Monday, July 6, 2015

The Dalai Lama's 80th Birthday....

So I'm home now from helping celebrate the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday. Want to know how it went?

Onstage guests included Josh Radnor ("How I Met Your Mother,") Julia Ormond, Desmond Tutu's grandson, Wilmer Valderrama ("That 70s Show,") some 20-something Aussie musician (Cody Simpson), George Lopez (doing his usual schtick, bashing on Donald trump) Randy Jackson, and MC HAMMER (yes you read that right), who wore Stevie Wonder-grade sunglasses the whole time, and more. Two and a half hours of this michegoss before His Holiness said a single word.

And when he did speak, it was for 20 minutes.

After that, there was not a Q&A, but "a dialogue," in which these nitwits all spouted their opinions and were quick to point out what everyone else should be doing to save the world. I couldn't give two shits about their opinions; I was there to hear the Dalai Lama.

I did have to laugh, though, when George Lopez was complaining about all the criticism people were posting about him on the Internet, and asked the Dalai Lama (basically) what could be done to stop that. I wish with all my heart his Holiness had answered, "Well, maybe you should stop being a dick."

All in all, it was a bizarre and surreal experience. As each Z list non-celebrity took to the podium, I got more and more tempted to leave my seat and go up there myself. I'm sure I could have done a better job - and I'm more famous than at least half of them.

The whole wretched mess was emceed by Ann Curry, who kept saying stuff like, "of course you've seen the television show, 'How I Met Your Mother' or 'That 70s Show.'" Jesus GOD, I told myself, I certainly hope not!

The very last bit (it just wouldn't end) was basically a pole dance by the Lucent Dossier folk. An aerialist performed full-on stripper moves inside a giant lotus flower that hung 20 feet above the stage (and completely out of the Dalai Lama's sight line).

Hey, I guess after all is said and done, the man is still a man. And anybody who makes it to 80 deserves a little pole dance action if he wants it. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Nick Cave's The Sick Bag Song - What the hell happened?

An open letter to Nick Cave and the American Cinematheque

Hello Cinematheque staff -

Last night I attended the Nick Cave Sick Bag Song event at the Egyptian. As a dedicated fan, I jump on every chance I have to see him live, and was very excited about this event. I also love the Egyptian and get there as often as I can.

BOY was I ever disappointed. So much so that I feel the need to reach out to you.

From start to finish, the whole event was one Epic Failure.

1. Nick's headset mic failed completely, and the hand-held wasn't much better. Really? No sound check?

2. How on earth did you choose That Guy to interview Nick? That was by far the WORST "interview" I've seen. He just made a bunch of vague statements, leaving poor Nick to try to come up with "answers." It was pretty much, "Dude. I read your book. Awesome." Incredibly unprofessional. He was clearly unprepared. I was embarrassed for him and mortified for Nick.

3. The two videos - I liked the LA one, but the trailer for the book is posted on the Sick Bag Song website and can be seen for free. I didn't mind seeing it again, but when I realized it was one of only two videos, I started feeling a bit short-changed.

4. The Q&A - Have you never done a Q&A before? This was an even bigger mess than the rest of the evening, which is saying something. Eventually, two people with mics moved through the audience, but there was zero organization and a lot of wasted time. Here's some free advice on how to do a Q&A: BEFORE the show, have people write their questions cards (either while they wait in line or once they are in the lobby) and hand them in to staff. There was plenty of time for this last night. Your performer can review the questions, choose which he wants to answer, and maybe even prepare a bit. This eliminates the need for roving mics, repeated questions, and questions your subject doesn't want to answer. You're welcome.

5. The staging - I was seated in the fourth row and all I could see was the heads of the people in front of me. The seats sink very low (yes, this is great if you're watching a film), but you should have compensated for that by building a platform or riser so Nick and the interviewer sat high enough to actually get seen.

Honestly, I probably wouldn't be so vocal had this event cost $25. But it cost $65 (plus TicketBastard's usury fee). For that price you should have included a copy of the book (and/or put on a professional show).

And by the way, Nick had NO IDEA the book was on sale in the lobby. He talked a lot about how this was an experiment in publishing; that the book was ONLY available from the website - while members of the audience held freshly-purchased copies in their hands. Again, I was embarrassed for Nick. You made him look stupid - something I never thought possible.

The only moments of value in this very short event were Nick reading from the book and the LA video. I would have been much happier to see more of him reading, much less of him being interviewed (or him being interviewed by someone who knows how to do that), and a Q&A (if you must) as described above.

I've seen better-organized events at a junior high school. You should be ashamed.


Ruth Waytz

Sunday, December 7, 2014

For all you head-scratchers out there

Been following my Instagram, Twitter, or Flickr? Wondering what I've been up to this weekend? What's the big idea behind the whole so-called purge?

Well, I'll tell you.

For the past five years I have been keeping the coopstuff site online in an attempt to sell off the inventory I had on hand when Cooper and I split in 2009. The truth is nobody wants this shit. No matter how far I mark things down – and this includes well below my cost – nothing is moving, and my excuse to keep things going for even the nominal income it brought – well, I'm pretty sure this year hasn't even brought in the $1000 it cost me to have it hauled away.

