence to dramatic structure doesn’t diminish my horror a bit. It doesn’t take the sting out of knowing that American citizens were so eager for a permission slip to freely hate women and people of color that they chose to elect a former reality TV star with zero foreign policy experience to the highest office in the land, nor assuage my fear of what he’s now in a position to do to the Supreme Court. Between the Republican-controlled House and Senate, Trump’s presidency, and whichever justices he ends up nominating, we’re liable to see the unraveling of decades of advancement in equality, and needless to say the impact will be felt most acutely by black and brown people, women, LGBTQ folks, immigrants, disabled people, and the working class.

None of this is an accident. Trump didn’t spring fully formed out of thin air. He is a golem built by America’s most entitled from fistful after fistful of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia. He’s the dying gasp of the dominant culture of straight white men who spent the better part of the last century tantruming on the floor because they don’t understand why they should have to share the world. They embraced him with enthusiasm as a mouthpiece for their continued supremacy, and now the most vulnerable among us are going to feel the weight of his foot on our necks for decades to come.

Tempting though it is to flee, nothing would bring me more satisfaction than to help destroy the culture that created him. I don’t want to run away from it. I want to join forces with everyone else who was told in not so many words tonight to bite the pillow and burn it to the fucking ground.

2016 Show Diary

The Yellow Wallpaper CoHo Productions
CockTales YOCTO Theatre
The Set-Up Cygnet Productions
Blasted defunkt theatre
Nesting: Episodes 1 & 2 Joel Patrick Durham
Contigo Pan y Cebolla Miracle Theatre Group
Moby Dick, Rehearsed Bag&Baggage Productions
King Lear Post5 Theatre
The Lady Aoi Imago Theatre
We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, from the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884 – 1915 Artists Repertory Theatre
Othello Post5 Theatre
The New Electric Ballroom Third Rail Repertory Theatre
Blue Door Profile Theatre
The Amish Project Portland Actors Conservatory
In the Heights Stumptown Stages
A Doll’s House Shaking the Tree
The Pianist of Willesden Lane Portland Center Stage
Grand Concourse Artists Repertory Theatre
The Udmurts defunkt theatre
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Portland Opera
A Streetcar Named Desire Portland Center Stage
Our New Girl Corrib Theatre
Hughie Imago Theatre
The Antigone Project Profile Theatre

Alan Rickman

I don’t remember when or why Alan Rickman first came onto my radar. It wasn’t because of Harry Potter—a bandwagon I only joined long after it became a global phenomenon—and I’d probably have to trawl through my old LiveJournal archives to figure it out. Doesn’t matter. He’s such a central figure in my pantheon of favorite actors, and his work is so woven into the last decade of my life that it’s part of the fabric.

Whatever sparked my initial mania for him propelled me to hunt down the rest of his work like a greedy seek-and-binge-watch missile: even the obscurer, earlier stuff like The Barchester Chronicles, the weird period dramas like Mesmer and Rasputin, and the 1978 BBC Romeo and Juliet in which he sported an epic bowl cut and was slain by Romeo after a hilarious fight scene that looked more like a lyrical dance-battle. I endured two hours of Kevin Costner mulleting his way through Robin Hood, the testosterone-saturated bulletfest known as Die Hard, and Tim Burton’s self-indulgent hatchet job on Sweeney Todd, all for him. Come to think of it, I’d argue that we misremember a lot of so-so movies as being awesome simply because he was in them. (Case in point: The best part of Love Actually is his mounting panic as Rowan Atkinson painstakingly gift-wraps a necklace for his mistress.) He brought wit and depth and honesty and lacerating humor and sex appeal to everything he did.

