Thursday, February 22, 2007

KB, LIMUN, Toby & the Oliviers

So many things to talk about, when one's a rather irregular blogger....

I really should deal with the one that's turned me into a bit of an emotional wreck today. Just when I got into work (which means it was sent in the 20 minutes that it takes me to get from home to the office), I had an e-mail from Earlham professor Bob letting me know that a fellow member of my London program had committed suicide. It was really, really upsetting news and I had to leave for awhile to cry and gather my thoughts. I sat by the Thames thinking about him and centering, because that's what an Earlham grad does when they're upset about something or someone related to their time at Earlham. I have such good memories of this man, who was the person who convinced me that I wouldn't turn into an alcoholic with one drink and who really took the time to make sure that I was ok in a really rough patch of my life. He had such great stories about his visits to the very, very gay clubs, pubs, and bars and always had fantastic insights into the books that we were made the rest of us VERY jealous. I remember tromping home together in the snow and the night we had to get him home from the pubs in Dublin and the few great conversations that we had back at Earlham, afterwards. I really don't want to get any more e-mails like that one. All of you, and all of my friends are too dear.

Moving on...our Model UN conference, LIMUN, went very well last weekend. We probably had 550 students (out of 650 registered) and a great time was had by all (with the possible exception of those who suffered from some Titanic-like scenes at the HMS Belfast). My committee was very small and did an excellent job. I was surprised that they wanted to talk about statelessness first, but am glad they did because the debate got really intense when we switched to human rights and sexual orientation on the third day. It was so bad at first that I had to lay the smack down and remind delegates that they needed to be representing their states and not themselves. The delegates even did some of that amongst themselves, most notably in shutting up the delegate from Brazil who wouldn't stop talking about "Adam & Eve, not Steve & John" (which isn't even the right annoying anti-gay rights slogan!). I had to remind Mali that he was 90% Muslim and he pointed out that he was 100% gay. We decided he could be an NGO instead, thus transforming his transition, while not as dramatic as from male to female, from a "small" African state to a huge international NGO (I paraphrase). Still, we never had to deal with an amendment, because they were so good at working out compromises and consensus and the work was pretty darn high quality (esp. on the sexual orientation, where I didn't think they'd really be able to get anything done). Oh, and a big thanks to the United States for this: "We have excellent homosexual laws. Massachusetts even allows gay marriage." Riiiiight.

Otherwise, last week was very busy getting ready for the conference, but the Boy did a lovely job with Valentine's Day and took me to see Underneath the Lintel, a one-man play featuring Richard Schiff (Toby! from West Wing). He's a older Dutch librarian who becomes obsessed with figuring out who returned a book 113 years late and ends up travelling around the world in search of the person he thinks might be the wandering Jew. He did a tremendous job, marked for me, at least, by the fact that after the first 30 seconds I was no longer thinking of him as Toby. Pretty impressive for an actor whom I've watched for seven years, no? The play resonated deeply, this hunt to find a place where we belong, displacement, and fascination with the mysteries that we simply can't solve. If you're in London, don't believe the critics. It was great. I'm sure the Boy wrote a beautiful review, but I'm not as insightful as he is. It was lovely and afterwards we took our now-traditional walk over Waterloo Bridge talking about a fantastic piece of theatre.

Finally for me, and speaking of theatre, the Olivier Awards were handed out last weekend. They're the West End's Tonys and I remember being annoyed with the nominations because I hadn't seen so many of the plays or actors/actresses. Turns out that I/we did pretty well after all, having seen Sunday in the Park with George (Best Actor/Actress and most of the techinical awards), Blackbird (Best New Play), and Caroline or Change (Best New Musical), and all of which I thought really deserved their awards. Although, I wasn't overly impressed by the actress in Sunday... and I think that either it or Coram Boy could have taken the technicals. But, perhaps, I'm biased.

This is long. I'm done for now.