Late-Night Celebrity Political News Open Thread

Yeah, well, readership capture. From the Politico article:

Democratic operatives planning next month’s national convention in Philadelphia have reached out to Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Tony Award-winning writer and star of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton,” about performing at the Wells Fargo Center, sources told POLITICO.

It’s part of an ambitious plan to generate excitement and boost television viewership for the party convention after what Democrats expect to be a four-day reality show at the Republican convention in Cleveland…

His father, Luis Miranda Jr., a major player in New York Democratic politics, said, “There is no truth to these rumors” about his son’s potential star turn at the convention. A spokesman for the Clinton campaign and a spokesman for the DNC declined to comment.

But the push for Miranda, as well as other A-listers with a point of view, is a sign that Clinton operatives are seeking to engage core Democratic groups like young voters, African-Americans and Latinos, with headliners other than the expected roster of gray-haired politicians.

“The nights are three-hour prime-time TV shows,” said PR executive Ken Sunshine, a Clinton fundraiser with deep ties to the entertainment world. “Entertainment and adding excitement become a key part of it, as opposed to hard-core politics. The one that understands that is Trump, except that’s all he seems to understand.”…

The ultimate goal of the convention, according to operatives involved in the planning, is to produce a “coming together” moment that unites the party against Trump.

But second to party unity is the goal of producing some memorable, watchable moments that will encourage core Democratic demos to tune in to the live cable coverage of the four-day convention — and share it broadly across social media…

“Good entertainment doesn’t have to appeal to the lowest level of expression,” said Sunshine. “Great art and humor can be inspirational, uplifting, can celebrate our diversity instead of cheap laughs at the expense of other Americans.”…



Open Thread: Sweet Childhood Memories Profaned!!!

I never got around to seeing the original Ghostbusters, so it’s hard for me to understand why keeping it a precious, stand-alone trophy is so very important to certain critics. (I mean, I was just as outraged by the indecencies Disney committed against one of my iconic creators with the first Jungle Book, but I was still in middle school then.) This is pretty funny, though: In McSweeneys, Samuel Priest explains “No, I Don’t Dislike the New Ghostbusters Movie Because I Hate Women — It’s Because I Strongly Believe In Hollywood Finance Reform”

Of course we’re ready for a comedy-action movie with female leads. And of course, we’re overdue… but I think we need to wait for the RIGHT new Ghostbusters movie, not just ANY Ghostbusters movie. The women in the new Ghostbusters movie have a lot of good comedy experience, yes, of course. But over the last 20 years, I can find a few examples of them not being funny, especially when you take those moments out of context.

Now, if Elizabeth Warren and Jill Stein and Michelle Obama make a new Ghostbusters in a hypothetical four or eight years from now, I could get behind that idea. That vague notion that wouldn’t hold up under any scrutiny for a variety of reasons is CLEARLY a better option than this new Ghostbusters movie made by competent people that’s seemingly ready to be shown any minute now.

I also know a couple women who would agree with me on the things I’m saying, so again, I think that proves I’m not sexist or misogynist. This new Ghostbusters movie just isn’t for me and I think everything should be for me. Will this movie just existing inspire young women to get involved with making their own Ghostbusters movies at state and local theater levels? I don’t know, is representation in media and government even important?…

And you can tell it’s unbiased and nonpartisan, because it was written by a man.



Open Thread: For the Hamilmaniacs

… Most of whom have no doubt been sharing the news in previous threads, but now the rest of us can enjoy the novelty of going Open-Thread-Off-Topic in “their” post. From the USAToday article:

The Tony winner confirmed his departure date to reporters at a breakfast event Thursday at Coogan’s in New York’s Washington Heights. Javier Muñoz, Manuel’s alternate who already regularly plays the part one day a week, will take over starting July 11. (He’s used to following Miranda — he also replaced him when he left In the Heights.)

Muñoz, who underwent cancer treatment during the show’s first year (during which Miranda was his understudy) says he finished his medical regimen in January and says he’s “fit and ready” to do seven shows per week.

But don’t fret — Miranda will be back. “I think this is a role I’m going to be going back to again and again. I plan to revisit this role a lot,” he said. (In other words, keep entering the lottery!)…

As for himself, Miranda is “working on his accent” for Mary Poppins Returns, due Christmas 2018, in which he’ll star opposite Emily Blunt. He’s also putting the finishing touches on the music for Disney’s animated film Moana, which arrives in theaters Nov. 23. And he’s got a revelation for you: “Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson can sing! He was really incredible.”

But before he packs up his Hamilton dressing room, the production will film two performances with the current cast this month before they start exiting, as well as shooting offstage cameos…

Any ideas how the final film will be released? Pay-per-view? I think it would be an excellent candidate for the movie-house “event cinema,” with the one-off showings of opera, ballet, and MMA bouts…
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Apart from entertainment, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



Tony Awards Open Thread

TonyAwards.com 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 GoComics.com)
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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.