Keeping the site up only perpetuates the illusion that any of it has any value. It doesn't. I couldn't be more clear on that, and I hope now you are too.

The comments that I'm "throwing away money" are based in that illusion and completely unfounded, because it isn't money. It's garbage. I was unable to get rid of it any other way (and believe me, I tried).

I've never been vocal about these private details, because frankly it's no one's business but my own.

Until my book comes out….

Friday, September 19, 2014

YUM Wins This Week's Free Publicity Award

Hats off to YUM for this great free publicity campaign - I get that the star evokes communism, but so what?

My pitch if I'm their ad agency:

No big deal, another sandwich shop opens. Hey, how about we fake some local ethnic outrage generated by our otherwise uninteresting logo?

We get lots of free news coverage, and not just local!

We spent what? A few hundred bucks on this sign? We get a new one, paid for with all this Good Will!

Before this campaign, five people know about this place? After - we're clear to take the chain national!

Monday, July 28, 2014

The "Free Flow of Information Act" - Except Not

Last week I received yet another fine and lovely patronizing email from my Senator Dianne Feinstein.

She was responding to my correspondence about the Free Flow of Information act. I had of course written to instruct her to protect ALL writing, not just that by degreed journalists (although I do sport one of those degrees).

Her response to me (and yes I have repeatedly informed her that I am female):

Dear Mr. Waytz:

Thank you for writing to express your concerns about my amendment to the "Free Flow of Information Act" (S. 987). Your correspondence is important to me, and I welcome the opportunity to clarify my amendment.

I believe a free press is a cornerstone to our democracy, and an independent media is essential to hold government accountable. Let me be clear: I support a reporter-shield law. I voted in favor of similar legislation in previous Congresses. More than 30 states, including California, have adopted a reporter-shield law, but there is no federal protection for journalists and reporters with professional credentials.

As you may know, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced a reporter shield bill called the "Free Flow of Information Act" (S. 987). This legislation would create a federal reporter shield law, prohibiting federal law enforcement agencies from compelling a reporter to reveal his or her sources. I was concerned the protection in the original draft provided a special privilege to people who are not really reporters – namely the operators of Wikileaks or hate websites.

Therefore, when the Senate Judiciary Committee debated this bill, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and I offered an amendment to define who is considered a "covered journalist" in order to receive this new special privilege.

Under our amendment, a "covered journalist" is defined as someone who is an employee, agent, or independent contractor for a media entity. You should know that this definition would also include freelance journalists, documentarians, book authors, bloggers for news sites, and many others. I believe the language "legitimate news-gathering activities" is key and would exclude hate websites and other persons who are not actually engaged in a journalist pursuit. I am pleased to report the amendment is supported by a list of more than 70 different media and public interest organizations, including CNN, Fox News Network Inc., and the Newspaper Association of America.

On September 12, 2013, Senator Schumer's bill was considered by the Judiciary Committee. I voted for it, and the bill was approved 13-5. It now awaits action on the Senate floor.

Once again, thank you for your letter. I hope you will continue to write on matters of importance to you. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein United States Senator

MY response to her response:

Dear Mr. Feinstein -

I think you're wrong on this. The First Amendment protects speech, and in this day and age, Any Citizen who reports a story should be protected by this legislation. You don't get to pick and choose the reportage you like.

Further, only protecting "approved" journalists is actually worse than not protecting anyone, because any number of nefarious agenda-bearers (including the Federal Government) will control the approval process. That is WAY too much power. Ironic this is "The Free Flow of Information Act," because the way it's written now, it's anything but that.

I'm very discouraged by the tightening of the noose.

Please remember I remain,

Your Employer,

Ruth Waytz

Friday, January 24, 2014

Stop Spilling Your Seed

Yeah I said it. 

Hebrew mythology has a nice piece of finger-wagging, admonishing us not to "spill our seed upon the ground." True, they're probably going for the literal read here, but I'm taking this in a different direction: I challenge to you to stop expending your best energy on Facebook (or twitter, or Instagram, or Tumblr, or whatever). Stop generating free content for people don't know you and don't give a rat's ass if you live or die. 

I'm not telling you stop posting on Facebook; I'm asking you to stop writing FOR Facebook. Keep creating - by all means - but do it on your own blog, for your own self, and then link to it on Facebook to increase Your page views and build Your brand. 

There's never been a better time or an easier time to be a writer, photographer, or artist. Blogs can be set up instantly and free. There are plenty of apps. You can do it from your phone. Remember: social media means to steal your gift, or worse yet, to compel you to give it away to them for free. So stop. 

Why not have Facebook and its ilk work for you, instead of the other way around?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Not all posts showing up on Twitter and Facebook?

Over the weekend I figured out twitterfeed, and got it up and running. Or so I thought. It harvested my most recent post and published it to both twitter and facebook - yay - but this morning it ignored my post about Sochi's dismal ticket sales - another yay - and published my Guest Post by Michael Cade. WTF?