Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ragtime on Broadway Fucked My Ass Up

So I basically spent the last two hours being angry as hell and crying like a little biznatch that got beat in the face with a morningstar dipped in acid.

Ragtime is the best piece of theater I have seen in a long damn time. It's better than Wicked, and since I named my penis Gregory McGuire after seeing Wicked...that should tell ya'll something.

Ragtime is a revival of a play from the late 90s. It is officially re-opening this Sunday at the Neil Simon theater just up the street from my house. Today was a preview matinee. A friend of mine, that I met through David, had extra tickets to the show and sent me a text earlier this afternoon to ask if I would like to see the show.

I had already had a midday cocktail as today was a day off for me, and I was debating whether or not I should go. Ragtime was on the top of my list of shows to see, so I figured I should get my lazy ass up off the stool and go check out the show for free.

I haven't decided yet if it was a good choice.

So, in a vacuum it was an excellent choice. The show was fucking phenomenal. The music was incredible, the performers were outstanding, the story was great and original, and the stage/sound/lighting are going to win this production a Tony.

In relationship to my mental health after two days of intense labor and already being soul tired before I went, it was probably a poor choice.

I didn't know what the show was about before I signed up to see it. I knew it had black folks in it, and I knew that it must be set in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as that was the hey day of ragtime music.

In actuality the show wove the stories of two Jewish immigrants, a well-to-do white American family, and a black woman and her child, and a Harlem based successful ragtime musician. The play addressed issue of workers right and industrialism. Emma Goldman figured in prominently as did JP Morgan and Booker T. Washington. The gist of the play is that a poor black woman abandons and then is reunited with her infant. What she thought was an itinerant musician tracks her down and tries to build a life for her. Unfortunately, she is beaten by whites and killed. As often happened, the legal channels of justice did jack shit to remedy the situation, and the musician goes ape shit and kills three white men. And I say halle-fucking-lujah to that.

Of course in the end, the black man is shot down by the authorities, and Booker T. Washington's assimilationist and white washed negro ass advocates for the wronged musician to trust the wheels of justice which roll right over the musician.

The entire story is told through brilliant musical numbers and frankly I cried from sadness and ridiculous anger.

I am so tired of being angry. I wasn't sitting in the audience angry at some historical injustice, I was angry because the EXACT SAME SHIT HAPPENS RIGHT NOW EVERY DAY AND NOT A FUCKING THING HAS CHANGED fundamentally. Sure, overt racism in the criminal justice system is no longer permissible but violent crimes against black men by the police have not substantially dipped in a generation, white cops that kill black men almost uniformly get off no matter HOW obvious it is that the shit that went down was a case of fucked up white men shooting down a black man who only had a wallet in their hand, and institutional and structural racism, though mitigated, remains rampant in so many ways. I love Obama but his election has meant little to jack shit in the substantive day to day realities of black folks living in America.

Didi I mention I am tired of being angry. I really am. I am so emotionally drained. I know that when I came home pouring a delicious vodka drink was probably not the best answer, but it was a readily available one. I know that my man is going to come home in an hour or so, and he should not be subjected to the ridiculous and irate feelings that are pumping along with adrenaline through my veins. But, seriously, right now at this juncture I am utilizing every tool that I have to just survive this rage without reverting to old drugging patterns or pulling out a hatchet and going Jason Voorhies on the asses of whatever poor white souls I meet on the street below.

I am sure tomorrow I will be my old chipper self again, but today I am pissed as hell.

Oh, and btw, go see Ragtime. It is worth the ticket price.


  1. Why do you suppose Obutthole has so many Communists,
    Maoists, and Marxists in his administration?

  2. I heart you back, yk.

    Foxwood what the hell are you talking about?

  3. Wow. Historical dramas always remind us of some horrific truths. Still, Ragtime sounds like a must see.

    Don't drop any flower pots on passing random white folks. You'll feel bad after, and the flower never hurt nobody.

  4. Oh my gosh! I sat my Black ass down at the computer tonight mad as hell because of a personal injustice that happened two hours ago. I don't have an outlet right now because I'm watching Tigger and Pooh with the twins because Eric isn't home. I read your blog entry and I was co-signin' like a mug up in hur!!!!! I am damn tired of being angry too. But then, I think, if we stop being angry, who will be angry in our place and when will the injustice stop?? It's just troubling my dear friend. But damn it if I ain't over here amenin the hell out of this post!

  5. I love you Noods. Be angry. Teach your children to use the anger they will feel constructively. I wish I could hug you!

  6. Sorry it took a while to comment on this --- Please read the book and see the movie.

    I would also recommend pages 104 -106 of "Between The Bridge & The River" by Craig Ferguson (yes, the talk show host). I have never read a description of the ancestral anger of people of african descent written by a person of european descent as Ferguson does here.

    And yes, as Fannie Lou Hamer said years ago, "We are sick and tired of being sick and tired!"

    Thank you....

  7. Yo. I"m enjoying your blog break, only because I know I know it will lead to a great book!!!!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and insights. And thank you for reading!