Archive for October 2015

Diesels, Directors and Dogma

The slick little ploy Mr. Stewart had sought to pull was to blame one form of externality (air pollution) on efforts to avoid another (unemployment). Imagine, as Mr. Stewart chronicled, VW using 600,000 people to build about the same number of vehicles as Toyota built with 340,000! If only VW fired about half its workers, Stewart suggests, it could be like Toyota and – not pollute so much. Because that’s the only possible choice, of course. Right?

Kicking at the Hippodrome: Nearly Perfect KINKY BOOTS

Take the basic problems presented in Brassed Off, Local Hero, and The Full Monty, i.e. the deindustrialization of Britain and resulting working-class unemployment, observe those problems with the wry humor of those films, add drag performers from La Cage Aux Folles, a sensitive trans person of color from The Crying Game, a “love thyself” theme from Hairspray, and a romance between factory boss and subordinate straight out of Pajama Game. Stir well, and voilà!, you have a tale of a band of shoe workers and their manager who resist the oblivion that awaits British manufacturing by switching from ordinary cobbling to fabricating a line of sexy boots for drag performers

Diverse and Parentless at the Turn of the Century: RAGTIME Revived at Toby’s

The America depicted here is a place of quests: Father’s for the unknown horizon, Tateh’s for a land where he and his daughter can prosper, Coalhouse’s for reuniting with Sarah and raising his son in a world where blacks are regarded and treated as equals. To these quests might be added two more: Younger Brother’s for some ideal he can build a life around and Mother’s, a quieter one, to nurture a family, whatever contours her decency and generosity cause it to assume. And all of these quests are played out among the novelties and sensations of an exuberant American decade: among the things which will figure in the plot are Henry Ford’s Model T, J.P. Morgan’s library of priceless incunabula, the notorious charms of uber-courtesan Evelyn Nesbit, and the antics of escape artist Harry Houdini.