Tony Awards Open Thread livestream here.

As a backup, looks like EW is doing a livestream, too.

The Guardian‘s live blog is here.

Per Variety:

This year’s Tony Awards is expected to be dominated by Broadway phenom “Hamilton” and its record-breaking 16 nominations, including best musical and lead actor in a musical for creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Barbra Streisand is also expected to make her first Tony appearance in 46 years.

Guest Post: lamh36’s Final Reflections on Roots 2016

Balloon Juice commenter lamh36 posted her final thoughts on the recently aired remake of Roots as a comment last night. I asked her if we could put it up as a guest post because I think it deserves to be seen by more than those who happened to be commenting on one particular post on Friday night. She graciously said yes and sent me the link to where she’d posted it on her own blog. She also has a very interesting post about the Roots remake that she posted before it had aired, so make sure to click through and check that one out too. Lamh36’s post viewing remarks on Roots are below.

So, yesterday I watched the finale of the Roots tv reboot.

Here are my final final reflections.

So, you may already know, I wasn’t gonna watch…then thanks to blogger Awesomely Luvvie ( On ROOTS Reimagined and Retelling This Classic Story) and other folk I respect I decided to give it a chance. I never saw the original. Usually, I shy away from this type of drama because unless you are a heartless bastard it sticks with you and unless you are a ditzy absentminded sort of person it lingers in your mind even after watching…but I disregarded my usual aversion and I watched episode one.

So first of all, History channel did a GREAT job of filling in some of the holes in the story, that folks expressed about Haley’s original book with facts, figures and real life events of the time. In fact, even though it was based on Haley’s book and ancestors, they stuck to the story Haley told, but interspersed the personal family story, with a History channel style reenactments of real life events and happenings of the time in which the story was set (if you followed them on twitter, they also sent out factoids about the time and the people during the commercial breaks, and also with blurbs at the end of scenes with significant historical impact).

Another thing I applauded, was that unlike with the orignal mini-series, they didn’t go for ANY stunt casting (no white sitcom stars or black pro-athletes in this one). Instead, other than for a couple of the iconic roles (i.e. Fiddler, Kizzy, Tom Lea…) the cast was made up of new, and hopefully, up and coming young actresses and actors of color, including some  for whom the show was their very first real acting job (US or otherwise).  The standouts including Malachi Kirby as Kunta Kinte, Regé-Jean Page as Chicken George, Erica Tazel as Matilda, and a number of other younger actresses and actors.  The casting for the series was really good.

As I expected, each and every scene lingered. but as I watched the first ep and the second ep…I began to see this NOT as a story of victim hood, or airing grievances against white people (though to be fair from this family’s saga standpoint and millions of others who were slaves…the grievances against white folks were valid and should NOT be forgotten or erased from conversation). Anyway, I began to see it as the story of SURVIVORS! From Africa to the Americas…these people SURVIVED all this brutality and came out of it on the other side yes bloodied but ALIVE and in many cases unbowed. So even with the painful acts and lingering anger at the entire institution of slavery in America, I feel blessed to know that I come from generations of these Survivors and I’d like to hope that their stories are told and heard by as many folks as can see or hear them, Black or white.

Open Thread: It’s Official – Donald Trump Brings the Idiocracy

trump happy face fuhrer toles

(Tom Toles via

Buzzfeed reports:

Early in the 2016 primary race, comedy screenwriter Etan Cohen began to notice some similarities between the Republican candidate, mendacious former reality star Donald Trump, and Cohen’s 2006 movie Idiocracy, which features fictional wrestling champ-turned-president Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho (Terry Crews). Ever since, those similarities have only grown, leading to Cohen and Mike Judge, who wrote and also directed Idiocracy, now working on a series of anti-Trump ads with Crews reprising his role.

The 2006 satire shows a semi-distant future in which the world has been overrun by dummies and, as a result, is falling apart. At first, the parallels to the real primary race were “just a general lizard brain kind of thing: The presidency is all about entertainment value,” Cohen, who also directed and wrote the 2015 comedy Get Hard and co-wrote the 2008 hit comedy Tropic Thunder, told BuzzFeed News over the phone. “Then it started to get, as the year went on, weirdly specific. People pointing out things like, ‘Oh, Camacho was a wrestler and Trump was a wrestler.’ … It’s like, the more things go on, the more it actually seems to be kind of merging in a very specific, eerie way.”…

Throughout the process, Cohen and Judge have struggled to satirize Trump because he is already so outrageous. “If you’re making Idiocracy 2, and you’re trying to write whoever’s the heir to Camacho, if you put in Trump, it would be too silly to be in a movie,” Cohen explained.

But they worked through it — Cohen felt a call to action, saying these ads are very important to him. “This is what satire is for … to be able to hold up a mirror and say, ‘This is crazy,’” he said. “Idiocracy was like that, but this all of a sudden felt like a very immediate need for the true meaning of satire and what it can actually do.”…

“The most dangerous contrast to Trump is that Camacho actually realizes he needs advice from other people, and knows that he’s not the smartest guy in the room,” Cohen continued, noting that he would “definitely” vote for Camacho over Trump. “Also, not a racist.”

I’m actually kinda looking forward to those ads. Will Baby Donald bitch about the totally inaccurate, very biased, very unfair comparisons? Or will he embrace it as another form of celebrity endorsement?

President Lincoln Would Like to Have a Few Words

Tom did a nice post earlier about Larry Pratt’s, of the Gun Owners of America (GOA), remarks about resorting to the bullet box if a Democrat should win the Presidency. I don’t want to delve into the shifting understanding of the 2nd Amendment right now, but I do have a certain subject matter expert on the belief that violent rebellion and/or revolution is permitted under the US Constitution. Here with a rebuttal to Mr. Pratt is Balloon Juice special late night/early morning commenter President Abraham Lincoln:

It will then have been proved that, among free men, there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and that they who take such appeal are sure to lose their case, and pay the cost.