Then there were the movies I really loved, the ones I obsessively watched and re-watched: Snow Cake, An Awfully Big Adventure, Dogma, Sense and Sensibility, Closet Land, and Galaxy Quest, in which he made me howl with laughter as a has-been theatre titan promoting a big box store with the flat affect of the utterly demoralized. His focus and intensity onscreen were captivating, and I studied him as though by watching him intently enough I could transfuse some of his magic into me. I loved the way he talked about acting, too. He seemed to take itbut not himselfabsolutely seriously. Not in an obnoxious way, but in the way people do when they recognize that it’s a discipline, and not just a fanciful game as it’s sometimes characterized. (In a way I don’t often hear Hollywood A-listers talk about it, in other words.) I loved the way he talked about most things, actually, though the content was often lost on me because I was so attuned to the sound of his voice. There was a period where I went to sleep every night listening to him narrate an audiobook of Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native. I still have no idea what the fuck it’s about because his voice was such an effective tranquilizer that I never made it past the first chapter. If there’s any silver lining in this total write-off of a garbage week, it’s the airtight excuse I now have to revisit it, and everything else.

I’m sad for his family and friends and fans. But mostly, selfishly, I’m sad that there will be no new work to look forward to. I don’t know how many hours I logged combing file-sharing websites in search of a fabled bootleg of his 1987 Les Liaisons Dangereuses, but I never found it. Like a Bigfoot hunter, I hold out hope that it’s out there somewhere, still waiting to be discovered.

Tango-Alan-alan-rickman-8369769-538-799

James Deen, Stoya, and rape culture.

Nothing like the subject of rape to bring the most inveterate misogynists out of the woodwork in force.

Today the adult film actress and writer Stoya tweeted that her ex-boyfriend, celebrated porn star James Deen, had raped her. The story was quickly picked up by numerous media outlets including The Frisky which, in light of the allegation, promptly shit-canned Deen’s weekly sex advice column. Joanna Angel, one of Deen’s former lovers, tweeted her support of Stoya, and to my surprise a #SolidarityWithStoya hashtag soon emerged as fans and followers lauded her for being brave enough to speak out. So far, so good.

Then I started reading the comments threads.

Unsurprisingly, most of the content was in equal parts depressing and appalling. Some commenters accused Stoya of lying for attention or revenge, which I’ve noticed is pretty much par for the course with every high-profile rape allegation. Others questioned whether an adult film actor could be raped at all, as though working in porn means you forfeit sovereignty over your own body. Inevitably, it devolved into a series of paranoid tirades about feminists ruining the lives of innocent men with our epidemic of just-for-fun false accusations.

I will never understand why the prevailing knee-jerk reaction is always to disbelieve women who claim to have been raped. Consider the Bill Cosby case, for instance: To date, more than fifty women have accused him of sexual assault and there are still people who think it’s more plausible that they’re all conspiring against him in a bid for fifteen minutes of fame.

Why always this resolute refusal to give women the benefit of the doubt?

2015 Show Diary

Title
Blithe Spirit
PLAY
Tribes
The Snowstorm
Opción Multiple
The Sexual Neuroses of Our Parents
How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes
Durang/Durang
Mary Stuart
The Revolutionists
Suddenly Last Summer

Twelfth Night
American Night: The Ballad of Juan José
Terrifying Shrubbery
How to Stop Dying
Grounded
Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play
The Comedy of Errors
Lying About Portland History: 3 Graves
 Company
Artists Repertory Theatre
Fertile Ground PDX
Artists Repertory Theatre
CoHo Productions
Miracle Theatre Group
Theatre Vertigo
Portland Playhouse
Post5
Northwest Classical
Profile Theatre
Shaking The Tree
Post5
Miracle Theatre Group
Nomadic Theatre Company
Action/Adventure Theatre
CoHo Productions
Portland Playhouse
Post5
Post5
Unnecessary Farce
Lakewood Center for the Arts
Dear Galileo
Playwrights West
Passion Play Parts 1 & 2
Shaking The Tree
Or
Imago Theatre
La Muerte Baila
Miracle Theatre Group
Equus
Post5
Spectravagasm 7: Shhh … Art!
Post5
Petite Dames
The Reading Parlor
Bite Me (A Little)
Post5
The Dissenter’s Handbook
Shaking The Tree