Friday, March 29, 2013

junior high good fridays with j.c. superstar

When Jesus Christ Superstar was released as a concert concept album in 1970, I was 12 years old.

I first heard about it on a public TV special that featured most of a London concert performance and interviews with members of the cast like Ian Gillan, Murray Head, and Yvonne Elliman, as well as with the lyricist Tim Rice and composer Andrew Lloyd Weber who created what was being presented as the first "rock opera."

I watched the TV special as if I was hearing a call.

Having grown up in a Catholic family with scripture stories an important part of my narrative, and at the same time very influenced by the events and music of the late 1960s, this revolutionary treatment of the story captured my young, earnest imagination. I liked the electricity in the music, the urgency and soul of Jesus and Judas' voices, and I was totally seduced by Mary and Peter's intimacy with Jesus.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

things i can't take for granted

I posted the following note on Facebook on November 4, 2012, just before the presidential elections, knowing I had a few family members and friends whose votes could affect my civil rights. As the Supreme Court takes up Marriage Equality today and tomorrow, I thought I'd repost it here.

A few years ago, I thought I was having a heart attack on the Garden State Parkway. Right in the middle of discussing a particularly stressful work situation with Bob, my arms and my face went numb. I could barely move my mouth. It was as if someone had administered a giant syringe of novocain into my jaw, my torso and my arms. We were both terrified. In a mumble, hauntingly similar to that of a stroke victim, I asked Bob to pull off into the rest area, while I fumbled with my tingling fingers to dial 911 on his cell phone.

Friday, March 15, 2013

republican portman supports gay marriage

The interesting thing for me about this story is how often public responses have included the word "empathy," raising issue with many conservative leaders' inability to empathize with anyone who is considered "other" to them. 
While I'm grateful that Sen. Portman came to this understanding upon learning that his own son is gay, I'm pleased to see the question of empathy's role in decision-making raised so often in discussions about his announcement. 

If the rights and needs of people you're elected to represent only matter when they hit home, how do you represent fairly?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

seeing god naked

Fontana del Nettuno, Bologna
The handsome Italian flight attendant unfolded the cloth napkin and rested it across my lap, with big smiling Caravaggio eyes that toyed with me for the moment. Bob and I had left Verona at 4 a.m. to race through the foggy Northern Italian countryside in our rental car and arrive at Milano's Malpensa airport just short of two hours ahead of departure, only to find that Alitalia had overbooked our flight and we might not have seats. 

Bob was miserable. He had picked up a cold in Verona, or Modena, or possibly even in my favorite Bologna. So driving through the dark and the fog to arrive at an airport that seemed to be accessible only by a series of farm roads with foreign names like "la deviazione" and "non accessibile" had been stressful, to say the least, and multiplied when we learned at the ticket counter that we might not get on the plane at all. 

But, after waiting and worrying right up to flight time, we were instead, to our relief, issued tickets at the last moment and sent down the boarding tube to the airplane.

I handed my ticket to the beautiful woman at the door, in her elegant Mondrian Nadini uniform, and peered to my right into the overstuffed coach section. It looked like a casting call for the "befores" of a weight-loss informercial. The tightly packed, darkly clad, heavy mass of humanity was startling after the bright, gorgeous, airy piazze of Italy, where the locals seemed to be able to eat gilati all day and still climb in and out of their Ferrari with ease. I wondered if I'd ever find our seats among them, and whether anyone would find me at all when the flight was over.

"Mi scusi, signore," the beautiful attendant pointed me to my left instead, "Questa direzione. La prima classe. This way."