                                                       — Letter to James C. Conkling 1863

But you will break up the Union rather than submit to a denial of your Constitutional rights.

 That has a somewhat reckless sound; but it would be palliated, if not fully justified, were we proposing, by the mere force of numbers, to deprive you of some right, plainly written down in the Constitution. But we are proposing no such thing.

Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.

Under all these circumstances, do you really feel yourselves justified to break up this Government unless such a court decision as yours is, shall be at once submitted to as a conclusive and final rule of political action? But you will not abide the election of a Republican* president! In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, “Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!”

 To be sure, what the robber demanded of me – my money – was my own; and I had a clear right to keep it; but it was no more my own than my vote is my own; and the threat of death to me, to extort my money, and the threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my vote, can scarcely be distinguished in principle.

                                                      Cooper Union Address, 1860

* In regards to Pratt’s remarks this would be Democratic if the speech was being given today, however, I didn’t want to edit/amend President Lincoln’s remarks.

Late Night Musical Interlude Open Thread: Boogie Storm!

Well, I enjoyed it.

Per The Mary Sue:

The most impressive part is that they’re doing this in stormtrooper masks, which means low visibility for ALL of them, yet none of them miss a step or bump into one another. The climactic moment when two stormtroopers perform the lift from Dirty Dancing feels all the more incredible due to the fact that those two dancers can barely even see each other. Imagine how much rehearsal must have gone into that moment!…

IMO, the Full Monty nod was inevitable (being as they’re from Yorkshire), but the Tchaikovsky snippet is genius:

Open Thread: Black Panther Update

From the Mother Jones article:

Unlike many of his peers at Marvel, Black Panther screenwriter Joe Robert Cole didn’t grow up a comic-book superfan, but he did have a soft spot for superheroes and a passion for storytelling. Fresh out of college at the University of California-Berkeley, Cole got his first gig writing for ATL, a 2006 film starring rapper TI and based loosely on the romance between producer Dallas Austin and singer T’Boz of the R&B group TLC. He went on to write and direct 2011’s Amber Lake, an eerie indie film about three half-sisters who turn on one another when questioned by the police about their father’s mysterious death. Most recently, he wrote an episode of FX’s acclaimed series American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson.

Now, Cole, a product of Marvel’s two-year in-house writing program, is hard at work on the studio’s latest megaflick-to-be. The movie’s comic-book counterpart ran several volumes from the late ’70s to 2010, replacing the unfortunately titled 1960s comic Jungle Action, which featured the Black Panther, the genre’s first black superhero. The story revolves around warrior king T’Challa (Black Panther), who hails from the technologically advanced, fictional African kingdom of Wakanda—which has never been colonized, unlike the other countries on the continent…

MJ: What does it mean to you to be writing a black superhero?

JC: Black Panther is a historic opportunity to be a part of something important and special, particularly at a time when African Americans are affirming their identities while dealing with vilification and dehumanization. The image of a black hero on this scale is just really exciting. When I was a kid, I would change superheroes’ names: Instead of James Bond, I was James Black. Instead of Batman, I was Blackman. And I have a three-year-old son. My son will be five when Black Panther comes out. That puts it all into perspective for me…

MJ: In the comic books, Black Panther fought off a colonizer in Wakanda. He fought the Klan. He fought against apartheid in South Africa. Bringing the Panther into the present day, I’m curious how the recent activism around the treatment of black people by police might inform your story or your development of T’Challa as a character.

JC: Personally—and Ryan [Coogler] and Nate Moore, the executive producer—we all are cognizant of what’s going on in the world, in black communities, and in our country. We are aware of the importance of that, and the platform this movie provides us with. But I can’t give you the specifics.

MJ: Is Ta-Nehisi involved in the thought process for the movie?

JC: No. I’m a huge fan. It’s great that he’s writing the comic. But they’re separate entities…

Apart from planning our summer entertainment, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

GoT season six, episode three review

Solid blue 2 1/4 inch No.2 pool balls

Solid blue 2 1/4 inch No.2 pool balls

Benioff and Weiss, you sons of bitches. Half the show’s viewers know what will happen in that tower. B+W know that we know. Now they are just messing with us for the fun of it.

The rest was pretty cool. Arya got a training montage and now the [ETA: second-] youngest Stark has run off the book. The show skipped one seemingly very important detail in fixing her myopia, but maybe they will add that later. That leaves us book fans with basically one Danaerys scene, which will be awesome but completely different, and a Kingsmoot. I know many people roll their eyes at the stuff that happens on Pyke, but I find it hilarious that the show’s Lovecraftian murder pirates are the ones who instituted gender equality, egalitarian principles of leadership and free democratic elections. It has a cute narrative irony that reminds me of the Kantian religious fundamentalists in Anathem. After that it’s terra incognita.

The theme of the week is everyone arranging their affairs before they open the envelope and find out what real purpose this series has for them. A surprising number of characters have had their big narrative turn in these three episodes*. Between now and next week I think everyone will become basically who they are when the last credits roll. This is the moment when everyone stops flying apart entropically and start snapping back together in a burning stabby collision of grand ambitions, great actors, large dragons, ice zombies and Jon Snow’s marble-chiseled ass.

Many of those envelopes will say take two steps and get beaten with a rock, but that’s Game of Thrones.

(*) Exceptions: Tyrion became fully awesome some time around the Blackwater, and Varys apparently went through his whole character arc before the series started.


As readers have pointed out, Rickon is they youngest Stark and historical pirates often operated as relatively gender-neutral democracies. Thanks guys!